PTSD

PTSD
I have it, do you?

I’m proposing a new addition to the DSM V or VI or VII or whatever number we are up to at this point.

Below I’ve enumerated the classic PTSD symptom criteria in the DSM-5.

Then, in a nice bold, bright red, italic font that matches the color of his ugly long ties, I’ve added the symptoms of President Trump Stress Disorder.

It’s an affliction that is of mounting concern to folks in the mental health community — and I believe it should be of concern to you as well.

Please read the symptoms below and consider whether you might be a sufferer.

And I’d be interested in hearing about your experience. The professionals at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), before they were all fired, had been collecting data on this looming public health crisis. I would like to be able to help them, in my own, small way.

PTSD Symptoms

Criterion A
You were exposed to one or more event(s) that involved death or threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or threatened sexual violation. In addition, these events were experienced in one or more of the following ways:

  • You experienced the event (Yup, I was following the returns that night.)
  • You witnessed the event as it occurred to someone else (Others were there, too, and it was horrifying.)
  • You learned about an event where a close relative or friend experienced an actual or threatened violent or accidental death (This has happened to me on Twitter numerous times and I have seen it happen to others, too.)
  • You experienced repeated exposure to distressing details of an event, such as a police officer repeatedly hearing details about child sexual abuse. (The daily news is a constant reminder. The repetition is harrowing and, while each day it seems we have hit rock bottom, the next day there’s a new low. The horror is unending and unrelenting.)

Criterion B
You experience at least one of the following intrusive symptoms associated with the traumatic event:

  • Unexpected or expected reoccurring, involuntary, and intrusive upsetting memories of the traumatic event. (I think back on that night and other events of this horrible presidency and images come unbidden, often.)
  • Repeated upsetting dreams where the content of the dreams is related to the traumatic event. (Yes, and I have even had dreams with Eric in them, which seems quite unfair.)
  • The experience of some type of dissociation (for example, flashbacks) where you feel as though the traumatic event is happening again (Election night 2016 still feels unreal, and yet there he is…)
  • Strong and persistent distress upon exposure to cues that are either inside or outside of your body that is connected to your traumatic event (Hearing his voice creates strong and persistent distress and, while I believe the sound is coming from outside of my body I am sometimes not sure…)
  • Strong bodily reactions (for example, increased heart rate) upon exposure to a reminder of the traumatic event. (My resting heart rate has gone up since Trump was elected, and contrary to his opinion, it is NOT because I am attracted to him.)

Criterion C
Frequent avoidance of reminders associated with the traumatic event, as demonstrated by one of the following:

  • Avoidance of thoughts, feelings, or physical sensations that bring up memories of the traumatic event. (I generally avoid things, so it’s hard to tell whether they are connected to the election.)
  • Avoidance of people, places, conversations, activities, objects, or situations that bring up memories of the traumatic event. (Pick-up trucks with American flags scare me and I avoid them when I see them.)

Criterion D
At least two of the following negative changes in thoughts and mood that occurred or worsened following the experience of the traumatic event:

  • The inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event. (I can’t remember what I drank that night…)
  • Persistent and elevated negative evaluations about yourself, others, or the world (for example, “I am unlovable,” or “The world is an evil place”) (The GOP…)
  • Elevated self-blame or blame of others about the cause or consequence of a traumatic event. (The GOP…)
  • A negative emotional state (for example, shame, anger, or fear) that is pervasive. (Yup!)
  • Loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy. (Following the news.)
  • Feeling detached from others. (The GOP…)
  • The inability to experience positive emotions (for example, happiness, love, joy). (He took my joy, I want it back…with a nod to Lucinda Williams.)

Criterion E
At least two of the following changes in arousal that started or worsened following the experience of a traumatic event:

  • Irritability or aggressive behavior. (Can you say Twitter?)
  • Impulsive or self-destructive behavior. (Does drinking while watching Maddow count?)
  • Feeling constantly “on guard” or like danger is lurking around every corner (or hypervigilance). (Because it is…)
  • Heightened startle response. (Actually, the craziness is more numbing…)
  • Difficulty concentrating. (Oh yes…I am constantly checking to see if he is still alive. So far, he has been.)
  • Problems sleeping. (Indeed.)

Criterion F
The above symptoms last for more than one month. (How many days has it been? Get the current count HERE.)

Criterion G
The symptoms bring about considerable distress and/or interfere greatly with a number of different areas of your life. (YES — Have you not been paying attention?)

Criterion H
The symptoms are not due to a medical condition or some form of substance use. (Unfortunately, that is no longer clear.)

WHAT TO DO

Stop it, stop it, stop it!

The main thing is, DON’T let this continue.

Your health and well-being are at stake.

So, pay attention, but not to excess.

Remember to exercise, eat plenty of vegetables, and try to sleep without utilizing sleep aids. (See the movie Judy if you have any questions or doubts about this.)

And Vote.

Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote!

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