How to cope with post-election depression

Have you thought about the emotional impact of your presidential favorite losing? What are your contingency plans for managing possible disappointment?

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

No one wants to think the unthinkable: That their presidential candidate won’t win on the big day. Yet, similar to the eager anticipation that builds for sports fans before a big game, growing legions of self-professed political junkies and those deeply engaged in the Election 2012 outcome are gearing themselves up for a stressful disappointment. Let’s face it: whether you are rooting for Obama or Romney, one man must lose. Could this winner-take-all reality be a set up for a resulting depression?

MSNBC contributor Keli Goff reports that, although not as closely studied as the sports-related version of the phenomenon, political defeats can bring on a funk as blues-inducing as one caused by the losses of one’s most beloved athletes.

“There are some people who do become depressed because of the sports team or politician’s loss because they are so invested in those entities,” mental-health expert Dr. Jeff Gardere told Goff. “In fact, if they are consumed with the politician or the sports team and that becomes one of the few avenues of pleasure, it is quite possible that a loss becomes devastating to that fan.”

As emotions intensify in the days leading up to the presidential election, there is a growing risk that the impact of seeing one’s candidate fail could deeply impact individuals, families — or even regions — according to experts interviewed by the political correspondent. As Mitt Romney and President Obama are reportedly neck-and-neck, it’s hard to anticipate an outcome, or assuage fears. Yet, there is hope.

“The good news for those who are deeply affected emotionally by a sports team’s or politician’s performance is that the emotional impact is fairly brief — for most of us,” reports Goff.

Read more about the connection between well-being and politicians’ political successes — plus ways to plan for their trouncing — and let us know: Have you thought about the possible impact of your presidential favorite losing? What are your contingency plans for managing emotional disappointment?

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb