The slow unraveling of our minds in the age of Trump.
To be an American during the Trump administration is to suffer a nearly constant state of anxiety. We are dealing with heart arrhythmias, dry mouth, sweaty palms. We are feeling paranoid. We don’t trust what he read, or what we hear on the news.
Hell, we aren’t even convinced that we can trust our own eyes anymore.
We live in fear, all day long. Checking the news has become an obsession, even though doing so raises our blood pressure and increases our heart rates.
We know that we need to log off of Twitter. We understand that Reddit will only make us more upset. CNN? Instant heart palpitations. Fox? Just shoot me now.
But we HAVE to check. Like, every 3 minutes, we HAVE. TO. CHECK. THE. NEWS.
Did anything blow up while I was away? Did any more members of the administration get arrested? Did anyone else quit to “spend more time with my family”?
Has war broken out in the past few minutes, and are there nukes involved? How bout chemical weapons? If so, did they have USA stamped on their sides?
Has Trump mocked, insulted, and attacked any new helpless victims today?
Of course, anxiety is only the tip of our mental breakdown iceberg.
We also need to address our sense of endless rage.
Many of us who abhor the current administration self-identify as liberals. Progressives. Snowflake, bleeding heart, give-everyone-a-chance lefties. You know us. We are the people who try incredibly hard to see both sides of every situation. We give the criminal the benefit of the doubt, wondering about his early life.
But. Here we are. A huge, huge, HUGE number of bleeding heart, open-minded, love everyone liberals, who absolutely hate, loathe, detest, and despise the president of our country. This whole “You are a terrible waste of human DNA” thing is contrary to everything we represent.
Yet here we are.
Reading Trump’s latest remarks on the Syrian massacre, where he tells his followers that you have to “Let the kids fight it out on the playground” makes us rush to our bathrooms to vomit.
We look at the pictures of dying, bombed, chemically attacked babies and we weep.
And this makes us look back once again at our border with Mexico. Where children are dying because Trump and his pals refuse to give flu shots. Where tiny babies are denied breast milk because the Trump policy is to separate kids from their parents.
And we find ourselves so overcome with rage that we wake up at 3 AM from dreams of strangling our President with a scarf knitted by someone’s Abuela.
This is all a constant drain on our productivity. It gets in the way of our relationships (“Wait, you voted for him?????). It stops us in our tracks as we try to move through our daily lives.
For me, the cost of Trumpopathology is beyond measure. I take care of my grandkids every day, while their parents are working. I set them up with paints and paper and glue. I smile and encourage and talk about fall crafts!
Then I sneak into the kitchen to check the latest tweets on my phone. I hate the fact that I do it, but…..I feel a deep, desperate need to check on the news. I mean, Do I need to boot up the solar generator yet? No? Ok……
The cost of my Trumpopathology is that I wake up at 3 am, bathed in sweat. No, this is not menopause (way past that, kids). It isn’t fear about what is happening to my children.
No. I wake up at 3 AM and think, “You actually refused to help Ukraine until they played into your delusions??? Seriously????”
I wake up at 3 AM, and I take my phone into the bathroom. While I relieve my middle aged lady bladder, I also feel an irrefutable call to check on the news. Who did Trump alienate now? Are we at war yet? Which international leaders are laughing at us publicly today?
I check my phone. See that for once the man in charge is either asleep or too confused to tweet. I crawl back to bed.
My first thought, as I wake up in the actual morning, is “What the FUCK has that idiot done now?”
I sit up, rub my hands over my face, and pat my dogs.
Then I settle into a new day of anxiety, paranoia, fear for the future and endless checking of the news.
I believe, with my whole heart, that this is a new and serious mental illness. I am waiting for the American Psychological Association to label it.
Until then, I will continue to treat my own illness with endless checks of the news, dishes of very good ice cream, and martinis before bed.