Mental Health Is On My Mind

Courtesy of Ann Telnaes
Washington Post, 2.5.2019

Not a day goes by without my considering what effects Trump’s random, impulsive behaviors have on the mental health of our country. I’m not alone. On February 7th, The Boston Globe carried an opinion piece titled Institutional silence on Trump’s mental state in which Doctors Lee and Glass sound the alarm on “malignant normalcy.” They state,

Human beings are very adaptable, and there is almost no degree of pathology we could not grow accustomed to, unless those with clear knowledge of what was happening were to speak out. Based on the experience of physician compliance with Nazism, we now have the Declaration of Geneva, the universal physician’s pledge that recognizes either silence or active cooperation with a destructive regime as running counter to medicine’s humanitarian goals.

The authors take issue with the American Psychiatric Organization’s decision to enact a gag order on any member who speaks out about a public figure. They advocate the present need for public discourse by mental health professionals as a first step to having clarity and empowering the people.

Many of us, with or without mental health credentials, live through each day with the knowledge that our chief executive is a rogue president with a mental attitude that permits him to behave without accountability.

The past month has been bookmarked by two events.

  • The government shutdown during which 800,000 or more public service workers were cut off from their pay while expected to perform their jobs.
  • At no point in his 80 minute speech did Trump speak of, address, express regret, or hold himself or anyone in his administration accountable for the hardship caused by his decision.

It is telling that nowhere in his State of the Union speech did Trump express concern or reflect on the challenge to prevent a future shutdown as the next budget deadline looms.

For the past two years, we have suffered through Trump’s blasphemous, irrepressible ego trip, placing himself in front of adoring fans, holed up in the residency or at Mar-a-Largo, in commune with Fox news, texting his observations and pronouncements as if they were executive orders.

Is Trump unfit to serve? Do we need a psychiatric evaluation to decide? Until and unless there is adequate data that motivates a Cabinet member on the necessity of an evaluation, how we gain perspective, be it through reading, listening, and absorbing various viewpoints, is up to each individual.

In the meantime, each of us is accountable to ourselves and to the community we share.  Our own mental health is dependent on what each of us does each and every day to maintain our own well-being as well as to contribute to the well-being of our social and community networks.

For myself, I intend to address my worry about “malignant normality” by being mindful, calling my representatives, and sharing my opinion. As always, I am grateful to my readers who run alongside as I struggle to make sense out of what, these days, seems surreal.




10 thoughts on “Mental Health Is On My Mind

  1. sheila

    I wish I could add a positive spin to your thoughtful words that often interfere with a good night’s sleep. The new nasty norm is scary.
    Thanks for your words.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Sheila, I quite agree that the new nasty norm is scary, all the more reason to try to balance each day with affirming connections and taking care to note, perhaps in writing, those daily experiences and observations, especially in nature, that evoke a sense of harmony. I can picture you midst the green plantings, in the pool,skies balmy, breath at ease. xo

  2. Rosemary Booth

    The writer well describes her “struggle to make sense” out of life under a “rogue” president and an effectively “surreal” national environment. I like her emphasis on the need for individual action and public discourse–in the complete absence of presidential accountability.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Rosemary, It’s so easy to get discouraged in this political firestorm we are living through. Thank you for your spot-on underscoring of the need for individual action and public discourse.


    Faye…thanks you once again for your careful attention to the disaster that is in the White House. One of the things that so disturbs me is how he continually tarnishes the office. I think it will take yrs to regain respect around the world. i too read the article in the globe and appreciated those brave drs. who were willing to step up and share their careful assessment of our presidents mental health. It actually doesn’t take a mental health professional to see that he is clearly unhinged..impulsive, vengeful and such a raging narcissist…so dangerous. You have inspired me to also call reps, etc to share my view and hope they act, however it is the Republicans who hold the cards i believe to making a difference…so far they have proven to be cowards!
    Writing from sunny florida! sorry about your snow….

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Pat, I so enjoyed your shoot from the hip response, especially your description of Trump as “unhinged.” Indeed! I quite agree with your frustration over the Republicans passivity in the face of his outrageous behaviors. Enjoy the sun. We have lots of melting today but no sun.

  4. Hyman L. Kempler

    I am a little more hopeful about our surviving Trump because some Republicans are openly disagreeing for example on foreign and even domestic issues. Nevertheless, when I hear him interviewed and he lies and self congratulates I often ask my self how can so many fellow Americans abide him. I have theories but still it remains perplexing. But I still have faith in our democracy and that keeps me sane.
    Thanks for your piece.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Hy, Yes, there are signs that the the tide is turning. Denial has become far more difficult as the consequences of Trump’s words and actions add up. I, too, have faith in our democracy especially as I listen to and watch the various smart and articulate presidential hopefuls step up.

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