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Election uncertainty can lead to anxiety

Posted at 11:08 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-07 00:08:41-05

As votes continue to be counted in several states, more and more Americans, especially here in the Coastal Bend, simply want the election resolved.

Almost 72 hours after polls closed, we still don’t know who the next President of the United States is.

The uncertainty surrounding this presidential-election result is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history. Even the 2000 election, which went to a recount in Florida, had a winner declared on Election Night.

Mental-health professionals believe that uncertainty can breed anxiety.

“Anxiety is always inevitable in any big election,” said Texas A&M Corpus Christi counseling professor Dr. Michelle Hollenbaugh.

Hollenbaugh said election-related anxiety is perfectly normal, even more so this year, and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This election, specifically, has been extremely divisive,” she said. “Then you include the fact that they’re still counting votes and it’s been going on for a while, it’s a perfect storm for anxiety.”

Corpus Christi resident Jorge Ibarra has been watching closely.

“I wish they’d figure it out already," he said. "I’d like to have a president."

Ibarra is one of many local residents watching as the fate of the presidency is decided in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. Despite the delays, Ibarra said he wants all the votes to be counted.

“As long as it takes, as long as it’s done properly, I’m willing to wait,” he said.

For those feeling anxious about the election, Hollenbaugh suggests finding a way to unplug and manage emotions.

“In the time of counseling I do, we call that making lemonade out of lemons, and saying this is a good opportunity to do emotional regulation.,” she said.

In other words, whatever you do to relieve stress, now is the time to do it.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Counseling and Training Clinic offers counseling services to anyone suffering from election anxiety, or anxiety in general. Click here for more information, or call (361) 825-3988.