Happy Inauguration Day! Finally, after 4 years of “The Donald” he is no longer president. However, we’re not out of the woods yet. Just because he’s no longer in charge doesn’t mean his brand of politics (fascism) is over. He is a product of wider problems; of racism, nationalism, and misogyny – to name just a few. People like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro are products of a broken system. Where they run many like them have walked before and will continue to follow afterwards. The fight for a fairer society is not over. After all, Johnson and Bolsonaro are still in power. There is also overwhelming support for them within their respective countries.
If you’re wondering why I’m suddenly talking politics on a mental health blog, it’s because mental health is political. The actions of these right (sometimes far-right) people in power has unwieldy damaging economic and mental stress on the most vulnerable of their societies.
For example, in the UK at the moment Boris Johnson’s conservative government are trying their utmost to slash benefits for millions of people. People who, during a pandemic, rely on this support after their jobs vanished and income depleted due to Coronavirus. I am one of these people. I was working as a personal trainer and earning a decent living. I was self-employed, and when the gyms shut my job went. I am one of many people in the UK whose economic situation changed overnight. The Conservative (Tories as we call them here) want to cut the support, called Universal Credit (UC) by £20 a week. Many people on UC are still working, myself included, we report our earnings and this changes the support we are entitled to. £20 a week is a food shop. If the government cuts UC by this amount it is estimated 200,000 children will be plunged into poverty, overnight and another 730,000 by 2025. It will deprive 6 million families £1,000 a year. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer (the countries accountant basically) recently rejected a proposal for an emergency one-off wealth tax which would have raised £260 BILLION. He himself, is also the richest member of UK parliament, with a net worth of over £200 million. (source: Acorn Union)
It is not a case of ‘not being able to afford it’ it’s a case of the 1% hoarding their wealth. They try to sell ‘trickle down economics’ as to why they need to be rich. Trickle-down economics has been proven not to work. (source) I won’t divulge that entire economic lesson today, but you can see for yourself how the rich are getting richer and minimum wage increases are not reflective of inflation or GDP. BEFORE you shout, ‘well if minimum wage goes up the cost of products will go up’ – are you aware that the CEO bonuses have been increasing year on year and no one cries about that affecting product cost? The workers are always the scapegoats. The cost of living is increasing, and pay to staff needs to align with this.
Anyway. Brief economic outline over. How are you doing? Everyone has been hit by the pandemic in one way or another. If not economically, then mentally. The two are also interlinked. I have a great deal anxiety over income stream. I want to be earning my own money, I don’t want to be on Universal Credit but I can’t just ‘go out and get a job.’ Believe me, I’ve been trying.
“The Prince’s Trust long-running annual survey of young people’s happiness and confidence returned the worst findings in its 12-year history.
“The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on young people’s mental health and wellbeing,” said Jonathan Townsend, the trust’s UK chief executive. “Many believe they are missing out on being young, and sadly we know that the impact of the pandemic on their employment prospects and overall wellbeing could continue far into their futures.”
Half of the young people interviewed by YouGov for the trust’s 2020 Youth Index, carried out in partnership with Tesco, said current political and economic events had affected their mental health. More than half said they always or often felt anxious, rising to 64% among those not in work, education or training (Neet).”(source)
We’re all struggling. It’s a tough time of year. Christmas is over. The weather is shit. We’re locked in our homes, many of us alone. This is why I am so grateful for my online community. All of you guys. Thank you. Any time of the day I know someone will be online, for a chat, a photo share, anything. I am so grateful. I want you to know, dear reader. I am here for you. Anytime you can send me a message on my Instagram, and I will respond (when I’m awake, I’m on UK time, just fyi). In these times we need to stick together in whichever ways we can. We need to support each other in any way we can. Currently that’s predominately online.
Online is its own minefield. There’s hateful rhetoric spouted on Twitter, unattainable lives to compare to on Instagram. Nonetheless there is real goodness on there. Take this time to declutter your timeline. Reach out to people in your online community and they will welcome you with open arms.
My anxiety is wank at the moment. I’m still battling with my sobriety. My sleep is all over the shop. Yet, when I connect with people online, I realise I’m not alone. Everyone has got stuff going on at the moment. Take a breath. Grounding exercises really help me. Meditation is also really helpful for sleep.
Take it a day at a time. Moment by moment. I get carried away living in the future. I find myself saying ‘once I’m home it will be fine/once I’m in bed/once I’m in the car’ etc. and I’ve started to consciously say to myself ‘Now is okay. Now I am fine’ and it really helps settle the rising panic.
As ever, my DMs are always open. Love and light to you all.
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