PEST being “post-election selection trauma.”
A staffer for a congressional Democrat who came up short on Tuesday reports that a team of about five people stopped by their offices this morning to talk about payroll, benefits, writing a résumé, and so forth, with staffers who are now job hunting.
But one of the staffers was described as a “counselor” to help with the emotional aspect of the loss — and a section in the packet each staffer was given dealt with the stages of grief (for instance, Stage One being anger, and so on).
“It was like it was about death,” the staffer said. “It was bizarre.” The staffer did say the portions about the benefits and résumé writing were instructive.
The teams weren’t sent by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Two people have suggested it may have been the Clerk’s Office or Human Resources.
Hey – don’t be surprised. Remember that something similar also happened in 2004:
Some supporters of John Kerry shocked by President Bush’s victory in last week’s election continue to seek out psychological help, prompting at least one mental-health center to offer free counseling through the end of this year.
The Florida-based American Health Association has released symptoms of what it calls “post-election selection trauma,” or PEST, which include: feelings of withdrawal, feelings of isolation, emotional anger and bitterness, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, nightmares, pervasive moodiness including endless sulking, and being excessively worried about the direction of the country.
“Post-election selection trauma affects many people and they have a right to be taken seriously and to seek counseling,” psychotherapist Rob Gordon of the AHA told the Boca Raton News. “This is a real need and we’re a charity. This is not a matter of Republicans and Democrats.”
Some 30 people have reportedly contacted Gordon’s group for counseling since Kerry conceded the race to Bush Nov. 3, and more than a dozen others in Palm Beach County have undergone intense hypnotherapy by trauma specialist Douglas Schooler.
“The problem is out there and it’s not going to go away anytime soon,” Schooler told the paper. “Conservatives are calling me to say these people are weak-kneed kooks, but they’re not acknowledging that this is a normal psychological response to a severe and disillusioning situation. Any suggestion that this is not a serious problem arises from a political agenda. The Republicans don’t want this talked about.”
Other counselors, like Nancy Tabet of Delray Beach, Fla., are finding similar concerns among clients.
“It’s interesting to me that people in Palm Beach County, because they vote for Kerry and thoroughly expected him to win, are in somewhat of a disbelief stage,” she said. “We talk it out in our sessions and I help them realize there are people who share their viewpoint and who are there for them throughout this ordeal.”
I could not make this up even if I tried really, really hard.