My anxiety is in control again. I suspect a touch of hypomania is underneath, but I’m not sure.
The current political climate, that just won’t seem to settle down, is definitely a culprit. There are so many things that I’m furious about, I could start a political blog and have more than enough material for the next four years.
But, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to give you a taste today, but just a taste.
I have found some of my power. It has come through the absolute last thing I ever expected….protesting.
With an anxiety disorder and a panic disorder with agoraphobic tendencies, you would thing that hanging out in the middle of a large crowd would be one of the last things I would want to do. But, when the Women’s March in Washington spawned a Sister March in my hometown, an excitement grew in me. I had wanted to go to DC to be honest. But I talked myself out of it because of the crowds, being alone (in the crowds) and taking the train and then finding my way from the train station.
So, when the Sister March was announced, and that excitement grew in me, I decided to go. I clicked the “going” box on the Facebook page and then I sat back and wondered what I had gotten myself into.
But, it was close to my home. I could drive there. If I freaked out in the crowd I could just go get my car and come home. I could hang out on the fringes once the march reached the park and became a rally. I could do this as long as I planned it out very very carefully.
I made my sign.
Let’s face it. All of us are more than the labels thrust upon us.
I left the morning of the march and drove downtown. Parked my car at my designated spot and, with a lot of trepidation, went to meet my fellow marchers.
What happened next was something I never expected. Rampant kindness. Blind acceptance. Just the fact that I was there to march meant that I was family.
We marched in the rain and we encountered support the entire time. From a gay couple with their child cheering us on from their porch to the cars passing and honking. It gave us power. It gave us validity.
We rallied in the park and I walked around looking at the signs other people had made. I spoke to a woman who was a little sad. She had marched for Women’s Equality in the 60’s, she never thought she’d have to do it again. A man was pointed out to me, who I sadly was not able to speak to, as he had moved by the time I heard his story and I never found him in the crowd again. But. he was in his 70’s. He was there alone. He had never protested a day in his life, but he thought this was so important that he came anyway. Imagine that.
As the speakers began, I found that I had ended up directly in the center of the crowd. And I also found that it was ok. The intensity of the speakers, the fact that people talked to me and the general solidarity of the crowd put me at ease. Anxiety dissipated. Agoraphobic tendencies stayed in their bed inside my head. For an hour, I felt peace. This was a pure peace. Something that I literally haven’t felt in I don’t even know how long. But, somehow, out there with those women and men and children, all of us wanting equality for women and LGBTQ’s and blacks and browns and disabled, I was able to find peace.
I think that it was because I realized finally, that in real life, I wasn’t alone. Other people wanted the same things as me. And they were willing to brave whatever their fears were to get out there and fight.
I’ve been to one other protest since the Women’s March. The feeling was the same.
I will be going to more.
I will be making my voice heard.
And I will speak for those of you who cannot raise your voices yourselves.