For Those with Post Election Disappointment

Kimmel & Associates e-Letter

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates

Volume 7, Number 11

November brings us Thanksgiving, a time dominated by bargains, discounts, and shopping. But truly it is a time for gratitude; a time to remember our blessings and to recognize and appreciate them. Too many people have suffered to bring us the liberty, freedom, and prosperity we enjoy. We have remembered only some of them on Veterans Day. We take this time to remember all our family and friends who have helped make us who we are. We also remember those who we raise and teach and prepare for the future with a set of beliefs and values.

This month, we completed a very, very negative election and whether your candidates won or lost, we have all been affected by the lies, spin, and attacks on both sides. We hope and pray that our country will quickly come together to heal our rifts.

After the election, we heard from a number of people who were quite depressed and scared about the future of our country because their candidates did not win. Therefore in this November E-letter, we present information about Post Election Disappointment. Our Ask the Doc question is about having no friends, and our email of the month is about Leadership and the Janitor. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. As always, we appreciate your questions and feedback.

Practice News

Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. We have been certified by the Department of Children and Families, State of Florida, to offer the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. Sometimes referred to as the Divorce Class, this 4 hour class is state mandated for divorcing parents of involved children. This course is intended to teach parents about the effects divorce has on children, to lessen the impact of difficult transitions, and to improve the ways they communicate with each other and their children. Our course is provided live and in small groups. Please contact our office at 954 755-2885 for further information.

Low cost counseling: Denise Champagne, M.S., is offering low cost counseling as a mental health intern. She is currently seeing patients and is available to take on new patients. This allows those individuals who cannot afford treatment to obtain it and allows her to get the required training. If you or someone you know is in need of counseling but just cannot afford it, please call the office and ask for Denise. All treatment provided by Denise will be reviewed and supervised by Dr. Kimmel.

Testings. If you are concerned about your child’s school placement for the next school year, this would be a good time to have them evaluated. Recent questions from parents have ranged from should their child be retained to whether they are gifted to whether they have a disability that can qualify for accommodations at school. Our practice does different types of evaluations to help answer those questions and information about these evaluations can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel who would be happy to answer them.

Qualified Supervisor. Dr. Joel Kimmel has been certified by the State of Florida to supervise mental health counselors seeking supervision to meet the licensing requirements. If you or anyone you know needs a qualified supervisor to meet these requirements, contact Dr. Kimmel for further information.

Handouts from previous e-Letters can be found on our website. We invite you to read and download them if desired.

FOR THOSE WITH POST ELECTION DISAPPOINTMENT!

Our E-Letter this month focuses on the understanding of disappointment and how people can be depressed as a result of the 2012 election. Disappointment, in general, is the feeling of dissatisfaction that occurs when hopes and expectations fail to happen. It is a subjective response that is determined by many factors including the expectation of rewards. The greater the hope, the greater the anticipation, and the more critical the reward, the greater the disappointment when it doesn’t happen.

The results of disappointment vary greatly among people although it can lead to depression, panic, frustration, blame, and dwelling on the outcome. Some avenues that lead to disappointment include being a perfectionist, being overconfident of the victory, setting goals that are not based in reality, inflexibility, and catastrophizing.

The 2012 election has been very heated and passionate. Lies, slander, spinning, and attacks have been leveled by both sides. Fears of future calamities constantly bombarded us through never ending television and internet ads. Numerous robocalls insured that we were deluged with fears of what could happen if the other side won. Social media allowed us to participate in the political process by voting “like” or by tweeting. Never before have there been so many polls and pundits predicting victory for their side. In short, it was impossible not to take sides and remain without worry or fear.

We moved from spectators to participants in this election process. We were part of whatever team. The greater our involvement, the greater our disappointment when our candidates lost. For these individuals, disbelief set in followed by anxiety. Fears become excessive with catastrophizing about how our nation will change. But being disappointed and dwelling on the election losses only leads to depression.

Here are some suggestions to deal with election disappointment. Accept the losses and move forward. It helps to talk about one’s feelings and to keep things in perspective. Don’t dwell on what happened or what could have happened. Rather, be active. Refuse to feel defeated and plan positive steps for the next election. Commit to volunteering and seeing friends. Exercise regularly and eat well. Realize that all is not truly lost and enjoy not having to listen to any more attacking campaign ads. Finally, seek professional help if you cannot overcome your disappointment.

We offer the following information on Post Election Disappointment:

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed— Michael Jordan

What to Know!

  • Disappointment after this year’s election had very strong reactions from many people
  • Disappointment occurs precisely because we care; not feeling any disappointment at all is impossible
  • Disappointment generally occurs when our expectations aren’t met, when things don’t go the way we planned or wanted, or what we fear actually happens
  • Disappointment can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, dissatisfaction, stress, and powerlessness; it can also affect our eating and sleeping patterns
  • Disappointment can lead to dwelling on the situation or being preoccupied with thinking about the situation that did not work out the way we wanted
  • Disappointment is a normal part of life and will affect everybody at some time
  • When disappointed, we usually feel let down, sad, disillusioned, hopeless, defeated
  • The greater are our feelings of disappointment the more important we think something is or the more we want it
  • Often our thoughts and hopes are not in line with reality and our expectations can be too high for the situation especially after listening to too many pundits and pollsters
  • Post election disappointment occurs when the issues and people we believe in and hope will win do not and we are powerless to do anything about it
  • Post election disappointment is greater when:
    • we believe our issues are critical and we fear what could happen
    • we intensely dislike the opponents
    • we feel very personally involved
    • we participate in the election process through contributions, campaigning, etc.
    • we are polarized and feel like we are competing with the other side
    • we believe that our lives will change radically
  • In reality, the outcomes of elections are out of our control; all you can do is vote and try to convince others

What to Do!

  • Stop dwelling on the results and redirect your thinking
  • Accept your disappointment and refocus on the future
  • Refuse to feel defeated and plan positive steps for the next election two years away
  • Don’t give in to pessimism and think that all is lost; regroup and recommit
  • Don’t personalize events not in your control
  • Learn to think positively and take constructive actions
  • Reduce stress and disappointment by keeping things in perspective and volunteering
  • Rejoice that you won’t receive any more phone calls or be deluged with campaign ads
  • Relax by going out, taking a walk, being with friends, and stay away from politics
  • Seek professional help if you cannot overcome your disappointment and if you continue to feel depressed, pessimistic, and defeated

We Can Help!

Call us at (954) 755-2885 or email us at drkimmel@kimmelpsychology.com

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates
5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101
Coral Springs, Florida 33067

As always, we would like to welcome new readers to our e-Letter. We hope that you find it informational and enjoyable. We invite you to share this e-Letter with others. If you have received this from a fellow reader, please send us your email address to include you on our list.

Ask the Doc

GM writes: I have a 15 year old son who spends all of his time by himself. He told me that he has friends in school and is always playing videogames at home all weekend. But, he calls no one and no one calls him. He says it doesn’t bother him not going out to parties or the movies. I think he needs to socialize and do things with others. What do you think?

Dr. Joel Kimmel replies: Yes it is very important that your son has and sees friends. It’s not necessary for him to have many but he should have some. Friends serve many functions for a person. Not only is it enjoyable to be with others but it allows for (most of the time) a reduction in stress. People often report that they enjoy going to the movies or eating out more when they do it with a friend. Friends also provide support and caring during tough times. And most importantly, having friends means that you are not alone.

Having friends during adolescence is also quite important because it gives an opportunity to develop relationship skills. It can be an experimental time when we learn how to get along with others. It is a time to see what happens when a person is loving, sarcastic, selfish, caring, etc. and how others react to these roles. We also can learn what we can do to help others when they may need support.

Of concern is your son’s videogaming. What we have often seen is that videogames can become addictive and become the focus of a teenager’s life. They may play with teams whose members are all around the world or who may be in their school. In any event, they function in an unreal online community where they do have some relationship, usually competitive. However, that world is not real and little may actually be known about who they communicate with.

Your son may be suffering from shyness and insecurity. He would benefit from having at least one friend who would call him and try to get him out of the house. You may have to help arrange finding a friend and pushing him out of the home. Limiting his computer time would help but would probably draw a strong reaction from your son. Getting him to participate in school activities and community service may also help him to interact with others.

If he has strong insecurity concerns and worries about what people think of him, that they don’t like him, or he is being bullied, it would be helpful for him to see a professional counselor.

Email of the Month

We would like to thank Paul L. for sending us the following email:

                                                      Leadership and the Janitor!

William “Bill” Crawford was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor. While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades, and room inspections — or never — ending leadership classes—Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory.

Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, “G’morning!” in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties. Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job — he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours.

Maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn’t happen very often. Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. For whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the squadron.

That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story. On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy.

William Crawford’s Medal of Honor Citation. The words on the page leapt out at me, “in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire… with no regard for personal safety… on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.” It continued, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States…”

“Holy cow,” I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor recipient.” We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt on our faces. He stared at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, “Yep, that’s me.” Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once, we both stuttered, “Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?” He slowly replied after some thought, “That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.” I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to.

After that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our squadron. Those who had before left a mess for the “janitor” to clean up, started taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron functions. He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin. Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates.

Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger “good morning” in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more.

As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, “Good luck, young man.” With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed.

Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado, one of four Medal of Honor recipients who lived in the small town of Pueblo.

A wise person once said, “It’s not life that’s important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference.” Bill was one who made a difference for me. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons, and I think of him often.

Please continue to send us your comments, questions, and favorite emails for our e-Letter.

Till December…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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Copyright © 2014 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates.