Election depression?

Mental health professional advises: 'turn off the news'


Caterina Benalcázar not exactly enjoying her time with the Times at Lawrence coffee shop La Prima Tazza.

Got the balloting blues? The Democratic Doldrums? Election depression?

No surprise. The rush of political energy and adrenaline has come to a screeching halt now that an intense yearlong presidential election campaign is over - with President Bush winning another four years in office.

"There's been such anticipation, such expectation and hope and fear and all of those things, that I think you'll see a general decline," said Tom Bates, who oversees adult outpatient services at Bert Nash Mental Health Center in Lawrence, "probably even a depression for some people, kind of the after-excitement let-down."

But Bates has a suggested cure: Turn away from the news and remember there's more to life than politics.

"Probably turn off the television for awhile," he said. "You're going to wake up next to the same partner, you're going to take your kids to school, fix lunch, those kinds of things, you're going to work."

There could be as many as 27,000 cranky people in Lawrence and Douglas County this week.

That's how many folks voted for John Kerry in Tuesday's presidential election - one of only two Kansas counties to support the Democrat.

"I'm sad," Lawrence Democratic activist Kathy Greenlee said yesterday, later adding: "I wish the sun had come out today."

The county's nearly 20,000 supporters of President Bush feel better, but even they're tuckered out from a yearlong election campaign that was one of the most intense in memory.

"I've always found that a good bottle of scotch is good in that regard, preferably something with a name you can't pronounce that's about 15 years old," said Chris Miller, chairman of the Douglas County GOP. "But I'll probably just go to sleep."

Lawrence Democratic activist

Reactions were less muted at popular Lawrence Web sites devoted to politics.

"Morons. We're a nation of morons," 'gccs14r' posted to the forum at Larryville.com.

"Yea!!!! Bush wins and conservative values are again voted into office," 'Jimmy Mistretta' posted. "I am very proud to be an American. The nation responded in spite of the liberal media's stranglehold on the news. Yes America we really did rock the vote."

Bates, the mental-health professional, had a response to all the hyperventilating.

"People," he said, "just need to calm down a bit."

But he said Bert Nash saw a rise in people seeking help during the last few months as the election campaign turned fierce.

"It's really hard to know cause-and-effect," he said. "Whether or not that's related to the election is difficult to tell."

Soon, he said, people will get over this election.

"I think we'll probably see a big of a spike in the anxiety, but then I think it will drop off pretty dramatically," Bates said. "Especially since people will probably recognize that, at least in the short run, nothing has changed.


samsamsamsam 18 years, 4 months ago

I don't see how "values" comes into play with any part of the Republican party. Preaching no rights for women, no rights for gays, no rights for anyone who may be going against the president? those are values right there folks. Yet the party that is for health care for everyone, helping the poor, and generally helping everyone is the party without values.

Punkin 18 years, 4 months ago

I think it's fair to say that the larger corporate media has been operating for some time without the public's best interests at heart. Talk radio is but one example. TV, these days, is at best offering drivel and diversion from the real matters of the day. Media consolidation has made truly free and representative discourse virtually impossible.

I, for one, found it hard to vote for Kerry as he seemed unwilling to truly embrace the "new direction" he continually spoke of. His words were more often than not centered around "killing" the terrorists. How is that rhetoric any better than what the Bush camp offers? Our foriegn policy is doomed to failure. Kerry should have taken an earlier and stauncher position against the war, and the corporate powers that are driving it. I voted for Kerry, yes, but with some serious trepidation.

I reject the idea of a moral mandate from "them", the Christian right, who voted for Bush. And do i publicly denegrate people who wish to remove my constitutional right to choose whether or not I reproduce? Yes, but it goes both ways. They call me a murderer for choosing when and if i bear a child.

Do I reject a faith that says war is acceptable, even righteous? Yes. Christians do not represent the only faith on the planet. All religions have a right to be free to worship as they see fit. The current "moral majority" seems to think that only those who believe in Christ are to be considered human.

Do i reject and renounce them, a group of people who offer only platitudes in the face of increasing poverty and despair? Absolutely. They seem to want every woman to breed, regardless of a woman's ability to raise children or pay for the children they bring into the world. They--this morally mandated group of voters--refuse to allow adequate sex education in schools or funding for family planning. Yet they are unwilling to help provide for the many, many children in this country and around the world who, once born, go to bed hungry. Children raised in abject poverty, uneducated and desperate, are denied any meaningful chance at a life free from strife. This ignorance and poverty begets, in its essence, war. The current administration cares little for the fetus once it has made its' entrance into the world.

War is not an expression of moral values. Neither are Poverty, Repression, Judgement, Greed, Despoiling of the natural world, or Bigotry.

I reject the so called mandate of the religious communities that voted for Bush.

And i think that the Democrats failed in this election, and are failing now, in analyzing the loss. They are pandering to the right and to Christians who voted for Bush. They would have been far better off growing a spine and speaking in a voice that calls for compassion and tolerance and manifests the government's fundamental obligation to provide for the health and wellbeing of all its citizenry.

TheBowman 18 years, 4 months ago

My thoughts on the re-election of Curious George---I think it was put best by the King of Brogdinag to Gulliver in Swift's GULLIVER'S TRAVELS: "I have but to conclude that your species has to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the Earth."

That's all I have to say about that....

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