I read a fascinating article in last Sunday’s New York Times. It’s about how the election is sending America to the couch, a whopping 52% of Americans, to be precise. Both Republicans and Democrats, by the way.
Before we go any further, though, let me clarify. In my case, there is no therapy involved. I have nothing against therapy, far from it, but for me, a Canadian, to get so carried away over this presidential race that I’d need to talk to a professional about it would be quite troubling. And a sure sign I would benefit from some therapy.
But I have gotten stressed over it which, now that I see it written here, in black and white, does give me pause.
Be that as it may, while I haven’t suffered with the anxiety that has sent so many Americans to therapy, the past 16 months have had an effect on me. I found myself getting more and more tense with each passing debate, post-debate analysis, and poll results. I found myself clenching my fists and gnashing my teeth every time Donald Trump, or his surrogates, were interviewed. I alternated between holding my breath and screaming at my TV during the Republican National Convention.
After the Democratic Convention I was elated. Really it couldn’t have gone any better and it showed in the polls. Then more of Hillary’s emails were leaked, she came down with pneumonia and her double-digit lead started to slip away.
It had become unbearable and I knew I had to have a break. I didn’t watch any television until the presidential debates. I mean, no television at all; and I cannot tell you what a welcome relief that was. It was interesting to read, in the aforementioned article, that mental health professionals in the U.S. are telling their patients to do more or less the same thing, to “read just enough to stay informed, to take breaks from social media, to spend time with friends or do other things.”
To be honest, I so enjoyed my “vacation” from politics I wasn’t sure I would watch the three presidential debates. But that’s not me. I am a political junkie and, as a good friend said to me, “we cannot hide our heads in the sand, we must keep ourselves informed even if this isn’t our election.” Not to mention the fact that they’re a great source of material for both my WordPress and Huff Post Canada blogs.
Honest to God, as crazy as this sounds, I tensed up before each one of those debates. Before the first one my heart was racing. But I guess because of the break I’d taken, my resistance was stronger and I got through them without getting all bent out of shape.
What I avoided, however, was all the post-debate “stuff.” I was not up for all the opinions, all the analyzing and questioning and disagreeing. No way!
Now that the debates are over I am definitely pacing myself. I will read some articles, but not all. And I don’t plan on watching any election coverage on TV because unless something really dramatic happens, it’s all just speculation anyway.
Besides, I have to prepare myself for election night. Oy vey!