It has been said before, and we will say it again: THIS IS NOT NORMAL.
And these are a few of the ways we are trying to keep our sanity.
Gaslighting is NOT NORMAL.
KEEP YOUR SANITY BY – Surrounding yourself with people who know and love you and who listen to multiple sources of information.
This is not a drill people. WE are the targets in the definition of gaslighting. The president who shall not be named and his mockery of a cabinet are making us doubt our sanity EVERY. DAMN. DAY. I had a professor who told me the following one time: If, for all intents and purposes and by all “normal” definition you are sane, when you are dealing with someone who makes you question your sanity, RUN. They are the ones who are insane.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief. (Oxford dictionary definition)
Everyday I wonder if what is being said, shared, trotted out and waved in front of us is true and accurate. Everyday I hear stories that take facts and, through the power of hocus pocus, make them into some thing that people who have been regarded as intelligent question. Everyday I read or watch things that make me question if I am stuck in the upside down
or better yet, if I am in the sunken place.
Everyday I question what has happened to reason, critical thought and analysis, which are marks of thinking people. I am made to feel as though I am crazy for asking for more information, seeking more details, asking for dots to be connected. I am made to feel crazy. This is gaslighting and it is NOT NORMAL.
I combat this by doubling down on time and effort spent with loved ones; with people who truly see and know me. I seek out more information and have started reading voraciously. I repeat the mantra, “This is NOT NORMAL” and have planned a few retreats away with friends and family who remind me of my sanity and my humanity. – Rozella White
Tweeting Lies at 3 am is NOT NORMAL
KEEP YOUR SANITY BY – Limiting the news you take in
After a tragedy or during a new policy roll out – President Obama would sit America down for a family meeting. It was a sort of “America I called this family meeting because we need to talk about what just happened…” I think of his moving speech after Sandy Hook.
Then he would lay out some policies he thought would address this issue. Then the media and America would talk and argue about policies for 1 – 3 months. President Obama would give more addresses…then congress would usually do nothing and President Obama would issue a symbolic Executive Order as a sign of his personal commitment to the issue. It wasn’t the most functional system but it was a system and I relied on it for my sanity.
But now we are getting wild accusations and contradictory policy based on lies and it is happening in the middle of the night. When I’m supposed to be resting – not resisting. And we are having a zillion conversations based on alternative facts (AKA lies). Healthcare, Tax Returns, Healthcare…Russians…Like its a Bond movie!
I have to force an order on my day. Because there is no order coming from Washington. I get in the car dedicate 15 minutes for news in the morning. 10 minutes of NPR – which is usually just one story. And 5 minutes of Conservative Talk Radio – again one story. I have to force my mind to focus on a single thing and not get drawn into the madness and chaos. Then I take 1 hour for opinion news – Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Colbert’s lead in – you know to laugh off the tension. Then I read a book before I go to bed. A real paper book from a different time period. So I can float away from all the crazy before I float off to sleep. – Nathan Roberts
Outrage Fatigue is NOT NORMAL
KEEP YOUR SANITY BY – Focusing your energy on your passions
If we’re learning anything from this administration, it’s that we’re in for a marathon, not a sprint. It feels awful to tell you to be reasonable and do little things because this climate is NOT reasonable and needs BIG things. But we have to play the long game, and we have to play together. Take your turn on the bench when you need it, let your teammates move the ball forward, so that you can come back and do your best. Burnout is real and so we’d rather have you on the field just for your big plays then to have you on the disabled list and out for whole games. – Stephanie Vos
Changing the definition of truth and compassion is NOT NORMAL
KEEP YOUR SANITY BY – Spending time in prayer with a community of faith.
We have been told that lies are alternate facts, and that cutting programs to feed hungry people is compassionate.
But, as Christians, my community believes in truth that is true. Our faith says that truth will set us free (John 8:32). That lies are hellish (Revelation 21:8). We even worship Jesus, the God/Man who says that he is the TRUTH (John 14:6). So, it’s disorienting to hear about alternative facts.
As people of faith, we know that, “True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us,” (James 1:27 CEB). The budget for feeding low-income kids (orphans) and senior citizens (widows) is being cut. And I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling contaminated.
Our current situation is NOT NORMAL. And it isn’t normal in the sense of it being good, right, or healthy. But it is normal in a historical way. The Bible is full of stories of people who will lie, and mistreat the marginalized to enlarge their piece of the pie. But there are also stories of the community of God joining with the spirit to resist those oppressors.
I’m trying to keep my sanity through this new political era through my community of faith. For the first time in more than a decade, I’m not paid to be at church on Sunday mornings, and the temptation to not go is so strong.
But in just one hour at church this morning, I was reminded through the sermon, prayers, and songs about God’s work in liberation, love and resistance. Witnessing the social action of my congregation visiting our State Capitol to advocate for legislation for more fair housing; providing food and tutoring for hungry kids; and raising several hundred dollars for the March FoodShare campaign. It was a drink pure water in a world that feels so contaminated.
I’ve also opened my home a few times each month since inauguration for prayer. My friends come and we share from our own lives and work, we pray and seek God’s help in continuing a resistance of love. We are social workers, ministers, non-profit executives, community organizers, writers, parents, and government workers. The climate that calls lies, “facts” and cruelty “compassion,” affects us all personally and professionally. We gather together to pray for one another and the work we must do in caring for orphans and widows and keeping the world from contaminating us. – Katie Matson-Daley