Election depression: how to cope if your candidate lost the race

A supporter reacts after hearing that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wouldn't be coming to the Jacob Javits Center in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 as votes are continuing to be counted. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

On Wednesday morning after conceding the election, Hillary Clinton said, “This is painful and it will be for a long time, but I want you to remember this. Our campaign was never about one person or even one election, it was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.”

Every election has winners and losers, and mental health experts say there are ways to overcome election letdown.

As the results came in on Tuesday night, tears fell across the country.

Local Hillary Clinton supporter, Xiomara Sosa, says, “I’ve been crying since last night, on and off.”

Another, Diaz Bishop, says, “I couldn’t take it anymore. It was making me physically ill.”

These Hillary Clinton supporters tell News 2 they are less upset that their candidate lost, and more concerned that Donald Trump won.

Sosa says, “He stands for racism, he stands for bigotry, he stands for sexism, he stands for able-ism, he stands for homophobia, I could just keep going. I think that’s what is so upsetting that I feel my life is in danger.”

Therapists say this is normal, after an election people can see signs of depression and anxiety.

Marriage and Family Therapist, Victoria DeShong, says, “The losses are the life that we thought we were going to have, the changes that we thought would take place”

There are three ways to cope. First, continue with your daily routine.

DeShong says, “It can’t be that we just stay in the house and say ‘Okay this is upsetting and depressing and I’m just so overwhelmed’. We have to come out and get back into our lives.”

Second, don’t fixate on the negative.

DeShong says, “Acknowledge that ‘Okay, I’m sad here’. Do some things that you typically do when you are sad, but by all means do not hyper-focus on this because it’s just going to continue your state of anger and upset-ness and anxiety.”

Third, instead of focusing on the result which is now out of your control, focus on changes you can control.

DeShong says, “We need to settle ourselves, soothe ourselves, and then take some steps to do what we can do to change it for ourselves. There are always things we can do as individuals.”

She says for example, if you are concerned about losing resources to fund sending your child to college, start looking at scholarships now to solve a problem that worries you before it even starts. DeShong says elections and sports games often have an anxious and depression effect when your team doesn’t win and you become emotionally invested. She says it is normal to have these feelings, but it’s important to acknowledge it and work to move on.


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