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O/T For Marcy

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  • O/T For Marcy


    http://www.newsday.com/news/nationwo...,0,6177902.sto
    ry?coll=ny-nation-big-pix

    Singing the blue-state blues


    BY JAMIE TALAN
    STAFF WRITER

    November 5, 2004, 7:26 PM EST


    This week, many therapists in Kerry-friendly New York found their clients
    left personal issues at home, instead seeking professional help for
    post-election political despair.

    Manhattan psychologist Bonnie Maslin said many of her patients cried about
    the lost election and the reality of the Republican victory. They talked
    about hopelessness. They said they felt isolated, depressed and angry.

    "There is a lot of grieving and mourning -- not unlike the Jewish shiva,"
    Maslin said. "The level of devastation is enormous. Patients are saying they
    feel that the things they cherish and value are under siege. They feel
    threatened."

    Maslin, a practicing psychologist since 1973, said she "has never seen tears
    around politics" in her office. But she understands, and counsels patients
    to go through the grieving "so they don't become paralyzed by it."

    Joseph LeDoux, a professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York
    University, said any threatening news triggers a flood of stress hormones
    that can amplify and prolong negative feelings.

    The post-election emotions of many who voted for Sen. John Kerry may mirror
    clinical depression, but experts say they aren't necessarily signs of a
    psychiatric condition.

    "These are genuine feelings," said Myrna Weissman, a depression researcher
    at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "But as much as
    political leaders are important, they are not family or friends. These are
    not the events that cause real impairment in functioning."

    But Dr. Kerry Sulkowicz, a psychoanalyst and clinical professor of
    psychiatry at New York University's School of Medicine, believes "people are
    genuinely worried that Bush is our leader." He said virtually all of his
    patients this week said they feel depressed about the fate of the country.
    "They feel helpless and dismayed by Bush's staying power."

    Alan Hilfer, director of training in the department of psychiatry at
    Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, observed that "They don't quite
    understand what the majority of the country is feeling. But people are
    resilient ... By next week, people will be talking about their own issues
    again."

    Hilfer said he is finding that patients who actually worked on the Kerry
    campaign are coping better than those who only voted for him.

    So what should a losing voter do?

    "Some people will become passive, and lose their belief that what they do
    matters," said Christopher Peterson, a professor of psychology at the
    University of Michigan who studies how people respond to bad events. He
    cautions people not to let that happen.

    "There is always another election. Democracy worked," he tells his students.
    "Even the Red Sox eventually won the World Series."

    His research on coping shows that giving up and getting emotional "is a
    sure-fire way to guarantee future failure."

    He and others recommend local activism as a way to counter depressed
    feelings.

    Maslin agreed, but advised her patients to respect their period of mourning.

    Dr. David Schlager, clinical assistant professor at Stony Brook University
    Hospital, warned that if hopelessness persists, it may signal an undiagnosed
    depression that could be coloring a person's exaggerated and prolonged
    response to the election. In that case, people should seek professional
    help, Schlager said.


    -------------------------
    A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
    be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
    -----Unknown
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