Its very real. Although not being familiar with the symptoms of this behavioral health syndrome, you may well confuse the clinical nature of this “diagnosis” of the American state of mind. Developed among Americans during the 2016 Presidential election with concomitant outright righteous indignation for our country’s emotional plight, your friends, and neighbors have expressed with the limited choices for presidential candidates the fact of America is suffering from a base behavioral condition which rather does not find its etiology in politics, but the American Public Trust. Take for example the following.
Today during the Senate hearings for the nomination of Treasury Secretary nominee Sten Mnuchin, Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) actually offered Senator Ron Wyden “a valium” during the volatile hearings itself. Valium, a benzodiazepine so the panel could probably get through the Senate confirmation hearings on Mr. Mnuchin.
It doesn’t get any better than that to demonstrate both Congress and most certainly the American public is symptomatic of what is well-known in my profession as a behavioral psychotherapist as “agitated depression”. Agitated depression is an older term in my field to describe a person tho has a combination behavioral mixture of Anxiety-that feeling you have to do something about an impossible situation- and Depression, which by definition is “a form of internal temper tantrum” that things aren’t going right in one’s life and emotional and physical symptoms occur.
America is a victim; we feel out of control. We are trying to figure out the old “whose on first” question as we go about our daily routine hearing allegations between political parties, arguments between the President elect between, well, virtually everybody. These fights we witness will soon find a logical course to impeachment or demise. Learn from history this is rare, but isn’t anything new, just exacerbated in that it hits your ears within seconds with modern communication, rather than weeks. According to communication psychologists, each day we are hit with 49,00 subliminal and overt messages, mostly negative, each 24 hour day. Yes, we often dream out what we lst heard before hitting the bed.
The real question now isn’t “what is the big elephant in the room”, but “what is that little twitter-bird in the room”? Let me confess I don’t know and that is what is driving me and possibly the American Trust, a slow grade level of anxiety and depression.
Call it what it is: we are sad for America and we are anxious about America.
My suggestion as a psychotherapist is NOT to grab an anxiolytic or antidepressant; but stay way from the cable news, turn off twitter, hug your spouse over a simple and quiet candle light dinner, turn the television off-better yet remove from the bedroom, take your children to the park, say the Pledge of Allegiance, sing in the shower, go to church-one without a political mandate, and remember who you are. Remember you are an American with one vote. Remember the promises and follow the day to day experiences to actually watch the clock start ticking at noon January 20, 2017, and then watch your paycheck, your quality of life, your safety in the streets, and your freedoms to move about without restrictions in this get land.Go vote your insight at each election.
Forget about taking valium or an SSRI. They are gifts from God when things really begin to change your body’s neurons and cells. Lets not allow the American Agitated Depression get that far.
If you are a news reporter reading this, my sincerest apologies, but America has enough on its plate to listen any further to your knee jerk reaction to each tweet. Please respect America’s plight by remaining truthful and aspire to honor Edward R. Murrow.
Now, don’t you feel better already? No charge.
Bob Coates is a theologian, and licensed clinical psychotherapist in Virginia and Tennessee, practicing since 1978