I woke up on November 8th, the morning of the 2016 United States Presidential Election, riddled with anxiety, nerves high. Later that same day, I stumbled across an article in the New York Times describing a phenomenon that the author calls “election stress syndrome.” The article explained this simply to be heightened stress levels that occur on or around election day, particularly the ever-important presidential election. After reading the article, I diagnosed myself with this maybe-made-up disorder. Granted, my self-diagnosis was not really an educated one. It was more of a “that sounds like me” moment. Perhaps it was just the tests or the school work stressing me out, but I digress.
Regardless of the cause, why would anyone ever think an election could cause so much stress? Well, for me at least, the answer to that question is easy. Just like someone may feel heightened anxiety levels regarding his/her favorite sports team before a big game, I feel that way about politics. You see, I’ve never been much of a sports fan. But I’ve definitely felt the adrenaline rush watching the electoral college numbers change on a screen, hoping the results are what I want them to be – because politics are my sports. My favorite politicians are the equivalent of your favorite players. My political party of choice is parallel to the sports team to which you hold the closest affinity. The debates serve as game days. Primaries are the championships. And the General Election? That’s my Super Bowl.