Off the Record: Times of distress expose my unhealthy coping mediums

By Shreya Partha

The importance of the election is by no means a new concept. As Americans, we have made it our duty to understand each candidate’s policies and beliefs, in hopes that Election Day will prove to cater our unrelenting expectancy. 

However, as election day grew nearer, I noticed my mannerisms changing along with the political climate. As votes were cast and ballots were counted, I found myself refreshing The New York Times’ webpage every two seconds for even small changes in numbers.

Obsessing over election: A flurry of news outlets bombard me with formidable headlines, as I slowly start to notice my mannerisms changing synonymous with the political climate. (Illustration by Shreya Partha)

Once Election Day started turning into Election week, I knew many of the small daily routines I did would soon be lost. Though it’s great to stay informed, when it starts to approach the line of obsessive, it should be a clear indication that it’s time to stop. When it comes to the election,  it should be enough to know that it is not in our control. 

In addition to slowly losing my mental stability, the obsession manifested itself into negative influences in my life. On that Tuesday night, I neglected to eat as much as I normally would, failed to complete many of my assignments and every conversation ended with me sounding almost incoherent and unintelligible as a result of me being completely distracted and enthralled by the electoral map in front of me.

While the election is a determinant for many rights and my actions were rightfully justified, the effects of my anxiety didn’t just present itself through my physical appearance – extremely disheveled and unkempt – it also manifested through bewildered and unusual actions.  For example, in order to distract myself from the anxiety-inducing numbers, I did anything I could, from showering for an absurd amount of time to taking out the trash and stopping to talk to my neighbors while falling behind on my homework. 

This election is the first of many revolutionary ideas, but it most certainly won’t be the last. And while elections generally prove to be stressful, nothing could have prepared us for this one and the sad and unfortunate reality is that it doesn’t end here. We still have a long way to go in terms of elections and even more in terms of our rights.

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