I guess I’m not alone:
Friend, writer and L.A. comic Angel Castillo on self-care
Building and maintaining community is so important right now. Being unable to tolerate being in groups of people, most especially protests, one thing that has made such a difference to me has been regularly connecting with my like-minded people on the phone. These people have become my family.
Social media can be helpful, but also very tricky. I drew back from fb (I just hate doing free advertising for them, so I tell myself that by abbreviating the name of the site, and by not linking to it, I’m waging a small protest. Yeah, right, kat). Yet, I get so much from instant messaging with certain folks. I get to give and receive emotional support. I get to learn that I’m not alone in my outrage, fear, anger and in feeling kinda helpless…Kinda ‘What the hell do I do to change my country? I’m so freaking lost!’ I get to have dialogue with people, and I value that highly, particularly right now. Plus, that’s the only place where I’m in contact with certain friends-who-are-family.
My social media self-care strategy is something like this: I dart in real quick on all the sites I use (like, with a hand covering one eye). I do a quick glance. If I see something that triggers me, I look at it for a quick sec to check whether or not it’s news from a reliable source (not triggering // not a polemic from the left or the right). If it passes the test, then I open up the article. I scan the article, applying the same safeties. If it passes the second test, then I start reading. If I come across something that triggers me (the way I know is that I start having a panic attack), I skip it, and then scan the rest of the piece. If anything jumps out, I stop reading and get outta there. Otherwise, I read it.
So, social media sites can be helpful and hurtful. I’ve found valuable information, both news and what friends are saying and experiencing. I’ve also found meaningful daily connection and support. If you can get through the potential obstacles, you find your community. This is what I’m learning.