Purcell: Suffering from Election Stress Disorder

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"Five more weeks before the election. I'm not sure I can survive that long."

"Ah, yes, you speak of an interesting phenomenon this election cycle, 'election stress disorder,' as some therapists refer to it. According to several news reports, our cantankerous election is causing increased irritability, heart palpitations and an inability to sleep in more than a quarter of American adults."

"You got that right. Trump has been saying nasty things for months. He says Hillary is a corrupt politician and should be in the slammer. Meanwhile, Hillary has accused Trump of being a racist, a sexist and unfit for the presidency."

"To be sure, this election has not been for the faint of heart. But its nastiness is being exacerbated by 24-hour news channels and social media. The vitriol among 'friends' on Facebook has reached a fever pitch. Strangers are arguing at restaurants and coffee shops. But Yahoo News offers some tips to deal with the problem."

"Go to the liquor store and stock up on hooch?"

"Actually, the first obvious step is to do what you can to limit your exposure to the noise. One therapist suggests that you turn off cable news and stop checking what your friends are posting on Facebook and Twitter. Go out and do some volunteer work."

"I've been doing volunteer work, all right. Me and the boys from the local pub have been removing unpleasant political signs from our neighbors' front yards."

"That's a bad idea. The right idea, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, is to exercise. It will release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and will help you sleep better. You need to get to the gym and do some cardio."

"I tried doing cardio at the gym, but some jerk on the treadmill next to me changed the TV to a news channel that spewed a bunch of lies about my political party. We were exchanging a few choice words until another jerk called the cops."

"You need to chill, my friend. The therapist said that adjusting one's tone of voice is something we all could work on. If we must debate the election, we need to be more positive and less judgmental. We shouldn't carry on like emotional adolescents but as reasonable, thoughtful adults."

"I don't argue like an immature teen, you dirty rotten moron!"

"The therapist suggests that we be more introspective. If we become angry and emotional about something a candidate says, is it his or her politics that are setting us off or is it something deeper down that is really bothering us? Maybe the source of our anger is that our job isn't going as well as we'd like or that we're experiencing some other unpleasant issue in our lives. By chilling out and thinking things through, maybe this political season isn't bothering us as much as we think it is."

"My job isn't going well because my boss is voting for a moron for president!"

"Here's another tip from the therapist. We'd be better off focusing on the areas in which we and others agree, rather than the areas where we disagree. And we ought to stop taking politics so personally when a friend or neighbor does disagree. The fact is we're not likely to change anyone's mind and he or she is not likely to change ours. So chill."

"I'll try. But I sure can't wait until the next five weeks pass and this lousy election is finally over."

Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood" and "Wicked Is the Whiskey," a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, both available at Amazon.com, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc.


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