I WOKE UP THIS MORNING with an especially strong sense of foreboding. Sure there’s a major storm coming, I have a vested interest in not losing property in Florida, and I have many OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfriends and some family there. But this feeling was over the top. I wondered why.

Then I did some thinking and recalled something an old psych professor once told me. The human psyche can deal with just so much stress. It’s like a flood wall. As long as the water stays below the wall, there’s no flood or manifestation of anxiety. Once the water rises above the level of the wall, that “flood” becomes stress that is often somatized. That is, your body reacts with increased cortisol levels, sleep becomes difficult, etc.

There are ways to raise the wall so that the “flood” doesn’t get you. Meditation, exercise, deep breathing etc. But surely a simple hurricane should not have sent the “flood waters” over the wall, right?

Then it struck me. Our walls, all of our walls, have been lowered for 2 years now. The on-going assault of stupidity, ignorance and hatred from Trump people and from him, has worn away at that wall. It’s become lower and lower. And so even the smallest ripple can send water over the top.

So if you find yourself especially uptight, short tempered, jittery, nervous and feeling a general ennui, think about the last two years, and how we’ve all been worn down. And oh yes, there are those who call us “snowflakes” and who offer “tears cups.” But the fact is, people with intellect and compassion, with a sense of justice and who know right from wrong, will likely be more fragile than others. Part of being concerned, compassionate and loving includes being sensitive.

Bottom line: these last few weeks of bad weather are not all that’s bothering us. They are just part of an overarching assault on us from people who are missing the “compassion”gene. That leads to ugly politics, ugly behavior and a harshness that reduces the humanity in us all. They win if we too, become them. Be especially gentle in the next few weeks, with yourselves and with others.