How to Overcome Trump Induced Anxiety
I’m writing this for myself, and for anyone else who over the past week has had any type of built up anxiety and panic in regards to the recent actions of the Trump Administration. These next four years are going to be long, rocky, and tremulous.
I seriously wish that I could be hopeful and think the best in this situation, but I can’t. I truly can’t. It’s even worse when you are the type of person who is naturally inclined to care and be passionate about the certain things that make this country great. Those certain things are now threatened.
There’s a difference between the anxiety that most of us may have leading up to the Trump presidency versus the actual anxiety of him being President. Before, it was all just a thought, a joke; he “wouldn’t be as evil as when he campaigned”. But all of that has been proven false and in only a week.
He is dangerous and if you aren’t paying attention, he is a threat to the very constitutional freedoms that we all have.
All the braggadocio, the boast of power and wealth, the display of authority, they are all a disguise. Deep down, Trump isn’t who he portrays himself to be. This is a man who is insecure, egotistic, a narcissist, and has daddy issues.
This is a man who feared his father and whose first divorce ended because his wife “confided to female friends that Donald had difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection.”
This is a man who never truly knew what compassion and love are. This is a man who doesn’t understand any other values besides winning and wealth. This is a man whose entire message, rhetoric and policy are based on one thing…Race.
He is dangerous. He is dangerous to not only our democracy but also to our mental health and well-being.
It is no surprise that he can single-handedly bring the fall of America and to the ‘democratic tradition’. Just look at his recent Executive Orders. However, it is the fear, distress, and anger across the country that he has whirled up that is a much greater risk.
Trump’s narcissism, insecurities and viciousness are intrinsic components of who he is, and they’ve already damaged the world’s wellbeing. An insecure man who is handed power is a very treacherous man.
They will seek to cover that insecurity, by any means necessary, even if it is at expense of the very people who they are leading. An insecure man cares nothing other than himself. They see the world only through their ego, no other person, place, or thing matters.
American’s across the country are fearful and anxious about what a Trump Presidency could mean for the country. Those growing fears only get larger by the day. This has been the longest week ever, and it is only week one.
Many people are experiencing rage, others are experiencing depression, and some are experiencing sorrow. However, many people who are against Trump are experiencing one thing in common…and that is anxiety.
Truthfully, whatever I’m feeling right now is an unhealthy mixture of all of the above.
The anxiety that comes with Trump isn’t only constrained to U.S. soil but it has gone global. Trump has burrowed deep into our psyches, stimulating anxiety that isn’t confined to the borders of the US, or to those who are the direct targets of his bigotry.
The agitation that Trump has caused will be very hard to counter and the reality is, it is only going to get worse.
During the campaign trail, a University of Minnesota psychologist, William J. Doherty, wrote a report that stated “Trump’s combative and chaotic campaign has stoked feelings of anxiety, fear, shame, and helplessness, especially in women, gay people, minority groups and nonwhite immigrants, who feel not just alienated but personally targeted by the candidate’s’ message.”
But for those groups who are a direct recipient to the hate and fear that he has stirred up, those marginalized groups, the anxiety is even more real as they are direct targets of his hate.
From minorities, LGBTQ, women, and refugees, the fear of this group grow with every passing day that he is in office. We are afraid, we are intimidated, and we are uncertain about their place in the country’s future. Angry. Confused. Stressed. Depressed.
When people say, “Trump won, get over it”, it is a direct slap in our face. That shows that those same people care nothing about the safety and health of the marginalized groups that Trump is attacking.
Those people care nothing about what the U.S. stands for in terms of freedom and equality. We can’t get over it when this man is a direct threat to the physical safety of our communities.
This is not normal.
The Trump anxiety is real. It has triggered sleeplessness, restlessness, and the feeling of powerless in millions of Americans. Or maybe it’s just me.
It’s hard to stay calm in times like this and to not have the anxiety lead to depression. I’m scared; hopefully, I’m not alone.
All anxiety is problematic. Donald Trump has caused a collective trauma that is a result of the shared experience of the anxiety and threat to a basic sense of belonging in society. He has caused this in the resistance, as well as in his followers.
You may be rattled, you may be afraid, but the only way to fight someone like Trump is to not let our anxieties normalize his presidency.
The first step that we must take in overcoming “Trump Anxiety” is to accept the reality. We must accept that this is happening, this is real, and this is no longer a joke. This man is president and to realize that, must be the first step in his resistance.
The next step is to create a vision. Create a vision on how to protect things and those that are important to you.
The final step is to take action. Take action and resist as citizens rather than feel helpless.
The next four years are not going to be easy. There is going to be gas lighting, attacks on progressive agenda’s, institutions will be destroyed, and our equality and freedom will be confronted on a daily basis. These times are going to be emotionally exhausting and deeply traumatic for a lot of us.
However, it is imperative that we ALL take steps of “self-care” during the resistance. The following methods are ways and examples to overcome the Trump anxiety and maintain your physical and mental well being during his presidency.
1. Be Active
I believe this is the single most important thing to do in order to reduce your anxiety. It is to become active and involved in your local community and to get involved.
Become a visible force in local politics and community organizations, and not just on Facebook and Twitter. Volunteer, call your local congressmen, attend rallies, protest — do whatever you need to do.
Focus your energy on things that you care about by donating or helping organizes, charities, or religious groups. Being active and involved will give you a sense of hope since you are on the frontlines of the resistance.
2. Unplug & Moderate Social Media
Being a digital marketer, whose career is intrinsically linked to social media, this is a hard one for me to do but all so necessary. Unplug and/or moderate your social media use. With our timelines filled with all things Trump-related, it becomes easy to get stressed out.
You don’t have to check Facebook or Twitter every hour. Start with limiting your screen time. Set some time in your day that is limited to social media use. For me, I’ve told myself to only check Facebook after 4 or 5. That way, all things Trump and the preceding anxiety doesn’t affect my day.
3. Entertainment is The Best Escape
Use entertainment to escape from reality. Binge watch Netflix, read a book, watch a movie, go to a comedy show, or listen to music. Get some me time in with your own company for a while.
I find humor to be the greatest relief to stress and anxiety. Watch your favorite comedy show, The Office is a great choice. Music is also another way to ease the pain of fear. Put your headphones on, tune out the world, and use the vibrations to put you in a better mood.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is always essential; we have to take care of ourselves. Take a step in making changes in your lifestyle and daily life to control anxiety. Some people find meditation or yoga to be successful, some people read poetry or a book, and some people find peace in nature.
Go to therapy to get the extra support that you need. Get enough sleep. Exercise to create an outlet for your aggression. Eat well. Get outside.
5. Stay Connected
Strengthening connections with families, communities, and organizations are the most important preventive approach to Trump anxiety.
We are all in this together and people are desperate for connection and community, now more than ever. Talk to your family; support your friends, because chances are they feel just as vulnerable as you do.
The more that we do — the better that we will be. As a society, we must take these steps in order to maintain our mental health during our fight for the next four years. We cannot stop resisting because that is how democracies fall.
I love you all and Viva La Revolution!