I’m too scared/bored/nauseous/ sick of this Presidential Election Process to write much about it or imitate the DSM 5.
I probably have moved from Trump Anxiety to Election Major Depression. (see my Trump Anxiety Diagnosis Post.) The Trump symptoms seem to have gone but it’s tricky. The anxiety and PTSD overload of Trump has morphed into overload of Election News of ANY KIND.
You know you have some form of Election Depression if, most of the time, when you see news about the candidates or the process, you feel hopeless, are overcome with Anhedonia (inability to take pleasure in anything) and feel a huge fatigue coming over you. You may find yourself spacing out while people talk about the election. You read an article posted on Facebook without paying a lot of attention as your attention and focus wander off after the beginning of the interview or article. You avoid discussion of the Election or you join in while have the trauma symptom called de-personalization AND de-realization.
Those words above mean simply mean you feel detached from your personhood and watch your life as observer and derealization , perceiving the world around you as dream like, not real.
In actuality I would say the de-realization is one of my coping skills I am not going to get rid of.
Derealization triggered by the Election results in active fantasies of living anywhere but the USA, oftentimes the idea of moving to another planet is the utopian fantasy. You alternate between your utopian fantasy and feeling hopeless watching the election process as though you’re not quite there. It verges on the: I’m not moving to Paris, I’m so depressed about the human condition I want to disappear and not exist. Don’t worry this is not suicidal ideation, it’s more like a kind of PTSD symptom.) It’s hard to explain if you haven’t felt something like it.
Once in a while I have very clear lucid moments when I reframe the whole election and everyone else’s, (not just the media, intense friends or family members with important opinions, the candidates themselves and what comes out of their mouth) take on it and perception of it. I see the trees and the forest and it seems manageable…
The reframing is probably a survivor skill but there should be an “I Survived” book about this Election! Someone please write it.
In those moments I see that the election is just a process different kinds of human beings engage in. It is sometimes pleasant sometimes unpleasant and happily sometimes just (it is what it is) neutral for me to take in. I also see more clearly the fear people operate from versus the hopes and optimism other people operate from. I see that the selection of a President is a process humans engage in in unique ways, whether voters or candidates. I can see each candidate as just a person who might have some strengths as well as flaws.
In one of these moments I usually think, there’s no need to leave the country no matter who ends up President. Luckily it’s a job that requires a lot from people and at the same time gives them people to talk to before making actions most of the time. So you can say worst case scenario is that the next President selects bad people or ignorant people to be in the Cabinet, etc. This could happen. Don’t think too long about it; it will lead to more depression. Think of it as a possibility that still wouldn’t mean complete annihilation of the human race.
The anxiety and craziness most Americans feel during this process, whether they are “wonks” addicted to it or normal people (if they exist) who pay attention to it in moderation, or people who suffer the Election Process is ultimately the ultimate fear humans can have. “What if someone or some humans who have a lot of Power, does something that destroys the entire planet or leads to the destruction of the entire planet. The problem is that a lot of bad people all over the planet have a lot of power over mass genocide. The fact that it happens is terrible but also puts it in perspective in a horrible fear based security way: innocent humans will get killed/are actually as we speak getting killed either by their own governing people or by people with power from other countries.
This is why it is so important to be choosy about the next President of the USA. S/he will have too much power in my opinion, and too much power to kill lots of people or everyone as well as continue to allow people to live in terrible conditions. It is of course very important to engage in this Election Process, but “sensitive” people who get triggered need to carefully manage their dosage of Election Information. I feel like some animal who is busy doing stuff and once in a while looks around and up and stops doing stuff to see what’s out there. and after a few minutes goes back to doing stuff.
The other part of the fantasy many New Yorkers who fantasized “ooh wouldn’t it be great if Bloomberg could be mayor again”, except it’s with Obama, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”Fantasies of Obama staying on as President until someone half way qualified with integrity and ability to operate from a middle zone appears.
The weird part of this Obama fantasy is that you may notice you’re avoiding news about Obama and seeing him in general, that’s the normal “preparing for loss” depressive symptom.
I’m spent even talking about this and don’t want to edit this post. I have to use one of the “medications” for overdose of Election and Election Depression: find something productive to do mindfully or do something for someone else. “Shut it out” is another DBT coping skill I find useful…