Screaming, crying, throwing up? Here are ways to cope with your post-election feelings
Disclaimer: This opinion piece regarding post-election season is a depiction of the writer’s own thoughts, experiences and observations of #Halalan2022 and in no way reflects the opinions of the publication on which it is shared, nor does it reflect the opinions of the publication’s parent company or fellow businesses.
As we slowly wrap our heads around the unofficial, real-time election results, I ask my colleague: “How are we all functioning right now?” The worst kind of heartbreak, it seems, is that of a nation—forgetful and forgiving people as we are—dealing with “a death by a thousand cuts of our democracy,” as Filipino Nobel laureate and journalist, Maria Ressa, puts it in the acclaimed documentary A Thousand Cuts.
History is conveniently rewriting itself, sanitizing the names of men and women in power who boast wealth and resources they stole from the very people they were entrusted to serve. Grief touches us and cradles our frail bodies, our broken hearts, which hope so desperately for a better tomorrow. My tenacious mother clutches me and cries, “Hindi na namin maaabutan ng Papa mo gumanda ang Pilipinas (Your Papa and I will no longer reach the time when the Philippines becomes beautiful).”
— Tarantadong Kalbo (@KevinKalbo) May 9, 2022
Two men look out the window, poker-faced, with red flickers in their eyes. Tarantadong Kalbo’s illustration is eerie and unsettling, a foreboding look at our reality. Our expectations have crashed head-on with the brokenness of this country. We are in the midst of a reckoning, and I refuse to look away.
Allow yourself to grieve
Many of us are in a state of emotional overdrive; we feel everything and nothing all at once. Time stops for nobody, and we see it as the need for productivity and self-optimization looms over us. We’re drowning, and we need relief.
Give yourself time to grieve. Resilience in our every day means recognizing our feelings and making space for them. Let your emotions be felt by your body. Establishing a compassionate internal connection with yourself activates a self-soothing response that regulates you back into safety.
Take a step back when needed
“Doomscrolling,” our tendency to scroll relentlessly on our smartphones, was a term created during the heart of the pandemic. With the need to stay informed every second of every day, there’s no doubt that we are also sacrificing our sanity.
Check in with yourself, and take a step back when needed. There’s a temptation to get sucked in the mind-numbing digital vortex, but acknowledge when it’s becoming too much. When you feel overwhelmed, refocus your attention on other things. Best part is, it doesn’t need to be a productive use of your time. There’s use in compartmentalizing your thoughts, too, especially when there’s a looming deadline.
Have a support system
Oftentimes, when we’re dealing with grief and disillusionment, we isolate ourselves. For public health expert Dr. Marthony Basco, he highly recommends communicating our experiences to a trusted confidante, even if this means, essentially, venting. Our lived experiences can get too heavy to carry on our own. Unload your worries to a family member, a trusted friend or a small group.
We’re all trying to get by, one day at a time. As this somber and heartbreaking post-election season stretches on, and with Mental Health Awareness Month in our midst, continue to check on yourself, be observant of your mental state, and stay connected with people who understand.
Art Macky Arquilla