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How Group Chats Helped Me Cope With 2020 Election Stress

Dealing with the outcome of the 2016 election was a very difficult time for my mental health. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but not having many friends to lean on was unequivocally hard for me. I didn’t have much of an outlet, so most of my fears and anxieties about the future were bottled up inside of my brain (where they’ve since lingered prominently for the past four years).

And now… here we are. The 2020 election has arrived. As I’m writing this, the results of the election are still ongoing. This feels like one of the most important moments that I will ever experience in my lifetime. I’ve been anxious, nervous, and freaked out ever since results started coming in. I was so worried about how my mental health would be impacted by this election. I thought that it would be 2016 all over again and I would be left in a horrendous mental state that would take me months to climb out of. However, that didn’t happen this time, because this time is different. This time I have an amazing, wild, hilarious, and beautiful group of friends.

silhouette of four people on seashore
Jude Beck/Unsplash

My friends and I have multiple group chats with each other, and we’ve spent the past few days in a near constant stream of communication. We send voice messages, selfies, videos, memes, TikToks, and pictures of our pets to each other in order to stay calm and give each other as much support as possible. There was one point where one of my friends was candle shopping and she had an emergency Facetime call with all of us whilst in the middle of the candle store because important results had just been released. We were all freaking out and screaming; it was extremely chaotic. (The amazing irony of this was that my friend was literally shopping for stress-relief candles to use in an attempt to appease her ongoing election-results-stress.)

Courtesy of Sammi Burke

Getting to experience this moment with my friends is something that I’m truly thankful for. I honestly think that the only reason we’ve all stayed relatively calm and composed is because we’ve been able to lean on each other during a time when we need each other the most. You don’t realize just how important friend groups can be until you’re all living through a historical event together. When all of our futures and lives are at stake, it is incredibly comforting to be able to vent to others who know exactly what you’re feeling. We’re all scared and anxious together but, more importantly, we’re all positive and hopeful together, too.

Without my friends, my mental health would be monumentally worse right now. With this being said, I cannot stress the absolute importance of having a support system of people built up around you. Having people in your life who will be there for you in moments like these is essential because you should not and cannot bear these types of burdens on your own. It is so healthy to have a group of people that you can trust and depend on throughout these times of uncertainty.

If any of my friends are reading this: please consider this my love letter to all of you. You are all brilliant, funny, caring, and passionate. I am grateful that I have all of you in my life. Thank you for being here for me right now because I truly do not know what I’d do without any of you. (*“Long Live” by Taylor Swift plays softly in the background*)

Courtney Wells

UC Riverside '22

Courtney is an undergrad at UC Riverside with a major in Sociology and a minor in Feminist Studies. She is passionate about social justice, intersectional feminism, and political activism. She is a lover of reading, iced tea, dad jokes, scary movies, cheese fries, and Taylor Swift. She can usually be found rewatching Pride and Prejudice (2005) with her cats.
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