Depression and the Election

A Look At How Health Care Professionals Are Helping Patients

Finding a reason to be depressed isn’t hard. So many different experiences and feelings put many of us on the road to depression. Healthcare professionals seek to help patients through many changes in life that contribute to the depression that many of us battle with in varying degrees. One of those changes is tied to our upcoming election. Does that idea seem strange? Its really not. Elections, especially for President, cause a lot of people a great deal of emotional anxiety. Here in America where elections are surrounded by the ads through all mediums, men, women, and even some children worry about what will happen if this person is elected, or that person gets chosen. When people worry, are filled with anxiety, and are fearful, its easy to slide right into a state of depression.

Mental Health professionals, according to Robert Leahy, Director of the American Institute of Cognitive Therapy, sees a rise in new patients, and in current patients depression levels during election years. Fear for the future, and the choices the candidates are talking about as it relates to themselves and their families is one of the highest depression targets that patients share. For many people this anxious, depressed feeling is worked through all on their own. No clinical help is needed. Everyone at some point in time, and for many, various points in time, struggles with differing levels of feeling depressed. In most instances it is not clinical depression, but simply a struggle one goes through and deals with along the road of life.

Right now, due to the current political climate, and the even harsher than normal rhetoric flying between the candidates, the percentage of people seeking help for depression has risen. In the vast majority of instances, no medication is needed. People just need to have a safe place to talk and share their concerns. Not everyone has family they can turn to in order to vent and get their anxiety out of their mind. For others, the help is more greatly needed. While we all worry, and worry isn’t necessarily a bad thing, some of our fellow human beings take worry to the extreme, slide right into depression and need help digging out of the trench they are trapped in. So, what are the doctors recommending?

Dr. Holland with the Capital Institute of Cognitive Therapy, a practice that houses 12 different clinicians working to help patients deal with issues like this has shared a list of things to see, accept, work through. This is in no way intended for anyone to self-diagnose. If you are battling with depression, and it is moderate to severe instead of centered around normal day to day stuff that flits through your mind and then lets go, please, see your physician so you can determine together if you need additional help.

  1. Be honest with yourself and kind with yourself about dealing with depression. It is okay to have rocky emotions and to struggle with things sometimes.
  2. Be willing to ask for help. We tend to be stubborn in our own minds thinking we can work through issues. Sometimes we can, but sometimes? We need a helping hand to come alongside us and pull us up out of the pit.
  3. Do your part in the area that is causing stress and anxiety and be willing to let go of the rest. We cannot control others, and our voice counts, but we are not the kingpin on which everything rests. Often times accepting our lack of control helps us move forward positively.
  4. Know and accept that feelings of anxiety, anger, and depression at times is completely normal. You are walking alongside many, many others also battling with it. You are not strange, abnormal, or unhelpable.
  5. Take your areas of depression and worry and run your own worse case scenarios. We tend to think the worst, and stay there, unable to move past it. When we process the worst case scenario, we can usually let it go as very unlikely that anything like that will happen. As we see that, our stress levels slowly decrease back to acceptable levels.
  6. Focus on today. We spend a lot of time worrying about what isn’t in front of us. If we can learn to take each day as it comes, and deal with that stuff, then we can greatly decrease our stress about tomorrow.
  7. Find ways to process your anxiety and depression. It might mean meditation, needing a little more sleep through naps, taking walks to bleed off adrenaline, and talking with others about it so you are not living in your mind.

On a personal note: I am one of those who have been dealing with election depression. Its not clinical, and I haven’t needed anything beyond talking about it. I have been able on most days, as it has cropped up, to talk with my husband, son, or friends to deal with the feelings of anxiety and depression that come up due to what is almost here. The election process. When I started researching this, I found a lot of unhelpful ideas, and some good ones mixed in. I have actually worked through the vast majority of this list personally, and hit the place where I have greatly lowered my anxiety. Some of these suggestions are really just common sense. Usually when in the midst of depression though, common sense feels far away.

Mental Healthcare in America is a field of medicine that is undergoing quite a bit of change. As researchers delve into the impact of our mental health on our whole body, it is becoming more and more part of health and wellness programs and finally people are starting to get the help they need to deal with short term or ongoing issues. One of the lessons I have learned over the years is to practice a great deal of compassion toward those people who are struggling. This election is really causing a lot of stress and depression for people. Helping one another through this is positive ways benefits us all.

Image obtained from images library. Information about the Cognitive Therapies obtained from Psychology Today.