Sunday, February 19, 2017

Post-Election Mental Disorders

Health professionals are citing an increase in mental disorders since the presidential election. One of the most prevalent is Post-Election Stress Disorder (PESD), which apparently affects women more than it bothers men. I can vouch for that. PESD is just one of several mental health issues I’ve been afflicted with since the election.

In the February 17 New York Times, Richard Friedman cautioned against diagnosing someone we haven’t met (say perhaps #45). To be able to diagnose a mental problem—Narcissistic Personality Disorder for example—a mental health expert has to actually spend time with the patient. Friedman did, however, give everyone a pass on discussing someone’s narcissistic character traits. But this isn’t about the President’s traits; I’m chronicling the mental problems he’s causing others.

I’ve spent plenty of time with myself since the election, so I’m qualified to self-diagnose. I’m not sure whether my ailments will make an appearance in the next edition of The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM). But this I can tell you: they’re big league mental issues and I’m not the only person suffering from them. Take for example TITMO.

Trump In The Media Overload has forced me to stop watching most news stations. I make an exception for the BBC’s World News and Newshour on PBS, but sometimes I have to turn off even those revered stations. I don’t care if the story has anything to do with politics or not. I don’t even care which Trump it’s about. I’m just weary of hearing that name, no matter how it’s used. I’m grateful I never managed to master bridge.

TITMO isn’t my only post-election condition worthy of appearing in the DSM. SSIPPI should also be added. That’s not a new abbreviation for the state that kisses the Gulf of Mexico between Louisiana and Alabama. It stands for Social Security Insecurity—Psychotic Phobia Insomnia. Like many others, I’m kept awake at night worrying about potential reductions in Social Security and Medicare, two staples of any retiree’s existence.

Then there’s FFATAS, or Fake Facts and Alternative Truths Avoidance Syndrome. This is one of the main reasons I don’t listen to the political commentators’ shows any more. Be careful not to confuse FFATAS with FATASS. The latter are Foppish Asinine Trumpisms Aired by Sean Spicer. FATASS is not a disorder, but it often causes one. FFATAS, on the other hand, is frequently induced by Kellyanne Conway.

Speaking of whom, we should also mention KCDC-ACDC. That’s Kellyanne Conway’s Defunct Credibility—Always Citing Donald’s Comebacks. This is her own personal issue, so it won’t be eligible for inclusion in the DSM. One of the few bright spots of the post election chaos is that several media outlets have now banned Kellyanne from their interview lists.

A disorder many will recognize is SWOVAR, the Shock When Opposing Views Are Revealed. This condition occurs when we find out that the political positions of certain friends and family members are the opposite of our own. People we’ve known and interacted with forever are suddenly exposed as “other.” Our reactions include: How could I not have known? And: You’ve got to be kidding me!

An especially worrisome condition caused by the divisiveness that has resulted from the election is TASS. This is not the Russian news agency. It’s the Two Americas Solution Syndrome. Folks suffering from TASS have concluded that the best way to restore mental equilibrium is to split up the U.S. into two separate countries. Here’s how it would work.

Any state that touches the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans would become part of Blue America. Most states that don’t touch an ocean would become Red America. Of course, it would make more sense to call that White America, given the anti-immigrant and White Supremacist leanings of most of them. States that border the Great Lakes could hold a referendum on which America to join. North and South Carolina, Georgia, Colorado and New Mexico would just have to muddle through.

Many readers will reject this extreme solution, pointing to the Civil War to prove how dangerous it is. Others will cite the massive migration of families after the partition of India and Pakistan to show the disruptions TASS would cause. (Many of the golfing enthusiasts in my Connecticut condo community would likely head to Arizona.) TASS may have its critics, but I’m transported to a zone of serenity just imagining it.

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