Election anxiety


With a few nights left to D-Day, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night haunted by what is to come. It's not my first election but 2022 seems so different. I toss and turn only to end up dozing off when the sun is about to rise. It took me a while to share this experience to a few friends and to my surprise, they were feeling it too.

According to the American Psychological Association, such feelings relate to election anxiety. It happens when a person becomes overwhelmed by the upcoming polls because of too much exposure to issues that surround it. This is the effect of too much social media, face-to-face discussion, and news about the different candidates who are vying to lead. When I asked my students if they were excited to vote on Monday, they also said they were going through the same thing.

What happens when one is anxious? Apart from difficulty resting, thinking straight becomes hard as fear starts to engulf the mind. There are different scenarios playing inside the brain where a person does not feel safe anymore. It also translates to physical effects such as shortness of breath and fatigue. The hassle of going through all this for a day.

There are many things that are currently running through my mind about the elections. One is its sanctity. Will the Comelec be able to hold true to its motto of protecting the ballot? No matter how many peace covenants will be signed by different parties and the authorities, it is always possible for the worst to happen. Which drives me to my second concern, security. How can we be so sure that supporters of one party or the other will be spared harassment? This may not just be physical harassment, but it could be online bullying. Lastly, I'm also concerned about press freedom.

It has been two years since giant network ABS-CBN was shut down by a cease and desist order which led to the denial of its franchise. If the next leader will use this as a weapon to threaten other media outlets, then the essence of democracy has ceased to exist. We would end up like the Japanese occupation period when newspapers that wanted to save their business had to become the mouthpiece of the government.

Yet, again, all these are just assumptions but could possibly happen in the next six years. Like many Filipinos who are sick and tired of poor governance, I am one in their cry of saying that we have long been lost. It is time we regain that victory again, that sense of pride of being a Filipino. We can't just achieve that with the promise of being united. There should be concrete steps and plans to make all this happen. When a clear direction is set for the better good, then we would be more than united.


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