2016 has been a notoriously difficult year for many folks in my circles. Folks have joked that maybe David Bowie was the only thing holding the universe together and the wheels have started coming off since his death, but in all seriousness there has been a lot of crisis, grief, and loss going around this year. Some of which may just be that this is how life looks once you’re firmly in your 40s: Your childhood heroes start dropping like flies; your friends and family members start confronting the realities of vulnerable, aging bodies; and you actually pay attention to things like the impact of international politics on your retirement savings. (Many of us from Generation X barely even have retirement savings, thanks.)
The escalation of global terrorist attacks, increased awareness of U.S. police killing Black people, and desperate flow of refugees away from war and terror haven’t made the year any less terrible.
But this election has been notoriously painful and poisonous, particularly for women, people of color, and GLBTQ folks. Kids of color have reported being bullied and taunted at school “Trump is going to send you back to your country!” and worse. My hairstylist’s son was too scared to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, and has asked his mom if she’ll be sent back to China. Trans people have already been subject to PTSD-inducing levels of stress by watching their very existence be debated on national TV, sometimes in the most crude and violating terms. Women everywhere are talking about having trauma flashbacks to their own experiences of harassment and assault thanks to the lionization of a self-confessed groper who has made verbally abusing women into a personal sport.
I understand that calls to crisis hotlines are spiking today. People feel vulnerable, afraid, and despairing.
If you are in crisis, please reach out for help:
National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN.org): (800) 656-HOPE (4673)
The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386
Trans Lifeline: US: (877) 565-8860/Canada: (877) 330-6366
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255