Seattle Direct Counseling | Presidential Election Anxiety Fears
I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about Election Anxiety, or ‘Election Distress Disorder’ (not a real DSM-V disorder).
Because of the ethics of my profession, I consider it a solemn duty in this season to listen to all my clients in a non-judgmental manner; to do anything less dishonors our profession and the work we each do to hear ourselves and apply ourselves at whatever level of free agency that we can.
After nearly 17 years of doing therapy in the Seattle area, I have concluded that the current presidential election campaign is the most talked about campaign of my career. It’s also the most controversial, and the topics that have been stirred up have affected all peoples on either side of the political aisle, as well as those who have chosen to depart from the mainstream political parties.
Yet, I am not here to talk about the particulars of the campaigns. I want to talk about what the campaign has done to us, what it has forced upon the table. It is being called collectively, “Election Anxiety”, an anxious reaction to the fears, racism, misogyny, and verbal bullying that our nation has witnessed on our television screen, computer monitors, and smart devices in the form of video, news articles, audio sound bytes, and Social Media response.
It’s not that any of these topics are new. The sheer volume, however, is new. For example, I have been called the derogatory term, “chink,” many times in my adult lifetime. Yet, the number of derogatory terms directed at my fellow Latino and Latina friends has exponentially exploded this year.
A year ago, we weren’t even using that terminology, “Election Anxiety.” Now, it’s a ‘thing’. A real thing.
I am not alone in naming this ‘thing’. In an article from the New York Times, Social Workers and Licensed Mental Counselors across the country are reporting an increase of clients asking to talk about the elections during therapy in the form of anxious and fearful thoughts.
And now, Election Anxiety has come to my office is in the form of requests about how thoughts regarding bullying, misogyny, racism, and micro aggressions in the workplace might be handled.
Read on for more about Election Anxiety.