The law of homeostasis governs almost everything in the human body. One of the easiest places to see it in action is in the case of addiction. When you introduce a foreign drug it creates a response, typically a desired one, that changes the body from its baseline feeling of normalcy. In an effort to return things to normal, the body creates reactions that send you in the opposite direction that the drug originally took you. This is the crash, or in the case of alcohol, you know it better as a hangover. But this reaction isn’t just relegated to drugs, our entire culture is being dosed a foreign narcotic— The Election.
For the past 12 months we’ve found ourselves in a seemingly endless, seemingly urgent, seemingly substantive cycle of non-stop information about the election. We had a bunch of spikes in our dosage from primary candidates rising to a precipice and their inevitable subsequent fall from grace. It was action. It was a real life soap opera unfolding before our eyes. What would they say next? Who will be the front runner after the next public assassination of character?
The race for the presidency no longer seemed like a race, it seemed like an arena, a gladiatorial battle to the death. Each of the 21 debates became a sort of pay-per-view prize fight closer to tuning in to the Hunger Games than a debate club.
We are slightly more than one week away from the election now and the propaganda of the most expensive election of all time is nearly unavoidable. The tension is palpable. This battle of attrition has left us with the two final candidates in, what pollsters would lead us to believe, is a coin toss election. We are on the edges of our collective seats. Marketers are feeding in to it. The media is feeding in to it. And as much as we say we hate it, we also love it. Life seems to have an urgent battle that requires our attention, a battle that we’ve been told could dramatically change our lives. So even if it’s frustrating and we want it to be over, our minds and our bodies can’t help but respond to this increased stimuli.
Do you feel it? Have you been feeling it for a while?
You’ll wake up on the morning of Wednesday, November 7th. Now what?
The climax has happened, but the afterglow isn’t quite the same. There is a hollowness there where a battle once was. There is no measured run down from this. It’s over. You’ve been fed an information drug—sensational news etc.— that has created a response in your body of increased alertness and stress for the past 12 months, a response that has been building in intensity up until now, and it’s over. Your body is going to respond to that. It likely won’t be the cool calm of a Sandals Beach Resort commercial. No, if you’ve been following the election with any level of intensity, you are in for a crash— a post election depression.
Maybe your candidate won’t win and you might blame your dysphoric feelings on that, and sure that isn’t going to help anything, but look into the eyes of someone whose candidate did win— you’ll see that same listless gaze you see staring back at you in the mirror.
I’d recommend drinking water if I thought it would help. A greasy breakfast, maybe. Something to help your body balance out more quickly, to return to your homeostatic levels from before the election, but there probably aren’t any easy home remedies for an Election Hangover. Well, that’s not necessarily true— an all inclusive paid trip to one of those Sandals Beach Resorts might do the trick. But if that isn’t forthcoming, let’s all just try to go easy on each other that next day, maybe a flood of memes of “Resignation Face” will help fill the void or at least make us smile. If that doesn’t help, just remember, you won’t be getting all those emails and robo-calls, and that has to be worth something.