Anxiety, Stress, Depression

By George Smith

Anxiety.

Stress.

Low-grade depression, even.

In my professional and personal lives, I have experienced all three emotions or physical manifestations at some point. But I have never had these feelings at once and never with the intensity I am experiencing at this pivotal moment in my life.

My country, your country, is being ripped to shreds, its culturural, political and emotional fabric cut, slashed, torn into divisive slices that prohibit uninhibited, astute and perceptive information exchange.

Pure and simple: The United States
is as divided over the direction this country should take as during the Vietnam war or getting to point of the division experienced during the Civil War.

Do you see the ideological differences common in every county under every form of government widening into an unbridgeable abyss as I do? Or is it just me and my eternal optimistic outlook on life hitting a dark spot in my universe and feeling trapped in a wormhole of uncertain and disbelief?

For most of my life I have been a disciple of the Pollyanna principle. It is the tendency for people to remember pleasant items more accurately than unpleasant ones.

Research indicates that at the subconscious level, the mind tends to focus on the optimistic; while at the conscious level, it tends to focus on the negative.  To my way of thinking, and with an exaggerated way of always feeling like “The Little Engine That Could,” I look forward to each day simply KNOWING the sun will come up tomorrow.

Little Orphan Annie. That has been me.

Now, not so much. With insomnia a regular visitor, I wake up to a smoky fog of dread. What fresh hell has been fostered upon us during the night? How many more fellow countrymen have died because of an error in judgment, ignorance and/or abject stupidity in managing the pandemic? What new social media tweet will further divide the country? What self-serving statement by which elected official will get applause from one clique and raised blood pressure from those in opposition?

To quote the late Rep. Elijah Cummings: “We are better than this.”

Are we? The question begs an answer.

Are we really?

Come on, Pollyanna! We’re better than this.

Aren’t we?

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