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To Anyone Else Who Has Anxiety About the Presidential Election

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Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump. One of those names will mean so much more the day after tomorrow. And I am terrified. I am not going to say who you should vote for or even who I am going to vote for. All I’m going to say is it is a potentially life-changing election for many people.

My anxiety has been mounting as the big day nears. Every day I think I could not be more anxious or fearful. Then another day dawns, and I am all the more terrified. I know that it is such a hot-button topic for many. I am outspoken about who I want to win, and the more I find more reasons to vote for that person, the more I see the opposition in stark contrast to the future I am envisioning, my hopes and dreams for the country and the American people. I have become seriously and extremely fearful of the results. It would be a polar opposite vision appearing in front of me.

I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach. At first, I wasn’t quite awake, and I didn’t understand where it was coming from. Even when I realized it was because the election was tomorrow, I was still confused because this will be my third presidential election to be voting in. But I am also much older and have more complicated health needs this time around. With my need of mental health care and ongoing care for an autoimmune illness, some factors — such as healthcare and treatment by government, by health care providers, and even by other people as a person with chronic health issues — are at the forefront for me. My insurance could go away. My insurance could change, so I’m unable to qualify. Recognition and treatment of mental health issues in government may change drastically, and as the government changes, so too could the people I deal with every day — the people who help me, the people who love me, the people who treat me and the people who judge me. These groups are sometimes interchangeable and frequently changing.

I guess in the end, explaining my fear may be as simple as that. Maybe I am just afraid of change. I hear from many people that, whether they want to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, they have seen and experienced change in the way people are being treated on both sides. As someone with a predisposition for anxiety, times of uncertainty can bring out the worst in my mental illness. Some people may even experience this anxiety to such a degree that it’s impossible for them to go out and vote, which restricts their ability to have control over their futures. I have heard from friends who have had to turn off their social media, trying to hide their head in the sand, to get away from nonstop election stimulation.

I already warned my husband today that if the election turns out the way I am afraid it might, I will cry, I might have a panic attack, and I will need him to be there for me to help me through it.

If you are one of those people having extreme anxiety over this state of affairs, I encourage you to find someone you feel safe with — your friend, your SO, your parents, your pastor, someone you can be honest with — and ask them to help you through this. To go with you to vote. To sit with you as you learn these results.

Know that you are far from alone in these times. The person you choose may also feel anxiety, even if it is not to the extent you do. We are united in this. And we will be united after this.

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Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: November 8, 2016
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