Post-Election Depression: How to Cope

It's over. Nov. 5 has come, and no matter whom you were rooting for, many political animals say the day after an election can bring on a special sort of blues. The bored kind.

"It's almost kind of a surreal feeling. For us, it's like going 90 mph to nothing. You're working 20- to 22-hour days with no sleep, nothing to eat. By the time you wake up the next day, you're just trying to figure out what happened," said Sarah Huckabee, who worked as a senior aide during the presidential campaign of her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

When her father's campaign ended during the Republican primaries, Huckabee said she felt more than a sense of loss.

"It felt like it didn't hit us until a couple of weeks later when we were like, 'Uh, what do we do now?' You don't know how to have a normal life anymore," said Huckabee, who is now the executive director for Huck PAC, a GOP campaigning organization in Washington, D.C.

"Getting back to the real world is probably one of the hardest things," she said.

Life may not have changed for most Americans as much life changed for the daughter of a candidate, but post-election blues can hit many who made an investment in the 2008 campaigns.

The Spectators vs. the Fighters

"For 90 percent of the people it's going to be like getting behind your sports team where family members gloat: My team won and yours didn't," said Dr. Andrew Harper, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

"But, some may actually have more to lose," Harper said. "The more resources invested -- whether it's financial or time -- those individuals are going to be more significantly affected."

For some, future careers aspects can depend on the outcome of Election Day, which makes the post-election boring, as well as depressing.

Excitement in the Political Race

Campaigners in the Washington State gubernatorial race knew the outcome would be close.

Polls were tight and the two contenders, Democrat Chris Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi, ran against each other in a record-breaking close election four years ago. In that race, Gregoire was the winner by just 133 votes out of the 2.8 million cast, according to reporting from the Seattle Times.

"I love politics, and I feel passionate about it. It becomes a 24-7 in many ways," Gregoire campaign spokeswoman Debra Carnes said. "We've made nearly a million phone calls and knocked on thousands of doors. You're constantly strategizing, and looking ahead."

Carnes said she actually has no plans for herself after Election Day, when she will get her life back from campaign strategy.

"I'll probably get a good night's sleep, but then I'm not sure from there," she said.

Carnes counterpart on the Rossi campaign, Jill Strait, had remarkably similar sentiments.

"It's been an intense campaign right from the start and it's pretty much been 12-, 14-, 16-hour days seven days a week in the past few months," Strait said.

"You know what you're getting into when you sign up for a race that's so close and competitive, and the excitement is part of it," she said. "I'll be bored when it's over, definitely; I won't what to do with myself."

Not true for Adam Brickley, a recent college graduate who started the blog Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President in late February 2007. Political pundits and analysts have widely credited his efforts as one of several catalysts that led to her nomination.

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