Politics, Politics, Politics. With the election of Donald Trump, it can seem impossible to get away from non-stop, horrifying news stories. From speeches laced with somehow acceptable hatred, and deceit, to publications constantly quarreling over who's "fake news" and who's actually participating in legitimate journalism - the current political environment can be downright exhausting.
With a presidency never before so ridiculously unprofessional, dramatic, and downright awful, there are a thousand questions anyone paying attention may ask, and paying attention at this time in political history may even see like a mental chore - but a question many are feeling possibly more so than asking is how this political environment mentally, and yes, even physically, is impacting us.
Over time, does the constant influx of political garbage concerning a president complacent with spouting downright lies and a disdain for anyone unlike himself create internal anxiety within us? Do children notice, does it effect them as well? Does the workplace seem different? Does home life seem tense? Does speaking with strangers seem more difficult, possibly even out of the question, anymore? Say the wrong thing, and an explosive argument may be imminent. None of these things are illusions; they're all a reality of a confusing, lie-packed, white-washed and billionaire benefiting administration that's hell bent on controlling the free press, vilifying anyone who releases truthful information unveiling the chaos going on within it, and force feeding self-defeating legislation down its constituents throats.
News Anxiety. Yes, experiencing this is real. You turn on the tv, your phone's news app, or the radio and brace for what you're about to hear. It hasn't been good since this election started. The obviously desperate grasping by the DNC of the nomination from Bernie Sanders. The constant, child-like bickering during the debates. The scandals, the scandals, the scandals. The realization that a demagogue fascist was nominated president. The realization that America's election process was potentially hacked, and that the current administration was okay with it, because hey, it benefited them, right?
The "draining of the swamp" in reality becoming a "filling to the brim of the swamp" with MORE wall street executives that helped cause the 2008 market crash, and will most likely do nothing to benefit the common person. The destruction of the EPA, an agency that protects our quality of air and water. The denial of climate change souly for the purpose of obtaining profit from finite fossil fuels, while damning future generations to environmental hardship. The annihilation of any hope of an affordable healthcare plan with the GOP's "Trumpcare" that increases out of pocket costs for most consumers. The invasion and attack on reproductive rights that take what should be a consensual choice of parenthood and turn it into a force-able mandate. Rapists gaining "rights." The literal shitting on of immigrant due to vast xenophobia, and the "othering" of those trying to obtain U.S. citizenship. The taxation of the common person to build a useless wall, while our entire country needs new infrastructure. Education seemingly hanging in the balance by someone who thinks guns should be in schools because of "Grizzly Bears". Seriously, I could go on, but basically, shit looks terrible.
Everyday it seems as if something new, something equally as awful or tremendously bad pops up in the news. It can feel like you never relax mentally anymore. It can feel like you're constantly tired. Can the political environment currently cause this? The answer unfortunately is, yes. Post-Election PTSD, and PTSD related, or anxiety-related cases reported within relation to the current state of our "Democracy" ( In my opinion, an Oligarchy anymore ) have spiked. PTSD that veterans face of course differs from the kind of PTSD that someone feeling constantly harassed by its own government will experience, however stress-related illnesses such as PTSD can effect anyone who's gone through a traumatic situation. Mayo Clinic describes PTSD as such, "Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event."
Psychologists all over the country have reported an increase in patients suffering from stress due to fear of the current political status of the nation. Hotlines and Clinics have also reported higher rates of calls, and suicide. The San Francisco Suicide Prevention hotline had a call increase of 30 percent in the first five days after Trump’s election. “Some are wondering if they’re going to have the same health care. Others are wondering if they’re going to still be allowed to be in the country. The only comparable incidents have been 9/11 and the Loma Prieta earthquake,” director Courtney Brown reported.
This kind of stress is felt like a blanket, and every age, even young children, are aware of the tense feeling in the air. They may experience classmates arguing over current political events, or harsh words being spoken by classmates with parents who think it's alright to teach their children to be bigots. For parents, parenthood can be more stressful than ever. The best thing to do is to teach kindness, patience, the value of legitimate news and treating others with respect. I've had friends who had their children come home, asking why hateful symbols are being seen in graffiti on school buildings. Be honest when dealing with this, tell them the seriousness of how wrong that kind of attitude is, and raise your children to be a kinder generation than the ones who voted this kind of bigotry into power. If you see that your child seems stressed after school, be sure to engage with them, ask them what's wrong. These days, you never know. The classroom, like the workplace or any public space is not immune from the current political environment and its stress.
So what do you do? Simply give up, turn off the news, stop caring and ignore it? Ignoring a problem of course doesn't make it go away, and if anything, now more than ever, we need to hold those "elected" accountable. We need to stay informed, and aware. The current administration is using the "blast them with constant information" tactic on purpose, so you ignore their agenda eventually. Do not give up, you are not alone. Join groups that plan to organize and make change, along with uplifting each other. Research, and try to find legitimate news sources that write news based on factual information. If a family member causes you stress because their belief systems are harmful, you aren't obligated to continue speaking with them if possible. Don't be afraid of get help if your anxiety is severe, or your depression or thoughts become harmful. The current situation politically is terrifying, and grieving is natural, however self-care is also a must. Reach out! AGAIN - you are NOT alone.
The only positive in this situation, is that now more than ever we can connect with those who refuse to let bigotry ruin their country, and seek to change this Oligarchal structure that's now gotten to the point of teetering on disrepair. Let's face it, this country hasn't been "for the people" for far too long, and now that everyone seems to be listening, we can combine efforts, converse, and hopefully create a better world for everyone, together. No more profit over people mindsets. No more fat cat, out of touch, billionaires in power. Get active, keep your head up, get the help you need if your stress levels inhibit your daily life, and know that you CAN combat such a detrimental administration by being the change you want to see.