2016 is really turning out to be a year we all wish we could forget, isn’t it? I know I am still trying to figure out how to grieve for the passing of David Bowie and the hits keep coming.
After the election results came in (as if the campaigning before the election wasn’t exhausting enough) and people began sharing more and more worries on social media, a fellow therapist announced they were taking a break from social media and this unleashed torrent of “terror sharing.”
I like the phrase so much I am borrowing it.
It has been more difficult I think for all of us to take good care of ourselves now that terror sharing won’t really stop for the next four years here in the United States.
There have been plenty of terms used before to describe this before the election of 2016: worst case scenario, pessimistic, cynical, perseverating, future based worry, emotional thinking, trying to predict the future, projecting our fears onto our environment, etc.
Terror sharing does the trick though. It works.
Terror sharing has the capacity for us to feel vulnerable in a way that didn’t exist before. Or maybe it is just a new way to experience an old kind of fear.
It is important to see terror sharing as a real means of daily and habitual stress.
In the past I have mentioned the one psychology acronym I have committed to long term memory. It comes from DBT and it is HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired.
If you or someone near you is HALTING, then chances are your ability to communicate and be emotionally available are not at their ideal levels. Just add another T to the end of HALT for Terror Sharing. Or Trump if you prefer.
Much of what brings a person into therapy to begin with is our own relationship to the idea of control. The control we have over our lives, or lack thereof. The control others are trying to exert on us. Or how our environment can feel controlling.
Now, with this election, we have a whole new way of experiencing that terror.
As a country we all are being forced to come to grips with how the personality of the president elect will impact our own experience of control over these next four years.
You are not alone. If anytime has been more of a right time for all of us to unite and work together as a people I can’t think of a better time than now.
Consider volunteering or organizing locally.
Too much terror sharing can make one irritable, unhappy, disconcerted, fearful about the future. And with good reason.
Be kind out there friends. Most importantly be kind to yourselves.