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Political Depression: Are You Fired Up or Worn Down?

Politics can urge us to be our best selves, fighting for what we think is right, but we are all susceptible to what experts call “political depression.”

All about “Political depression” 

We’re mere days away from what some people are calling the most important election of our lifetime. The 2018 midterms are upon us, and if you haven’t been called, texted, or Facebook messaged about the importance of your vote, you might want to check if you still have a pulse. Politics can urge us to be our best selves, fighting for what we think is right, but whether we consider ourselves political or not, we are all susceptible to what experts are calling “political depression.” 

Political depression involves thinking and feeling like we no longer have control over our destiny: “The perception that work, education, imagination and perseverance do not matter and that there is a ceiling on one’s possibilities,” according to the article. It’s more common in America, posits the author, thanks to, “Centuries old hardwiring of the proposition of unlimited possibility unencumbered by race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or class/wealth.”

For older adults, political depression can involve feelings similar to grief, going as far as mourning the death of “the body politic, fondly recalling and reliving experiences of the deceased, a coping mechanism of escape, avoidance and self soothing not far removed from the self-reinforcing quality of drug addiction.”

Young people may experience anxiety and even rage, “feeling duped or betrayed, unwilling to begin the daunting task of a re-examination of belief systems.”

As varied as cases of political depression are, so too are the treatments. 

Whereas some people are able to “turn off” concern about politics, others may only benefit from taking action. In her blog Jennifer Shannon, LMFT suggests developing a “5 Step Action Plan.”

The plan includes: 

  •     Identifying the problem clearly
  •     Brainstorming actions you can take
  •     Evaluating the consequences of these actions
  •     Picking an action—and acting!
  •     Analyze the results: Did your actions yield positive results? Good job, if so!

This election season, we hope that everyone will feel as if his or her voice is being heard. We hope that everyone feels as if we do indeed have a say in our individual and collective destinies. We hope that everyone remains sensitive to the possibility of political depression and handles fellow humans with care. And finally, regardless of your political inclinations, we hope you, your family, friends, and team take the opportunity on November 6th to vote for the future you believe in.