Commentary: No, you didn’t get PTSD from the election

Commentary: No, you didn’t get PTSD from the election
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

No, you didn’t contract post-traumatic stress disorder from the election, and it’s offensive to those who suffer from it to even suggest you did.

In the time since Election Day, when — much to a great number of Americans’ chagrin — Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, many voters (and non-voters) have been flocking to online therapy sites, and according to the American Psychological Association, 52 percent of Americans have since been coping with “high levels of stress brought on by this election.”

Even comedian Samantha Bee, host of TBS’ “Full Frontal,” told The Daily Beast, “We’re all going to have great, national PTSD once this is all done.” Also, if you’re suddenly not interested in sex, Glamour magazine says it’s because you’re burdened by “post-election stress disorder.”

And then, of course, several colleges across the country decided to cancel classes, exams and academic events so teary-eyed students could pull themselves together after Hillary Clinton’s loss.

They might be sad, but, news flash: It certainly isn’t PTSD, and they’re just going to have to move on.

Darby Fox, a behavioral therapist, told TheBlaze it’s just “not accurate” for someone to characterize their electoral dismay as PTSD. In order to develop PTSD, she said, someone would have to go through a “jarring” and “really out of the ordinary” event, like a murder, suicide or abuse.

Trump’s win wasn’t that.

“If we’re suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the most common people we think of are veterans of war, where they were in a highly stressful situation day after day after day, making really difficult decisions between life or death,” Fox explained. “So what happened with the election — people could be disappointed, or be worried … but that’s very different than the [effects of] long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.”

She went on to say those who feel they’re suffering from PTSD as a result of Trump’s, albeit surprising, win are probably in an “unstable place.”

That sounds a little more like it.

All that said, I’ll level with you: Trump was not my first pick. In fact, neither he nor Clinton were even close to being on my list of choices. But, regardless of the winner, we just need to pick ourselves up and soldier on.

Sadly, I fear the “safe spaces” culture many of my fellow millennials know and love is the reason we’re in this mess to begin with. When we don’t get what we want, we’re told to find a “safe space” to recover from our disappointment to be coddled back to health. But once you leave the mattress-padded walls of your ivory tower university, real life just keeps moving and Election Day ain’t nothing but a thing.

Trump has said — and allegedly done — some very inexcusable things, and that’s not to be taken lightly. He’s insulted women, minorities, the disabled and veterans, so being upset, concerned or angry for a little while is understandable and even acceptable. But closing yourself off to reality and choosing not to be an adult only hurts you (and annoys the rest of us).

“I think the unfortunate thing about [college cancellations] is, people need to learn to deal with these things,” Fox told TheBlaze. “And maybe we should have thought about it more, maybe we should have been involved more up front and thought about different candidates, or been involved in an earlier stage. And now that all of this has happened, it is like President Obama has said, we need to work on a smooth transition and drawing people together.”

“All of these [people] standing out, skipping class, these riots — it’s just going to create more division and it can become a problem,” she added.

And ironically, these protests and riots, which are essentially groupthink tantrums, is the only way someone could make a somewhat valid case for PTSD, Fox noted. So if you’re a protester, you’re probably just stressing yourself out.

Now do yourself — and all of us — a favor: If you’re like a great many Americans who don’t like the outcome of the election, figure out where you stand, actually do something and the next time you feel inclined to say you’re suffering from PTSD, call a veteran, or someone who has been through real trauma, and ask them what you can do to help. That’s a better use of your time.

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