How the 2020 Election Has Changed My Mental Health

As a journalism student, I usually consume news on an above-average basis, but the overflow of information the past few months has quickly changed that. With the election still in full swing, my reliance on news has honestly become nonexistent.

Usually I find comfort in being informed, but right now I feel powerless.

Seeing all of my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances post constantly about everything from Arizona becoming blue to how close the race is – I can’t fathom when this all will end.

Throughout the years, I have made a point to take care of my mental health whether that be by talking to a counselor, exercising, or disconnecting in some way to let myself breathe. Regardless of what I do, right now this election makes me feel like I’m drowning, gasping for air every second.

For the first time in a while I lost control. I had a panic attack at the thought of another four years living in a country filled with so much hate. All my fears came flooding through, realizing that I’ve been living a nightmare.

In the past four years, America has seen countless school shootings, an abundance of violence toward people of color, civil legislation being threatened, a pandemic that was (and is) horribly being handled, and the death of a Supreme Court justice who served to make millions of lives better.

What a lot of people seem to forget is that everything from the past four years has led up to all the horrible events that 2020 has thrown at us. How are we supposed to digest all of the craziness going on around us and not feel hopeless?

I did my part. I educated myself, voted, and encouraged others to do the same. But it might not be enough and I’m not ok with that.

I’m struggling to find hope that things will end up OK for American’s who don’t have the privilege to not care about this election. I can’t stand idly by and deal with “whoever wins” like it’s just another competition, when in reality my life is at stake.

How can anyone expect to deal with the weight of all of these issues, on top of everything else going on in your own life, and the fate of it all being in the hands of citizens you don’t know. Hoping that they value people regardless how they look, identify, believe, etc. over profit, “religious” bias and whatever other justification people use who didn’t vote for Biden and Kamala Harris.

In my heart I know I did everything I could to change the fate of this country for the better, but I still feel like I failed. I don’t know if it’s the accumulation of everything together or if this election was the tipping point, but it’s hard to take.

I want to be hopeful and look toward the future, but even if I still keep a glimmer of hope, in the back of my mind I feel overwhelmed and unprepared for whatever happens next.

The one thing that helps me keep my head up high is the fact that I have amazing people around me to confide in, lean on and just be with. And sometimes that’s all you can do.