With all the break-ins, riots and looting that took place at the nation’s Capitol building recently, it has sent a lot of people into mental health tailspin for different reasons. People are asking:
– How could this happen?
– What is going on in this country?
– Are people really like this?
– How can we as a country move past this?
– If Black people did what they did, they’d be all dead.
A growing body of research has tracked the detrimental impacts of Trump-related stress on broad segments of the American population, from young adults to the elderly, men and women, and even racial and LGBT communities. The results of the study are heartbreaking.
The American Psychological Association’s 2016 “Stress in America” survey, conducted online among some 3,400 American adults and published in February of 2017, found that 63 percent of respondents regard the future of the country as “a significant source of stress”; some 56 percent “say that they are stressed by the current political climate.” The 2018 edition of the survey showed that the number of Americans who view the future of the country as a significant stressor had jumped to 69 percent; those who saw the political climate as a source of stress had jumped to 62 percent.
And this stress has grown into a phenomenon: Clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning characterized the phenomenon as “Trump Anxiety Disorder,” a specific type of anxiety in which symptoms “were specific to the election of Trump and the resultant unpredictable sociopolitical climate.”
Trump, who has refused to concede his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, had urged his supporters multiple times to come to Washington for a rally on Wednesday, January 6th, the day the US House of Representatives and Senate were scheduled to certify the results of the Electoral College.
“Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” Trump tweeted in mid-December. “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
As reports came in, protestors turned out in the thousands and heard the president urge them, yet again, to march on the Capitol building to express their anger at the voting process and to pressure their elected officials to reject the results.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and Congressmen and women,” Trump told the crowd, speaking with the White House as a backdrop.
And not one to go without pushing the envelope when a crowd is present, Trump egged on his supporters “to fight.”
“We will never give up, we will never concede,” Trump said, delighting the crowd by stating the Democratic victories are the product of what he called “explosions of bullshit.”
After the first couple of hours of the riots and break-ins to our nation’s capital, eventually, Trump posted a recorded video on Twitter.
“I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election,” Trump said in the video. “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order.”
Once again, another set of lies.
He posted another message that called the mob “great patriots” who were reacting to an election victory “viciously stripped away.” Twitter later hid three tweets and locked Trump’s account.
The Psychology of a Trump Follower
Psychiatrist and Yale University professor Bandy X. Lee believes what’s truly at stake now is the mental health of Americans who have witnessed Trump’s erratic behavior for four years. Lee is the editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”
She warned that Americans should “never underestimate Trump” and his volatility following his electoral defeat. In an interview with Chron, Lee spelled out the risks and discussed how Americans can heal after this tumultuous term.
“If you have any intact reality testing, you’re going to be horrified and highly anxious, if not afraid for your life. This presidency itself had brought stress levels and anxiety levels to record levels, even before all the chaos. People are going to be suffering greatly and traumatized after this presidency.”
“A lot of [Trump Supporters] will be simply clinging to the delusions. They cannot face letting go of their