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Why My Mental Health Is More Important to Me Than Politics

June 20, 2024 Elizabeth Caudy

I’ve decided that my mental health is more important to me than politics. Here’s why I feel I have to take this stance–and, for many this election year, mental health is more important than politics.

Prioritizing My Mental Health Over Politics

For many years now, many people, including my friends and family, have been emphasizing their desire to stay informed. I’ve decided this is at odds with my desire to stay sane. I’ve even seen Internet cartoons about this. Imagine that times 100. That’s me.

I was reading the news every day and practicing political activism–writing to my representatives and donating money to causes I cared about–until very recently. I was struggling, and as the struggle began to spiral downward, I felt as though I’d been shot in the chest. It hurt to care. I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to prioritize my mental health over politics.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Shortly after Trump was inaugurated, I had a meltdown on Facebook. It was a rant against Trump and about how I couldn’t take the tension anymore. At first, I had tried to treat Trump’s election like a project; I bought a book about mental illness at a feminist bookstore (mental health is a cause I will never give up on), and I joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

I cheered my friends on as they went on the Women’s March. I didn’t go because loud, rowdy crowds trigger intense anxiety and panic for me. Then I broke down. Shortly after my meltdown, I had my husband, Tom, drive me to the emergency room because I felt suicidal. I was so unstable I had to quit one of my jobs. From the emergency room, I was admitted to an intensive outpatient program (IOP), in which I went to classes and group therapy but didn’t stay overnight like I did when I was a patient in a psychiatric ward years earlier.

My Mental Health Is More Important to Me Than Politics, But I’m Still Going to Vote

So, now, I’m doing what I did then: I’ve stopped reading the news, I’ve sanitized my Facebook feed, and I won’t be watching the debates, for starters. What I mean by “sanitizing my Facebook feed” is that I’ve stopped following political pages and unfollowed some friends who post a lot about politics. I haven’t followed some of them since the 2016 election. That was when I had to stop going online to relax when I was hearing schizoaffective voices. The atmosphere on Facebook had become toxic. Even if I agree with someone’s politics, I still don’t follow the person because politics on either side are so volatile right now. My mental health is more important than politics. However, I will be voting in the fall. I feel that I owe it to myself and my country to make my voice heard.

Some say that taking a break from politics is a privilege. I have a lot of anger towards that kind of thinking, but suffice it to say that I think being able to engage in politics without having to go to the emergency room is a privilege. And the privilege of a break from politics is also a matter of freedom in our democratic society.

If you're in distress, don't hesitate to call 9-8-8 for help.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2024, June 20). Why My Mental Health Is More Important to Me Than Politics, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2024/6/why-my-mental-health-is-more-important-to-me-than-politics



Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

Fosej
June, 21 2024 at 9:10 am

Your mental health IS a far greater contributor to your well being and the well being of those around you than what is going on in the world of politics. Others might argue with that - you allude to the common sentiment that it is a luxury or privilege to not have to care about politics - but such people are too close to their own stories.
Happiness and freedom come from within.

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