The end to a traumatizing election


This election cycle has me feeling unappeased and itchy, as if I am in hibernation mode or about to have a mental break. Oh, you too? Statistics show that this election year could be psychologically damaging to many and has many feeling anxiety ridden.

Dear reader: In case you have been on a complete news hiatus, this has been the recent goings-on of the political race. Trump supporters have called Bill Clinton a rapist, Trump told Clinton she should be in jail (to her face) and Michelle Obama gave a speech where she was holding back tears and exclaiming how Trump’s “I can do what I want to women” taped conversation shook her to her core.And that’s the short and sweet edition.

My boss started our last staff meeting by saying, “I know we have all been working hard, but I just feel like I’m in a funk. It’s cold and wet out, and this election is dragging me down.”

And then it clicked. Every time I feed into the latest headlines about Clinton and Trump, I too feel more depressed about America’s state of affairs.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has been accused by at least 10 women of sexual assault, and currently may have a “child” sexual assault case open that was filed in April 2016 of a woman who recalls the rape when she was 13. The Huffington Post urges reporters and the public to not ignore this one, because we saw the ugly turnout with Bill Cosby’s allegations. Is this really someone who is looking out for other’s safety? Sexual assault is fine folks, but oh my if that lady over there gets an abortion! This rhetoric from the Right just seems pretty hypocritical to me.

I am no doubt alone in the unfortunate fact that media outlets have been banking on Trump’s idiotic next words or actions, and I am still a sucker for every article with a hook title that details another one of his pursuits.

Melissa Lester Olson, a psychotherapist from Atlanta, told Time magazine, “Women I have seen for years are only now bringing up physical and sexual trauma from their past. I think this election is re-traumatizing them. Verbal and emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, rape, discrimination at home or at work — women experience these things often. There have been many reminders of experiences that so many of us have had.”

The most impactful statement Trump has made to women, I think, was his latest “locker-room” talk. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” he boasted. If he becomes president, will that be enough to just get what he wants out of women? Guess so.

In fact, many women are afraid of this doom if he does become president. Men started a campaign online to “#repealthe19th,” saying that Trump would win if only men were allowed to vote. This sexism and misogyny is, and will continue to be, deadly to America.

The American Psychological Association just released an interesting survey saying that this election cycle is causing severe stress to more than half of the country. “Facing one of the most adversarial contests in recent history and daily coverage of the presidential election that dominates every form of mass media, 52 percent of American adults report that the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. The survey was conducted online among adults 18+ living in the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association” (APA).

I think it is mostly because this election has us wrapped around “what-if’s,” because, let’s face it, neither Clinton nor Trump have given the people solid statements regarding what either of them propose to do if elected. (Especially Trump: “Well . . . I’ll . . . Make America Great Again!”)

Psychologists are urging the general public to unplug from social media as a coping method to reduce this anxiety that more than half of Americans are feeling. One could compare this election to waiting to find out what grade you got on a test you know you failed, a.k.a. heart-wrenching suspense.

Although we feel like crap now, there is hope for the future. Hold your convictions high and know that life will go on.