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Post-election stress responses

by Dr. Adrian Lorde

With the 2013 General Election now completed in Barbados, supporters and politicians of both major political parties who would have prepared for the event will feel a sense of elation and some with disappointment at the results. It was a close and hard fought election. Some expected and unexpected results may have occurred.

After giving their all to the campaigns launches, constituency duties, hard work of canvassing, sleep deprivation, the long hours required, there might be some persons who will feel some degree of emotional let-down at this time. That is normal, but for some the removal of election posters, signs, and banners will lead to a free fall of depressing emotions. Those feelings of distress are being manifested in one of many ways.

Possible Reactions to Post-election Stress

*Anger – This could lead to violence and impulsive decisions. Fortunately this has not happened in Barbados. People who feel violated by the election process will often turn to dumping volcanic levels of anger at someone or something to find relief for the pressure inside. This can lead to devastating decisions, impulsive rage or using the wrong words in front of the wrong people and losing credibility or even worse a job or relationship. This can happen in men or women, young or old, but is most commonly seen in more extroverted personalities and it tends to blow up and blow out fast.

*Apathy – This is a more dangerous reaction, since it can lead from distress to the early stages of depression. Stuffing emotions inside is like burying them alive and they just keep building up, yet instead of blowing up and out, they blow in. This leads a person to feel emotionally numb, and often can cause an individual to commit a series of very quiet, yet very harmful self-destructive acts. Eating for comfort, drinking alcohol to numb the pain, smoking marijuana or hooking up with the wrong partner to try and forget about the election or just refusing to answer your cell phone, and checking out on life like a hermit hiding in a dark cave.

*Acceptance – The best choice after an election is completed is acceptance regardless of the results. The election is now over and now it is time to move on with whatever candidates and the electorate chose and the issues the majority of voters selected. You can’t change the outcome of an election, but you can freak yourself out with fears about the future economic collapse predicted by some. Don’t do that! Life will go on, and your world will continue. Accept and move on with your life. Let us wish our government well as we cope with the world economic collapse and its effect on our country.

What happens in your house is far more important than what happens anywhere else. There will be another election constitutionally due in five years and when the dust settles your life will usually be about as good as you choose to make it. This approach takes the power to control your mood away from the politicians or the media, so build a better life without losing sleep or energy from the dangers of post-election stress syndrome.

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