by Hervé Boisdé
Days after the most intense and bitter election cycle in recent US memory was over it became clear that many were not coping too well. The initial shock of the result gave way to anxiety, hopelessness, and for some, depression, as denial or anger shifted into the knowledge that the unthinkable, for those voters, had happened. Some major publications like Psychology Today, Vogue, and the New York Times, put out articles about the "post-election blues" with tips from experts on how to more effectively deal with the very real problems that millions of Americans are experiencing. If you yourself are having trouble getting back to your normal self again as a result of the election, it's important to remember that you're not alone.
The Psychology Today article tells us that elections aren't just about our ideas or values. "Our partisan beliefs don’t only define us socially, but also influence us deeply, on an emotional level. When our candidate of choice loses, we feel that our very identity has been rejected or is under threat. Research even goes as far as to suggest that the emotional impact of national tragedies, such as mass shootings, is significantly less than the impact of a political loss." It does go on to state however that the negative symptoms don't usually last for too long and should begin to taper off after a week or so.
If however the tips in the articles don't seem to be working and a deeper depression seems to be setting in, talking to a professional could be helpful. Stress management through exercise, yoga, mediation or self-hypnosis could also help to prevent a relapse. But acknowledging those emotions and realizing that it's normal to be upset after such an event is also good. Don't be afraid to experience things strongly or try to bury them away. We can learn to channel that energy in positive ways such as writing in a journal, or taking up creative projects. Many have discovered that out of darkness they can tap into new talents or discoveries. How will you move forward?