Caught Between Politics and Pandemics? How To Fight The Anxiety And Stress

Sources: BlackDoctor.org, YourHHRS News

“Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” Donald Trump tweeted in mid-December. “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Statistically impossible? Not with the turnout of 26 million people who had not voted in previous presidential election. Trump scored 74 million votes — a record for an incumbent, and eleven million more than he got in 2016. But the other 15 million votes went to his opponent Joe Biden; and adding that excess four million votes to the three million by which Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 matches Biden’s seven million-vote margin of victory.

January 6th was the day the U.S. Congress was to certify the electoral college results of the 2020 presidential election. “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 that day. “We will never give up, we will never concede.” The violent and seditious outcomes of that walk has sent a lot of Americans into a vortex of a stress tailspin.

The American Psychological Association’s Stress In America survey, conducted online among some 3,400 American adults and published in early 2017, found that 56 percent were “stressed by the current political climate” while 63 percent of them regard the future of the country as “a significant source of stress.” The 2018 edition of the survey indicated that the number of Americans who felt that way had increased to 62 and 69 percent respectively.

Clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning characterized the phenomenon as a anxiety disorder “specific to the election of Trump and the resultant unpredictable sociopolitical climate.” And Bandy X. Lee, psychiatrist, Yale University professor, and editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, believes that what is at stake now is the mental health of Americans who over-identified with Trump’s behavior.

“This presidency itself had brought stress and anxiety levels to record levels, even before all the chaos. People are going to be suffering greatly and traumatized after this presidency,” Professor Lee says. “A lot of them will be simply clinging to their delusions. They cannot face letting go of their wishful thinking and their image of a savior or rescuer would be shattered.”

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources for coping with the anxiety generated by the 2020 election (not to mention by the Covid-19 pandemic). If you or a loved one needs help, it’s best to check with a health care provider about finding the right type of treatment for your anxiety and stress.

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