aNewDomain — This is personal, but I am going to be completely transparent with you: I am seeing a therapist.
It isn’t the first time I’ve seen a counselor. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed about it at all. More people should seek help when they need it. I found it helpful every time I did it.
But this time is different. This time the situation is unique — or so I thought.
I’m in therapy, you see, because I am consumed by fear about my personal well-being, the country and the world as a whole now that Donald J. Trump is in the White House.
This isn’t hyperbole. It isn’t just me being a sore loser. The fear I’m experiencing is real. It’s overwhelming. And it’s consuming much of my emotional energy.
Maybe this situation has more meaning for me because I’m a Jew. Like a lot of Jewish kids, I grew up hearing about the Holocaust — how it happened and how it could happen again to Jews or someone else if we didn’t keep our eyes open.
But I never thought it could happen in our lifetimes here in the United States — until now.
So this week I had my first my appointment. I was immediately surprised to learn my situation isn’t as unique as I thought. Many of their patients have similar concerns, my therapist said, pointing out that the emotional response all of us are experiencing is similar to grief and loss.
He was right. Just a bit of research reveals that plenty of psychologists now are talking about an uptick in clients seeking treatment for what they call “post-election anxiety.”
That’s not much consolation. But I will say that, after just that one session, I already feel I am coping better.
Just one session seems to be helping me cope, which is great.
To be clear, I’ve voted for candidates who didn’t end up winning before. And there have been times when I was a 100 percent sure that the one who did get elected was a bad choice.
But never have I experienced such real fear around an election. I fear for the future of my country. I fear for my own life.
Why am I revealing such personal stuff ?
Well, I guess I’m hoping that sharing this story might help you feel less alone in all this. It might even help you deal with it — or help you heal.
It might help you know, I think, that psychologists were beginning to note a rise in patients whomonths before the primary and long anyone thought Trump could even win the election,
The day after the election, it seemed to me that about 57 percent of my fellow Americans woke up in a state of severe depression. Fear is common, too, according to Washington psychologist Alison Howard. She says that the root of lot of it is how Trump seems to ignore social mores yet is somehow allowed “to get away with it.”
“We’ve been told our whole lives not to say bad things about people, to not be bullies, to not ostracize people based on their skin color,” Howard told a reporter at RawStory. In the same piece, New York psychologist Mary Libee said therapists, too, are seeking help.
“It helps me to talk about it,” she said.
Throughout the campaign, she “was terrified he would win. His impulsivity, his incomplete sentences, his strange, squinty eyes — to my mind, he’s a loosely held together person.”
This is the first time we Americans have experienced anything like this.
My plan, moving forward, is to find something constructive into which I can channel my fears. I haven’t figured out just what that is yet.
I also want to avoid the news — and the fake news — about all this. But, as The New York Times’ Farhoo Manjoo noted yesterday, avoiding Donald Trump in any media format is practically impossible. According to stats compiled by MediaQuant, Trump got more coverage in January 2017 than the next 1,000 people on the list combined — including Hillary Clinton, Tom Brady, Kim Kardashian and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Even media that never covered politics is Trump-soaked. And forget TV. You can’t turn it on for even a few seconds without hearing all about the latest terrifying Trump developments.
I’ll be updating you on my progress. Wish me luck.
For aNewDomain, I’m Scott Jordan.