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5 Ways Trump Is Mentally Torturing Us Now

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5 Ways Trump Is Mentally Torturing Us Now


Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

“I had more people crying in my office the day after the election than honestly I’ve had since the day after 9/11,” Dan Hartman, a Philadelphia-based psychiatrist, told Philly.com about his patients’ reactions to Donald Trump becoming president. Four months in, the wounds are still fresh, and the Trump administration, with its trampling of rights, unending legislative chaos and wholesale disregard for the truth, continues to cause millions of heart palpitations, insomniac nights and untreatable migraines.

The White House occupants also remain steadfastly committed to wreaking havoc on our mental states. As Republicans pushed an insurance bill that would have done lasting damage to Americans’ mental and behavioral health well-being, clinicians reported the psychic wages of the Trump war against U.S. citizens. “Add up the additional medications prescribed, extra ER visits, delayed procedures, missed work, plus the fallout from other illnesses being relegated to the back burner, and you have the makings of a major medical toll from this election,” Danielle Ofri, a physician at Bellevue Hospital and professor of medicine at New York University, warned at Slate.

So how exactly is Trump harming our mental states in this moment and for the foreseeable future? Here are five ways, representing just a drop in the bucket, if that bucket were dropped in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

1. Trump Anxiety Disorder

Months before election results came in, nearly a year ago exactly, massage therapists and mental health clinicians began reporting increases in patient anxiety specifically related to fears of a Trump presidency. In a Washington Post article from March 2016, a bipartisan cross-section of Trump Anxiety Disorder sufferers describe coping with panic attacks, insomnia and a cluster of other symptoms one woman rightly summed up as “not a pathological response to a normal situation, but a normal response to a pathological situation.” One therapist interviewed for the piece admitted she was wrestling with her own fright over the prospect of having Trump in the White House. “I’m terrified that he could win,” Mary Libbey, a New York City psychologist told the Post, nailing the horror that is now our reality. “His impulsivity, his incomplete sentences, his strange, squinty eyes — to my mind, he’s a loosely held-together person.”

Writing at Psychology Today, clinical therapist Jeremy Clyman offers advice with a heavy dose of reality: “This new Trump era brings with it a predictable and concrete increase in risk of societal incompetence which, in turn, will create greater sources of distress and injustice and more instances of avoidable harm and stunted progress for all, especially the disenfranchised,” Clyman writes. “In other words, this f**king sucks.”

He goes on to suggest “radical acceptance” of this “painfully harsh reality” as the first step to healing. The next step, according to Clyman, is “to channel [negative] emotions constructively.” He advises against “apathy, withdrawal or violent protest,” instead asserting the afflicted might be helped by “joining peaceful groups and organizations, dispassionate debates with others, and assertions of personal political power (e.g. vote, and blow up your congressman’s cell phone and email, etc.).”

2. The Trump 15

As the name implies, this is a lot like the freshman 15, but without any upsides like losing your virginity at the same time. The Trump 15 is the effect of emotional binge eating and drinking undertaken to blunt the pain caused by witnessing—in real time—the destruction of civilization by a treasonous conman, his band of alt-right ideologues and thieving billionaires, and 63 million accomplices whose voting habits are based in fear and spite. It helps in the short term. “Sugars and fats release opioids in our brains, meaning they basically mimic the effect of the active ingredients in cocaine, heroin and other narcotics,” writes Ivey DeJesus in an explainer of the Trump 15 phenomenon. “The calming, soothing effects we feel when we eat ice cream and mac and cheese are real.”

Art Markman, who teaches psychology at UT Austin, told DeJesus that the best way to curb your cupcake and booze cravings is to distract yourself with activities that make you feel like you have agency and control in this time of crisis and chaos. “Find a charity, nonprofit, or religious group that shares your values and volunteer,” Markman advises. “Help in the community.”

3. Trump Fatigue Syndrome

This one is so pervasive that even the American Conservative—an outlet founded by cranky bigot Pat Buchanan to fight radical liberal ideas like race-mixing and women drivers—dedicated a column to it, citing it as a result of the “outrageous things Trump does” which “are coming fast and furious.”

Vox more precisely summed up the condition as, “The exhaustion you feel from trying to stay on top of the nonstop scandals and absurdities emanating from the Trump administration. TFS, for short.”

It’s been suggested that TFS is an intentional outcome created by the Trump administration itself (i.e. President Bannon) to sap energy and quell dissent. In a viral Medium post thick with conspiracy thinking about the Muslim ban as a potential first step toward a coup, Yonatan Zunger posits that some White House policies are meant to rile up and wear down. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create ‘resistance fatigue,’” Zunger writes, essentially labeling it outrage-bait meant to create unsustainable cycles of anger, protest and burnout.

Using similar thinking, Vox’s Lee Drutman offers four simple tips to avoid the trap:

  • Pace yourself for a potentially long-term fight that may endure years.
  • Don’t pay attention to Trump’s attempts to hijack the narrative, redirect the conversation and distract from the issues that matter.
  • Watch your media consumption so that it doesn’t end up consuming you.
  • It’s okay to have downtime and not know every single bit of news as it emerges in real time.

4. Post-Trump Election Trauma, aka Trump Trauma, aka Post-Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder

Psychotherapist Enrico Gnaulati writes that following Trump’s election, he was “inundated with clients using therapy time to process their shock, disbelief, dismay, and outrage.” Writing in Vox, therapist Betty Teng describes heartbreaking interactions with patients who endured Trump campaign violence against people of color, women, queer and trans folks and religious minorities, and were seized by fear following his election. One patient told Teng that having “four out of six identity markers Trump will target—Arab, gay, immigrant, and woman,” she didn’t “feel safe walking around anymore.” Another decided not to report her own sexual assault, so traumatized was she by the realization that a man who boasts about criminal sex acts could win the Electoral College. “I recognized these responses…as symptoms of traumatic shock, the possible harbingers of post-traumatic stress disorder,” Teng notes.

A number of psychologists suggest the intensity and mass scale of psychological unease, fear and anxiety caused by Trump’s election makes the presidency a site of collective trauma. Sociologist Neil Gross, writing in the New York Times, writes that the concept “occurs when an unexpected event severs the ties that bind community members to one another.” The presidential election according to Gross, “has collective trauma written all over it.”

In nearly every case, clinicians recommend connection, self-care and political pushback—as well as Vitamin B, complex carbohydrates and protein—as the remedy for what Trump ails. “We all need to be gentle with each other and curious about each other’s experiences,” Jason Evan Mihalko, a Massachusetts psychologist, told the Boston Globe.

5. Trump-Related Bullying

A Southern Poverty Leadership Conference report released in April 2016 documented a precipitous rise in bullying among K-12 students. Muslims, Latinos and students of color reported being increasingly targeted by white students who, tracing a familiar pattern, were emboldened by racist parents, who were themselves emboldened by Trump’s racism and xenophobia.

Since the election, the SPLC conducted another survey of 10,000 educators and administrators. “Ninety percent of educators report that school climate has been negatively affected [by the election], and most of them believe it will have a long-lasting impact,” researchers conclude. “A full 80 percent describe heightened anxiety and concern on the part of students worried about the impact of the election on themselves and their families.”

Trump’s election has exacerbated the frequency of racist attacks in schools, which can have deeply consequential, life-altering effects on students. Researchers Ebony McGee and David Stovall developed the term “weathering” to describe the “cumulative effects of living in a society characterized by white dominance and privilege,” which “produces a kind of physical and mental wear-and-tear that contributes to a host of psychological and physical ailments” on those who are targeted. The consequences include “anxiety, stress, depression and thoughts of suicide, as well as a host of physical ailments like hair loss, diabetes and heart disease.”

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.



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  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 26, 2017

    No doubt about it—Trump is a major cancer that is aggressive and hard to ignore. But, talking in a positive way with groups in communities on a personal level, is extremely helpful, more so when the group looks beyond politics. Partisan politics is an especially unstable element, and with a combination of bigotry, and strong rigid insularity, you have a volatile mix—so, it’s important to think about the root causes, ignore the politics, and acknowledge but not concentrate on symptoms.
    By divorcing ourselves from the expected “us versus them” approach, we are in a position to start moving away from the ancient tribalist approach so much favored by the GOP, Trump, and his racist friends and associates.

    But the strongest agent which deters and protects those bonded to it is Religion—those Religions sent from that unknowable Essence often called God(“Allah” in Arabic, “Yahweh” in Hebrew, and what not). Since all the Religions originate from the same Source, there can be no contradictions between them except in non-essential ways, and which would be problematic only for minds that can’t penetrate the veils of different names for the various religions sent over the eons.

    Religion—not Trump, the GOP, the Democrats, nor Putin—is the means to resolve emphatically the ailment of today, and Trump is a detriment not only to the world, but to himself as well, which he’ll be made aware of, in this life, and again in the life to come.

  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 26, 2017

    Regarding the importance and efficacy of Religion, consider the following, and think simultaneously of the havoc being wreaked across America, in this, the Era of The Trump.

    “O YE children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity. This is the straight Path, the fixed and immovable foundation. Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure. Our hope is that the world’s religious leaders and the rulers thereof will unitedly arise for the reformation of this age and the rehabilitation of its fortunes. Let them, after meditating on its needs, take counsel together and, through anxious and full deliberation, administer to a diseased and sorely-afflicted world the remedy it requires…. It is incumbent upon them who are in authority to exercise moderation in all things. Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence. Consider for instance such things as liberty, civilization and the like. However much men of understanding may favourably regard them, they will, if carried to excess, exercise a pernicious influence upon men…. Please God, the peoples of the world may be led, as the result of the high endeavours exerted by their rulers and the wise and learned amongst men, to recognize their best interests. How long will humanity persist in its waywardness? How long will injustice continue? How long is chaos and confusion to reign amongst men? How long will discord agitate the face of society? The winds of despair are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divideth and afflicteth the human race is daily increasing. The signs of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing order appeareth to be lamentably defective.”

    I realize the above statement by Baha’u’llah will upset, anger, and confuse the minds of those who delight in being the “bats” of human society, blinded by conceit, bigotry, and the love of being belligerent and divisive. But that’s their tough luck—they’ll just have to grin and bear it, and kindly step aside.

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  4. Dapper Dan March 26, 2017

    Trump the name itself just makes me feel ill ???? He’s a parasite on our society and must be extracted like a cancerous tumor. If we don’t we the patient America will die otherwise

  5. BDD1951 March 26, 2017

    My brother just forwarded today’s column by Maureen Dowd. It’s in the NY Times. If you can get it you need to read it.

    1. Independent1 March 26, 2017

      Actually, the mental illness is in Trump and his whole family, and this article about Trump thinking he has superior genes to everyone proves it!!!

      Donald Trump is clearly psychopath who needs mental treatment badly:

      Shocking video of Trump explaining his dangerous theory that people like him have superior genes

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 26, 2017

        Trump’s history is well documented on youtube, as you’re showing a sample of. I’ve burned a few onto DVD and find it fascinating to see the evolution of a unique sociopath in the annals of psychological disorders.
        Definitely a special abnormality unmatched by any garden-variety narcissist.

    2. Independent1 March 26, 2017

      And there are already at least 5 classes of Trump supporters who are already realizing that Donald Trump lied profusely and in is in no way to follow through on his campaign promises and therefore he will not support their lives!!

      See this from a Care2 article:

      Trump Voters Who Have Realized The President Doesn’t Have Their Backs

      With President Donald Trump facing record low favorability ratings, it’s not just the people who voted against the man in November that are unhappy with him. Trump promised a lot of things during his campaign that he either couldn’t or didn’t intend to follow through with, leaving some of his own supporters disappointed with his actions. Below are the stories of five Trump voters who have already been burned by the president’s initial policies. Rather than resorting to cries of “I told you so,” let’s bear in mind that a lot of these voters are people who have previously felt disregarded by elected officials, only to have their hopes dashed once again after believing in the change Trump advertised. It’s up to you whether or not you want to feel compassion for these individuals, but it’s important for all Americans to recognize how quickly Trump has turned his back on his own supporters, and decide whether or not that’s a quality we can tolerate in our commander in chief.

      1. A Meals on Wheels Recipient

      56-year-old Linda Preast joined the Meals on Wheels program two years ago after a stroke left her with limited mobility. She says she was surprised when she learned that Donald Trump’s budget proposal included slashing federal funding for the very program she counts on to bring her a warm nutritious lunch five days a week. (Meals on Wheels also relies on local funding and private donations to stay in operation.)

      Along with the majority of her neighbors in Jones County, Georgia, Preast admits that she did cast her vote for Donald Trump in November. “I was under the influence that he was going to help us,” she told a reporter with CBS News. Preast suggested that Trump consider what he’d do if it were his mother in her position. Meanwhile, Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, argued that cutting Meals on Wheels was “one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

      2. A Wife of an Immigrant Who Wanted the “Bad” Ones Out

      Despite being married to a man who entered the country illegally two decades ago, Helen Beristain decided to vote for Trump anyway. During the campaign season, she knew that Trump was threatening to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants, but she took him at his word that he would be focusing on the “bad hombres” and that the good immigrants could stay. “We don’t want to have cartels here, you don’t want to have drugs in your high schools, you don’t want killers next to you,” said Helen, explaining the distinction between her husband and the type of immigrants she thought Trump would deport. “You want to feel safe when you leave your house… this is why I voted for Mr. Trump.” Just months later, Helen’s husband, Roberto, is about to be deported. Roberto is a small business owner and has a clean criminal record. American officials realized his undocumented status years ago when he unknowingly tried to cross the Canadian border. He was given two months to leave the U.S., but since his wife was pregnant, he decided to ignore the order.

      Sixteen years passed without intervention from immigration officials. Roberto wasn’t exactly hiding – in the interim he applied and received a social security card, work visa and driver’s license, and had annual check-ins with immigration officials. Now that Trump’s in office, though, the Beristain family is being torn apart.

      3. A Man Who Believed in a Better Health Care Plan

      Kraig Moss was no average Trump supporter – he was downright fanatical. He sold his business equipment so he could follow the then presidential candidate around the country to his various campaign rallies, all the while writing and performing songs about the man he idolized. At one of these rallies, he had a moment to connect with Trump. Moss broke down while
      discussing his son who died of a heroin overdose, and Trump comforted him.
      Throughout his campaign, Trump pledged to help people suffering from addiction.

      However, when the Trump-backed American Health Care Act finally came out;
      Moss discovered that the new plan would not be expanding addiction services. In fact, it actually stripped the requirement for states to provide addiction treatment to patients in need. Seeing what a mess this legislation is, Moss admits he now feels betrayed by the president. “The bill is an absolute
      betrayal of what Trump represented on the campaign trail,” he said. Rather than singing about the president, Moss is devoting his time to raising money for a drug rehabilitation center.

      4. A Drain the Swamp Supporter

      Teena Colebrook, a 59-year-old woman in southern California, was drawn to Trump’s campaign because of his promise to shake up D.C. by throwing millionaires out of politics. Not even a month after voting for Trump, she realized that his pledge a bunch of hooey based on his selection of Steven Mnunchin as Secretary of Treasury. It’s safe to say Colebrook was already familiar with Mnunchin. He owned OneWest, the bank that foreclosed on her property during the recession. She tried multiple times in vain to get her mortgage modified with the Treasury Department’s programs, but OneWest claimed to lose the paperwork and foreclosed on her anyway.

      Colebrook was one of thousands who lost her homes in foreclosures to the bank. She knows that if Trump were serious about draining the swamp, he wouldn’t have put a bunch of crooked bankers like Mnunchin on his cabinet. I just wish that I had not voted,” said Colebrook. “I have no faith in our government anymore at all. They all promise you the world at the end of a stick and take it away once they get it.”

      5. A Person Who Assumed the Muslim Ban Wouldn’t Apply to Her Loved Ones

      When Trump spoke of blocking Muslims from entering the country, it seems that Sarmad Assali, a Syrian American didn’t think that would have an impact on her and her family due to their Christian faith. However, when Trump’s maligned travel ban put a blanket ban on everyone coming from Syria, Assali had several family members – adults and children – who weren’t able to re-enter the United States from Syria. Assali, who voted for Trump in November, especially couldn’t imagine the travel restrictions would have any impact on her relatives since they have valid U.S. visas. Because there had been no prior warning, why would they expect to be detained and then flown back to Damascus?

      Assali still isn’t quite willing to say she regrets her vote, though she doesn’t believe what happened to her family is constitutional. “I am a supporter of the Constitution of the United States, and the freedom that we have here,” she said. “I don’t know what [the president’s] going to do next or if I support what he’s gonna do.”


      1. Godzilla March 26, 2017

        Oh My…..The copy and paste Queen strikes again. Everyone remember, if it’s on the internet, it must be true………………Your a DOLT. The Meals on Wheels story has already been thoroughly debunked….by Meals on Wheels. You need better sources. NON LIBERAL sites is a good start, they LIE to you boy, grow up!

        1. Independent1 March 26, 2017

          As usual the lizard is wrong with another nonsensical post.

          The meals-on-wheels debacle has not been debunked – only in the mentally midget minds like yours. Although M-O-W doesn’t get direct federal funding, it does get federal funding via the Older Americans Act and it’s more than likely Trump’s mindlessly ignorant budget cuts if approved would result in cutting M-O-W programs across the country.

          See this worthless:

          Here’s the truth about Meals on Wheels in Trump’s budget

          The truth: Trump’s budget calls for the elimination of one program that some of the nation’s 5,000 Meals on Wheels groups rely on: Community development block grants, a $3 billion program that started in the Ford administration to give states and cities more flexibility in how they combat poverty.

          “The budget will adversely impact older adults,” said Sandy Markwood, CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. “We just don’t know how much.”Here’s why. The majority of Meals on Wheels programs get most of their federal funding through the Administration for Community Living, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services that serves the elderly and disabled. That agency has a $227 million line-item for “home-delivered nutrition services.”

          Those programs are authorized though the Older Americans Act, a law so popular that its renewal passed Congress last year without any recorded opposition. And while Trump didn’t single out that specific program, Health and Human Services will receive a 16% across-the-board cut.

          “We’re very concerned. We’re concerned about the cuts that were explicit in the skinny budget, but we’re also concerned about what we see as the handwriting on the wall with the percentage cuts to HHS,” Markwood said. “Some of these details we won’t know for a while.”


    3. Independent1 March 26, 2017

      And even the press in foreign nations know that Donald Trump is mentally ill.

      ‘Malignant narcisissm’: Donald Trump displays classic traits of mental illness, claim psychologists

      More and more mental health experts are sharing their diagnoses to warn the public.


      And you clueless Trump supporters are just sitting back supporting a mentally ill president who could bring destruction even into your own lives.

      How clueless and irresponsible can you get?? You could very well be betraying even your own families and descendants.


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