Finding it really hard to cope with the current moment

Over the weekend we came inches, apparently, from bombing Iran. A friend of mine was just about to go on a family visit there, they could have gotten caught in the middle of the next war, and their family could have been killed. Luckily it didn’t happen this time.

I spent the last two hours arguing with a friend’s friend online about American concentration camps. (You don’t have to tell me this was pointless; I tried to think that it was in a public forum and my arguments can be read by other people who might not have made up their minds yet about what’s happening.)

If it needs saying, I was the one saying that the United States is running immigration gulags, and this other person was rationalizing them.

I am having a really hard time dealing right now. I could really use some coping strategies! Please help.


Honestly, I feel incredibly guilty about this but ive kind of spun down as many of my political neurons as I possibly can these past couple of weeks. Im still reading the news, but im kind of trying to enforce a healthy mental distance from it all.

Im commenting on it as little as I can dare both online and real life and instead focusing on my day to day activities as best I can. I am trying to make the things I share less about my opinions or about the world, and about things im doing.

I also try to remember mindfulness exercises and meditation to keep myself in the moment and about my current immediate ground level activities.

It leaves me feeling a little lame and checked out; but honestly I can get more than a little existential feeling about these things; to the point where it consumes me. There were times in my life where Id let it. The lead up to, and the first few years of the Iraq war kind of consumed me; I had a lot of real life friends really concerned for me back then. Now that im sharing my life with someone, it feels kinda feel more important to me to not do that. So Ive been trying my best not to repeat that.

I don’t know if it’s a strategy id recommend. But it’s about the only thing I got to retreat to that works.

EDIT: I wish I was the kind of person who could get into the activism feedback loop. I have and do participate in protests, I have and do write letters both to politicians and my local papers. However, I have often found over the long haul it leaves me feeling depressed and hopeless. I think I have problems seeing my own personal activities link up to greater change. I think that might be in part a function of my particular local government, being abysmally unideal. So in these terms I do what I can when I have the emotional fortitude.


Also while I ought/should to do it for my health; I don’t think it’s entirely coincidental for me im walking four miles a day every day at this particular point in this particular year.

Finding a physical activity that you can kind of zone out to, that clears your head I think is useful for some.


I stopped reading the news and deleted all my social media at least a year ago. I get a few mailing lists which are not very related to current events, I read this forum, and that’s it. I have plenty in my own life to be upset about rn but news-wise it’s blissful cluelessness especially compared to how devastating the news was for me in 2017. Some people would say this is a bad coping technique but if I couldn’t do anything about most of the news anyway, why torture myself reading it? Especially when I am in fact doing political work and it would actually be harder for me to do so if I was stressed out about the news.

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my favorite part of that black and white picture where an old lady is whacking nazis with her purse is the background. some random dudes are making this face =OOOOOOOO

i don’t know what you call it in linguistics when you borrow one mode of denoting extreme emotion (typing with dragged-out vowels) and shove it into an otherwise incompatible way of expressing emotion (an emoticon of a face), because i’m obviously not trying to say the passers-by grew more mouths, i’m trying to say they were like WHAAAAAAT

anyway i’ve had much more minor arguments about who those other guys were in the picture. some think they’re other nazis. i think they’re random people who haven’t picked a side yet. so i think we whack nazis with purses not for ourselves, and not for the nazis, but for other people who might not have made up their minds yet about what’s happening.

as you can see, my only coping mechanism is distraction, and the warmth of friends.


I also find that really hard to deal with.


I was ignorant of this image I think. Is this it?

Great stuff !


yes! exactly!!! i’m so glad you found it with that description! haha. isn’t it incredible? and do you see the =OOOOOO guys lol?



I literally copy and pasted your description into a search engine and it popped up.


This is the moment that’s making me take a break from news for a while. Going to write letters to everyone I should before. Not that it matters, because it really feels like writing your congressperson, protesting, talking at public hearings… it does nothing. Absolutely nothing.

While we’re on the subject of these prisons, the thing I don’t hear people talking about is this: Ok, so some people in the country are Republicans, and they’re against immigration. Fine. You know what else R’s are supposedly against? Government waste. It’s like the worst thing ever to them. (I also strongly dislike it).

Well the US gov (aka our taxes) pay these privately ran prisons $750 A DAY. A DAY!!! per person. The amount of fraud going on here is criminal. Families should stay together. They should have sanitary products, nice food, freaking medical care, etc and all sorts of educational materials or whatever for $750 a day. Imagine the nice areas that could be made with that money for people seeking asylum. That’s like resort prices!

I just don’t understand why R’s aren’t super pissed about that aspect.


Whenever ive hit a seeming paradox like that the best conclusion ive ever been able to arrive at is that the principles of their political thought are not ideals; but slogans; they are not meant to be truths or foundational principles. Theyre things you say to make yourself feel good and to support your party; cheer while they run with the political sportball or boo at the opposing team.

I struggle with this. Pragmatically it is the damn truth, but I also know many dark gambits succeed only because of political apathy. Perhaps there was a time where that shit had more momentum and we have passed beyond some sort of cultural event horizon now. Perhaps we are still on the cusp. I struggle.


Thank you for all the thoughtful responses everybody. I don’t think I can disconnect from news entirely, but I think minimizing my social media usage would probably be a lot healthier. Not sure if I’ll be able to do that.

@trashHeap, thank you for the suggestion for some physical activity. I live in a pretty neighborhood with some beautiful parks, I think I’m going to try to make morning walks a part of my routine.