My Election Season Neurosis Is as Out of Control as Donald Trump's Ego

Right before the third debate, a friend asked if I wanted to watch it live from a bar in Brooklyn. I begrudgingly agreed, if only because misery loves company, and it's been excruciating to watch every second of this drawn-out campaign. The truth is, I really wanted to cower in a dark corner of my apartment and eat Ben & Jerry's while live tweeting the hot dumpster fire of an election season.


The second Trump came on the screen in the crowded bar, I flagged down a server. "I need a panini and a lot of wine," I said, desperation in my voice. He laughed, and brought me my vices throughout the debate.

Hours later, and full of sauvignon blanc and cheese-and-apple paninis, I went home, popped a Cymbalta and some melatonin, and went to bed. But a restful night's sleep evaded me -- I was tossing and turning for hours, only to wake up in the wee hours of the morning from some dystopian Trump-inspired dream where everyone was forced to eat Trump steaks with their tiny, tiny hands.

Night terrors. Stress eating. Drinking like a sailor. Antidepressants. This, I found, is my mind on politics.

Thanks to the 2016 presidential election, I'm a legitimate nervous wreck. Need more proof? I eat sweets at the office with reckless abandon, compulsively check Facebook for the latest terrible news (and of course, it's always about Trump, isn't it?), and have defriended half of my high school class to avoid all of the horrible half-baked arguments over why a man who actively discussed groping women is somehow fit to be commander in chief.

They know my name at my local donut shop, too, because I've basically become the real-life Liz Lemon.

More from CafeMom: It's Not Just You -- This Election Season Is Screwing with Everyone's Mental Health

In short, this election cycle has turned me into a trembling, neurotic shadow of my former self. I must have put on 15 pounds in the last six months, thanks to my meds and a new compulsion to eat everything in sight every time I log into Facebook or catch a tweet from CNN.

And I'm in good (or miserable) company -- the latest Pew Research Center report found that a staggering one third of Americans are fed up with seeing all things political on their social media feeds.

And a recent ABC News poll found that 46 percent of respondents said they were stressed out by this election cycle, and an additional 23 percent said that they were seriously stressed.

What's worse is it seems like there's nothing I can do to get through this election slump -- I tried mindfulness meditation (hell, I even wrote a book about it).

More from CafeMom: Sick of All This Election Stress? 15 Ways to Feel Happy RN

But that didn't work a bit, as every time I was chasing a zen moment, my tired brain kept jumping to thoughts of what a nation under President Trump would look like. (Then I thought about how it would probably resemble Panem, and I'd need to practice my Katniss braids while brushing up on my archery skills.)

I tried yoga, massages, talking to friends. But nothing seemed to help, because every conversation ultimately ended up being about the same thing -- why is this election tearing our country apart at the seams? When did everything become a hyperbolic parody of what it once was? And why was I so obsessed with knowing every painful detail of the news cycle?

It was only when I was talking to my coworker in the office one afternoon that it hit me -- I need to actually do something about my election neurosis, not just wallow in a Ben & Jerry's–induced stupor. 

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So in two weeks, I'm going to do the ultimate form of self-care. I'm going to put on my yoga pants (because they're the only thing that fit at this point) and walk proudly down to my polling center to cast my vote. Good thing athleisure is so trendy RN.

Because while it's easy to feel powerless and unimportant, I know that making my voice heard is the one thing I actually have control over.

So no, I don't (currently) have the power to turn down that third piece of chocolate cake (not that there's anything wrong with that) or sleep through the night without waking up in a panic, but I do have the choice to vote. And so do you.


Image via Comedy Central

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