Election stress dis­or­der

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Tom Pur­cell is syn­di­cated by Cage Car­toons. Tom Pur­cell Columnist

“Five more weeks be­fore the election. I’m not sure I can sur­vive that long.” “Ah, yes, you speak of an in­ter­est­ing phe­nom­e­non this election cy­cle, ‘election stress dis­or­der,’ as some ther­a­pists re­fer to it. Ac­cord­ing to sev­eral news re­ports, our can­tan­ker­ous election is caus­ing in­creased ir­ri­tabil­ity, heart pal­pi­ta­tions and an in­abil­ity to sleep in more than a quar­ter of Amer­i­can adults.”

“You got that right. Trump has been say­ing nasty things for months. He says Hil­lary is a cor­rupt politi­cian and should be in the slam­mer. Mean­while, Hil­lary has ac­cused Trump of be­ing a racist, a sex­ist and un­fit for the pres­i­dency.”

“To be sure, this election has not been for the faint of heart. But its nas­ti­ness is be­ing ex­ac­er­bated by 24-hour news chan­nels and so­cial me­dia. The vit­riol among ‘friends’ on Face­book has reached a fever pitch. Strangers are ar­gu­ing at restau­rants and cof­fee shops. But Ya­hoo News of­fers some tips to deal with the prob­lem.”

“Go to the liquor store and stock up on hooch?”

“Ac­tu­ally, the first ob­vi­ous step is to do what you can to limit your ex­po­sure to the noise. One ther­a­pist sug­gests that you turn off ca­ble news and stop check­ing what your friends are post­ing on Face­book and Twitter. Go out and do some vol­un­teer work.”

“I’ve been do­ing vol­un­teer work, all right. Me and the boys from the lo­cal pub have been re­mov­ing un­pleas­ant po­lit­i­cal signs from our neigh­bors’ front yards.”

“That’s a bad idea. The right idea, ac­cord­ing to the Anx­i­ety and De­pres­sion As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica, is to ex­er­cise. It will re­lease en­dor­phins, which are chem­i­cals in the brain that act as nat­u­ral painkillers and will help you sleep bet­ter. You need to get to the gym and do some car­dio.”

“I tried do­ing car­dio at the gym, but some jerk on the tread­mill next to me changed the TV to a news chan­nel that spewed a bunch of lies about my po­lit­i­cal party. We were ex­chang­ing a few choice words un­til another jerk called the cops.”

“You need to chill, my friend. The ther­a­pist said that ad­just­ing one’s tone of voice is some­thing we all could work on. If we must de­bate the election, we need to be more pos­i­tive and less judg­men­tal. We shouldn’t carry on like emo­tional ado­les­cents but as rea­son­able, thought­ful adults.”

“I don’t ar­gue like an im­ma­ture teen, you dirty rot­ten mo­ron!”

“The ther­a­pist sug­gests that we be more in­tro­spec­tive. If we be­come an­gry and emo­tional about some­thing a can­di­date says, is it his or her pol­i­tics that are set­ting us off or is it some­thing deeper down that is re­ally both­er­ing us? Maybe the source of our anger is that our job isn’t go­ing as well as we’d like or that we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some other un­pleas­ant is­sue in our lives. By chill­ing out and think­ing things through, maybe this po­lit­i­cal sea­son isn’t both­er­ing us as much as we think it is.”

“My job isn’t go­ing well be­cause my boss is vot­ing for a mo­ron for pres­i­dent!”

“Here’s another tip from the ther­a­pist. We’d be bet­ter off fo­cus­ing on the ar­eas in which we and oth­ers agree, rather than the ar­eas where we dis­agree. And we ought to stop tak­ing pol­i­tics so per­son­ally when a friend or neigh­bor does dis­agree. The fact is we’re not likely to change any­one’s mind and he or she is not likely to change ours. So chill.”

“I’ll try. But I sure can’t wait un­til the next five weeks pass and this lousy election is fi­nally over.”

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