Why the Election Results Remind Me of When I Was Diagnosed With Depression

Numb. Shock. I haven’t cried. And for me that is rare. As many of my loved ones have been putting out a lot of feelings and thoughts I can relate to since Tuesday night… I have felt tongue-tied. So many thoughts going through my head, so few of them productive.

I immediately started ruminating and catastrophically thinking of what the election and its results mean in the most negative ways. It reminded me of when I was diagnosed with my depression. Thinking of all the ways it has kept me back and hurt me. And although with both I do believe the cons outweigh the pros, the facts are the facts and I have to figure how to live with both.

Two years into my diagnosis I can say I’m stronger and more outspoken. I am reaching out to help others and becoming an advocate. Trying to educate people so they can be aware, supportive and hopefully more empathetic and sensitive to others with mental illness. 

I’d like us all to take this approach with the presidential election. It is what it is. The majority have spoken (let’s not go there right now) and we have a president-elect. Just like my mental illness many of us didn’t wish for this; however, it’s now our reality. So what do we do?

We gather our thoughts, we research what we can do to make the next four years not only bearable, but also try to heal, educate, advocate and connect.

Lamenting with those who think like us and getting angrier and angrier at those who are not struggling in the same way will get us absolutely nowhere… Other than perhaps into trouble.

Accepting doesn’t mean laying down. Or quitting. As important as it is to band together with other like-minded citizens, it is even more important to bridge the divide and start meaningful conversations with those who voted for our next commander-in-chief. I would like to believe my friends and family who did vote for Trump (and hope millions more also), did so for reasons that have nothing to do with bigotry, anti-semitism, racism, homophobia, sexism or other types of hatred. These are the people we need to engage. Ask them to speak out. Ask them to donate their money, time and energy to groups they may have not in the past, but may need and actually want to help in the future. 

Some are excited for our next president. I hope they are willing to stand next to us to bring this country together rather than continue to divide. I’m hopeful that together, with enough education, respect and compassion, we can not only begin to heal, but maybe actually make a difference. If we take our voices and add them together, what a powerful thing that would be. And maybe, just maybe, during the next four years we can find a way that makes some sense and gives us some hope. 

I am in no way embracing and celebrating this election, I am just trying to stop seeing it as a dichotomy and trying to find a middle ground that doesn’t make me want to crawl into a hole. Guess I should practice what I am preaching, take a deep breath and reach out to the people in my life.

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