So, uh, last night was kind of a rough night for me.
Like most of my friends, I went into last night believing Clinton would win, convincingly. Every poll, every metric, every law of the known universe all pointed to that. I wanted to be there live when it happened, so I was glued to CNN for about an hour or two. Then, when things started to look worse than expected, I... well, I still believed it would turn out all right in the end, but the roller coaster was more than I could handle. I figured I'd go to bed early and see the final results the next morning.
Because I was such a ball of nerves, though, I didn't sleep more than about an hour before I was up again. I couldn't help myself, so I checked the latest at that point, and...
So began what I believe was the single worst night I have ever experienced in my entire life. When my grandfather passed away, that was tragic, but the pain was dulled somewhat by the fact that I hadn't really seen him since I was a child and didn't actually know him all that well at that point. Same with my cousin. When Zoey dumped me, that cut me to the bone in ways that are still not okay to this day, but even that was just one person--the world she and I both lived in overall was still the same place, and so life could slowly (very slowly) pick itself up again and move on. But this....
I'll be honest with you, and I'm very sorry for this, I'm sorrier for this than you can imagine, but it's true: last night, for the first time since middle school, I very seriously considered committing suicide. I know, I have so many friends, and I mean just as much to them as they do to me, and it would be devastating to them if anything happened to me, but just... when you're in that kind of mental state, you get this weird tunnel vision where that thought just isn't there. That's why Robin Williams was able to kill himself despite having a loving daughter. At that moment, all I saw was, "There's no going back from this, nothing will be the same again, and I don't want to live in this strange and terrifying new world we've created."
So what did stop me, then? Well, a few things:
1) I don't have a gun, or any other quick and convenient means of ending my life. I don't think I even have anything in my household with which I could even moderately injure myself, let alone fatally. I suppose you can take this as anecdotal unscientific proof that, yes, it absolutely helps to restrict access to that easy "press here to die" button for people at risk of pressing it. I think the odds were good I would have had the will not to go through with it in the end anyway, even if the option had been available, but... well, I thought the odds of a lot of things were good before tonight. Better not to take chances with something like that.
2) Spite over my father, as odd as that sounds. Our political history... goes back. He's something of an alt-right tea partier himself, and you know how much that crowd has always loved Barack Obama. He's lived--bitterly as hell, yes, but lived--under someone he considers the Antichrist for eight years, now. And he does have guns in his house. So damn it, if he can survive that, what business do I have checking out on Election Day, before my turn to go through this even starts? I'm better than that.
3) I mean, I made a promise. In the 2000 election, when George W. Bush very (very) narrowly defeated Al Gore, I reacted very poorly. I made crude and tacky as hell MS Paint image edits of Bush with Hitler mustaches and things like that, mostly because I was an edgy teenager. Then Barack Obama was elected in 2008, and dad just about lost his mind. The conspiracy theories and vitriol were horrifying and shameful to me, and they put my younger behavior in perspective. Oh my God, was that what I sounded like in 2000? I am so, so sorry. Since then, I told myself that the day would undoubtedly come once again wherein I wouldn't like the election results, but I wouldn't be like that about it. I'd be more mature, more graceful, more accepting of the legitimacy of it all, more ready to admit that this was the will of the people and that they have a right to their votes, even if I personally disagree with them. That is literally how democracy works, and I was going to respect that. This election... really, really is testing that promise, but God damn it, I'm going to be better than I was.
So, I didn't die last night. Yaaay.
Instead, I went through the one of the most hellaciously restless, almost physically ill nights I've ever endured. The thing about being that close to the end of your rope is that, surprisingly, it becomes kind of hard to sleep. Dread and anxiety built up in me like a cat ready to cough up a hairball, only it wouldn't release. I thought if I either cried or threw up (I was sufficiently sick to my stomach that the latter option struck me as at least plausible) then I could at least get it out and then ride the post-event crash through the rest of the night, but it never quite reached that level. It never dissipated, either, which led me to lie there in bed at a constant 80-90% Doom, shaking like a leaf, unable to calm down, unable to bring myself over the edge, and unable to decide which route I should try next. I want to sleep. I want to cry and throw up, then sleep. I want to die. No, I don't. I want... I don't know what I want.
I already have trouble making it all the way through the night without having to get up and go to the bathroom--that's called getting old, I suppose. I normally average between 0 and 2-3 "wake up, bathroom, come back to bed" interruptions per night, but last night was a new personal record at 7. The main reason for this, of course, was that I wasn't sleeping anyway. It wasn't that I'd drank too much or anything, it was just that I couldn't sleep for more than about 30-40 minutes anyway, and once I woke up again, my body was like, "Oh, hi, since you're up anyway, your bladder has a message for you. :3"
It probably wouldn't have been as bad on any other night. But there I was, in and out if only because I had nothing better to do at three in the morning. The first couple times that happened, I also had my fingers down my throat in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to induce vomiting just so that was dealt with, but nothing came, and after a few hours that particular urge slowly lessened anyway.
All told, my sleep tracking app tells me I got about six and a half hours of sleep last night, despite my "gone to bed" period lasting from 8:00 to 5:30.
And now here we are, at the dawn of a new day. One of the first things I saw this morning was this affirmation on Twitter, which... helps, but also makes me feel even more embarrassed about last night. I'm sorry. I know some of my friends are going to need me to help pull them through this, just as I'm going to need them. I'm sorry I almost wasn't there for you. I'm back now. I'm... not okay, but better than I was.
We've got this. It's going to suck. A lot of horrifying things are going to happen. We're about to receive some wounds whose scars we'll be carrying for decades. But you, my friends reading this, you're good people. And we're going to keep our corner of the world beautiful, no matter what ugliness happens outside, because we have each other. I believe in you. I believe in us.
I love you. We're going to survive this. I've been wrong about... well, just about everything so far with this election, but I still believe that. I'm sorry I almost didn't, but I do now.