Election anxiety and post-election depression

To know our history is to predict our future. We’ve been here before. To be more specific, we were in this very position in 1920. It was an election year amidst a pandemic, the Spanish flu that began in 1918. The Republican nominee, Warren Harding, claimed victory. Given the circumstances at the time, it is not difficult to imagine that what people are feeling now is akin to what people were feeling then.

Anxiety.

Anxiety is a worry or fear about the future. As opposed to depression which is sadness or regrets about the past.

There is naturally a great deal of angst conjured up in people during an election. Likely due to our two-party system and heavily partisan politics. Being amidst a pandemic only adds fuel to the fire.

The reality of an election is there is a winner and a loser. Once the election anxiety has run its course and a victor is announced, that does not mean the saga is over. There will be a wave of emotions that follow. Notably, happiness on the winning side and despair on the other.

This is the nature of politics, which is important to keep in mind whatever side you happen to be on. Whoever wins will certainly shape the country over the next four years, but unlike a monarchy, this will not be permanent. Four years pass faster than we think, and when the time comes we will be right here again.

The cycle of election anxiety and post-election depression is to be expected. On the bright side, these emotions don’t last forever. Sooner or later whichever party you belong to, your party will win. And then sometime after that, your party will lose. The ebb and flow of politics are just this way. No matter how much we try to control it, we can’t.

The good news is we have been here before. In 1920 to be exact. We made it through then and we can make it through now. Win or lose.

Anjani Amladi is a psychiatrist and can be reached at her self-titled site, Anjani Amladi, MD.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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