Is there a reason I haven’t added to this blog since Feb 2018 (Valentine’s Day) and before that, the last blog post since October 2017 (Halloween) ? Why yes, I think there is… There’s been a big boulder parked in front of my mind and soul, a hulking impediment to my being, my freedom of expression, my creativity, and my willingness to put myself out there in regards to anything at all. That big boulder blocks whatever’s in there that wants to come out (pointing to my head). And it’s been internalized, ready to wreak havoc on my mind and body.
I have known for some time that I need to address it. If for no other reason, because it’s been close to impossible to address anything else in the wake of its being jimmied up there, to shut me up. So try as I might to find the cracks around it, to spill out anything socially acceptable, I have failed. It’s there, stuck, a permanent fixture of my days these days. It’s been rolled up there slowly, since November 2016. I can’t say I know when the job was complete, almost totally blocking my voice, by 98% or so. But I now have to seep through the tiny cracks along the sides anyway. I have to talk about it. I’m hoping it will push that massive thing back a few more centimeters, give me some breathing space. Let me out, dammit!
Why Do I feel this way?
So what do I credit for this condition? It’s not that I wasn’t previously a damaged soul, with a few odd neuroses here and there and depressions that came and went. But I had always moved forward inch by inch anyway and had many good days despite all of my “pre-existing conditions”. I found things to enjoy about life anyway. So what happened?
The Trump administration. Bit by bit (every day) it showed its ugly colors, eclipsing all my previously-expressed fears. Who knew it could be worse than even I had thought? The only good so far, that I can tell, is that it provided a reason for many millions of Americans to re-think their patriotism and what it means to love your country, to re-think their own values and what they now think their leaders should be and should stand for in their leadership. And what’s loosely-called “The Resistance” has grown, but has proven to be very exhausting for many of us.
How long can you go on fighting “the new swamp” before you realize the people who should be listening aren’t, and the ones who are already with you don’t need to be told again why something the Trump administration is doing is wrong? 60% of us already know. What about the other 40%? – I’m now convinced they are people that fundamentally think differently about life in general. They “resonate” with punitive approaches, authoritarianism, and the idea that keeping some people down lifts you up in some way, and that being judgmental of people different from yourself has some sort of utility, and for some, that ridiculing them will serve some purpose. I have never thought that way. I don’t “get it” and don’t want to get it.
So back to the exhaustion of it all… the Trump Depressive Disorder or Trump Anxiety Disorder, or whatever the hell they call it now. You can ridicule me but I know it’s real. I currently suffer from it. I’m not asking that it be added to the Medical Encyclopedias or that I be prescribed meds for it. I’m just saying it exists. And some quick internet searches tell me that this is a real thing with other people too. We have lost what we felt America was all about, the advances we have made towards a fairer, more just, more responsible nation are being chipped away. We have lost a leader for our country: I cannot characterize what is happening in this country as “leadership.” So the rug has been pulled out from under most of Americans. The solid ground we thought we were standing on is gone. For now anyway. And the prospect of wobbling about on shaky ground for the rest of a presidential term in office, or an additional term, silently witnessing the chaos, is horrifying. I just want some solid ground so I can go on with my life unimpeded by the boulder. But most of us in America are very worried about how long we can “give Trump a chance.” He lost some of us very quickly, but we’ve all been wobbling about ever since, a depressing damper on our days and nights.
But the other prong of this condition is what it does to our personal lives. How it affects what we once thought about the people in our lives that we liked and loved. The hate and divisiveness coming from the president and his cronies has spewed a poison into our lives. I have discovered it can still be sort of “fine” or “ok” with those people that think differently than myself… as long as I don’t talk about it. Just place a big old boulder instead. Talk about nice things… like Halloween or Valentines Day, cute kitties and doggies, what I ate today, manicures and pedicures, or even “what I did on my vacation.” But DON’T talk about Trump. And don’t criticize their new Messiah.
Well, I can’t live like that. I can’t breathe like that. And that’s part of the reason why I left my midwestern home a long time ago. I always craved communication, discourse, learning new things, seeing new places, meeting new kinds of people, finding avenues to grow, and most of all, learning how to support myself independently. My midwestern home life was all about “the surface” and staying on the surface, not digging, not delving into the real things or the hard things, not talking about important stuff. Just skim along the surface, don’t ask too may questions. And if something bad is going on, don’t talk about it any more than is absolutely necessary. And to be precise, according to my family, very little of “the bad stuff” is necessary to talk about. Suck it up and add it to the boulder in front of your mouth. “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
So I moved to California way back when, and have been here ever since, slowly developing a sense of what is possible in life and with our country. This state has been a land of opportunity for me and for others. A place where it wasn’t so weird to be the kind of person I was. And yes, as if you haven’t figured it out, I’m a Democrat. I will tell you that. No secret. Neither political party is perfect, but I could never be a Republican. I just don’t think that way.
But “Keeping Up With the Resistance”? That should be a sitcom. – But ratings would be bad, 40% of the country wouldn’t watch it, including some of my friends and relatives. It can be depressing and exhausting. I applaud those who do keep it up however. There’s no other choice but to keep talking about our disagreements on what direction the country should be taking, what things are being ignored, swept under the rug, or are just plain immoral or illegal. But it’s sad our country is wasting so much time and energy, when we could be moving forward rather than backward. And I don’t call spending our tax money on “Walls” and “Space Forces” moving forward. Hey – did you know that more people are now entering the U.S. illegally from the Canadian border than from the Mexican border (those stats are said to be skyrocketing)? Betcha didn’t know that. Where’s the outcry for a Canadian border wall? Oh wait, I’m sure it must be next on the agenda. But I say the evolution of the human species or their migration patterns are not likely to be successfully walled in. But maybe if we put walls on our beaches too and a dome overhead. All of that might do it. For awhile.
Last thoughts, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment
Anyway, I gotta wrap this rant up a little. Suffice it to say, the Trump administration has actually caused mental and emotional trauma to real people in this country – to the extent that psychotherapists and psychiatrists are trying to figure out how to deal with it in their practices. Distressed clients are coming in talking about Trump. And some health care providers even feel the need to disclose to their patients what their political affiliation is, in case the patient would rather see a therapist or mental health professional that shares their political beliefs. I call that pretty strange. It never happened in any previous administration. You just saw any old therapist as long as you felt it was helping you. Now the divisiveness is so bad, they have to address whether different political beliefs might affect the therapy! So, yes, it’s a real thing.
And the Symptoms of this disorder are being talked about: depression, anxiety, feeling stressed, lack of focus, sleep disorders, and aggravation of other disorders like high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease, eating disorders, the list goes on and on. Treatment: If you may be suffering from this disorder, see the How To Cope article below. Try to fight those feelings of hopelessness, keep talking, but also get outside more and enjoy nature, and the cute kitties and doggies.
Following is a list of some articles I found about this topic, in case any readers are interested. And as always, I welcome any Likes or Comments (from real people please, not Troll-Bots sponsored by the Kremlin).
Trump Anxiety Disorder: Is Trump Literally Making Us Sick?, by Catherine Giordano, Soapboxie, Dec. 30, 2017.
What’s Trump Doing in Your Therapy Room? by Bella DePaulo PhD, Psychology Today, Jun 7, 2018.
How to Cope With Trump Anxiety, by Steven Stony, PhD, Psychology Today, Apr 22, 2017.
Trump Trauma & White American Anxiety, Tonya Tko Vlog, YouTube, July 8, 2018.
The Difference Between Honesty and Truth, by Jeremy E Sherman PhD, Psychology Today, Aug. 1, 2018.