Thursday, June 22, 2006
Most people will experience some of the symptoms of Post Columbus Stress Syndrome (PCSS) in the days and weeks following General Convention, but the symptoms generally decrease over time and eventually disappear.
PCSS is diagnosed only if any or all of the following symptoms last more than forty-eight hours:
-Persistent frightening thoughts and memories of General Convention
-An irrational fear of the color purple
-Flashbacks (images, sounds, smells, or feelings), especially of committee hearings and the House of Deputies
-Avoiding people, places, situations that are associated with General Convention, especially people wearing black or hearing the words "Windsor Process"
-Emotional numbness or detachment, a certain vacant look in the eye especially when someone says the words "Windsor Process"
-Inability to stop blogging, even when there is nothing to say.
-Nightmares, including the repetition of the words "substitute to the amendment to the substitute of the resolution"
-Sleep problems (sleep? what is sleep?)
-Constantly checking T19 and Stand Firm for updates 24 hours a day
-Depression, especially over the fact one has no idea who is in the World Cup
-Being easily startled (do not say "Frank" in a loud voice)
-Loss of interest in things once enjoyed (what is blogging?)
-Irritability (especially when hearing the phrase "Windsor Process")
-Difficulty concentrating (especially finding oneself blogging at the Safeway in the produce section)
-Constant worrying, especially about the Canadians
-Regressive behavior (i.e., acting younger than their age) - can we say the word "pirate?"
-You have hallucinations (visions of Matt Kennedy in an Elf Suit madly typing in the dark)
-Physical problems (e.g., headaches, stomach aches) - one word: Tums.
How can the recovering PCSS person be helped?
Being emotionally detached after General Convention is not a healthy response. Mourning over blown-out severs and frozen laptops is unhealthy and causes stress with interpersonal relationships. Walking around the house and suddenly blurting out words like "evolutionary" and "process" and "listening" and "space" and "Mother Jesus" without being asked is sick. This emotional distancing stuffs the feelings inside, shuts out those who can give help and support, and puts the individual at greater risk for developing PCSS Stage II (don't ask).
Family and friends can give support and comfort by listening to PCSS recovering persons talk about their experiences and feelings very soon after General Convention (GC). The National Association of School Psychologists suggests that PCSS persons process their emotions and reactions to General Convention within 24 hours to 36 hours following GC adjournment in order to prevent PCSS Stage II.
Occasionally, PCSS doesn't show up until months or even years after General Convention. Recovery is influenced by early detection, intervention, and treatment (including cognitive-behavioral therapy and group therapy). Friends and relatives play a vital role in getting this help and support for those recovering from PCSS.