Being introverted or dealing with anxiety and depression doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference after what has been an insane year for political activism.
One of the coolest things I discovered is text banking, where you’re assigned a certain number of phone numbers and you use a platform to text them individually. You use pre-filled phrases and no one will know your number. It’s pretty brilliant. Check out OpenProgress for more on this.
ROLE-PLAYING SOCIAL WARRIOR
Sometimes I still wonder why people think the term “SJW” is somehow negative. And if we’re going to be honest, I’m really not a “social justice warrior.” I’m more like a social justice ranger. (Yes, I’m really referring to my preferred class in an RPG. They are just so much more fun and powerful than some of the other classes, at least as far as damage-dealing goes. This is a nerd blog, ya’ll! But I digress.)
Being new to the whole social justice scene has brought a lot of ups and downs. Overall, there has been more ups, even though this year has been one major downer. Today I was listening to my new fave podcast Pod Save America, which started about the same time in 2017 as I did this journey into become more politically involved, and they were talking about how easy it is to just shut things out. (Unless you’re a social media addict like I am.)
It’s really easy to turn off the TV and not read any newspapers and stay as oblivious as possible to the news of the day. But that there are certain rewards of being active that you can’t really replicate or get anywhere else. And they are so right. (As always.)
“Making a difference” is one of the most overused and cliched phrases ever. I honestly wish people would stop using it, but it’s a good one. It’s just vague enough to include pretty much any kind of volunteer work. And it’s super important.
This year I’ve done things I never thought about doing – canvassing at a voting precinct for my local Democratic Party office, working at a local office, helping people with their social media campaigns when running for office, holding fundraisers for political causes and facilitating programs like Emerge that has truly blossomed this year.
As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, this has been a super tough year to be active in literally everything, but for some reason this sense of urgency I’ve felt since last November hasn’t subsided much. (Maybe because Mueller’s investigation is taking too long? I don’t know. There does seem to be a new issue to get fired up about each day and that’s probably what keeps me going.)
DEPRESSED FOLKS MAKE GREAT ACTIVISTS
I have a bunch of tips here for people who have mental health issues or are introverts. This is what you can do when you want to do something but don’t always have the bandwidth.
There are tangible mental health benefits to volunteer, but that’s another post for another time. Here you go!
- Take breaks often and with other people.
- Only pick a couple of other organizations to get involved in. Spread your time wisely.
- Pick only one activity or two activities per week to do. Spend the rest of the time chilling out and being a “normie” or a maybe an apolitical Muggle like you used to be.
- You’re not going to like some people. If you have the option of pulling away from those organizations, do so quickly.
- The best way to be involved is to subscribe to email newsletters that keep you up to date on what’s going on.
- When feeling down, just give an hour.
- When lacking energy, just give money. (I prefer you give to Emerge Alabama, but I’m completely biased.)
- The best option is to help someone who is also new to the political scene run for office. You’ll learn a crap ton.
- Treat it like any other “extracurricular” activity. Make sure to keep your personal life separate from it as much as possible.
- Don’t try to convince your family or friends to help you. In fact they’ll probably think you’re weird and ban you from talking about topics like that. But that’s why lesson #2 is so important.
- Minimize and simplify – you’re going to have a ton of papers, business cards and brochures. Try to take notes and go as paper free as possible. Otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed.
- Use past successes (that you’ve hopefully written down!) to motivate you to keep going.
We’ve got this. Anything can happen. (Just look at what happened with Doug Jones!)