Storm of depression descends on America

"If President Trump is indeed mentally ill, as so many of his critics claim, he may well be the most representative leader we have ever had."

Depressed? You’re not alone. The American Psychiatric Association says 40 million American adults — one-fifth of the adults in this country — suffer from “major depressive disorders” and the suicide rate in our country rose 33 percent.

Writes Lee Siegal in the New York Times:

All of this mental carnage is occurring at a time when decades of social and political division have set against each other black and white, men and women, old and young. Beyond bitter social antagonisms, the country is racked by mass shootings, the mind-bending perils of the internet, revelations of widespread sexual predation, the worsening effects of climate change, virulent competition, the specter of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, grinding student debt and crises in housing, health care and higher education. The frightening environment helps cause depression, depression causes catastrophic thinking, and catastrophic thinking makes the environment seem even more terrifying than it is.

Out of this dark cast of mind arose the hunger for a strong, avenging figure whose arrival has sent even more mentally harrowing shock waves through society. If President Trump is indeed mentally ill, as so many of his critics claim, he may well be the most representative leader we have ever had.

Siegal recounts increasing and frequent thoughts of suicide.

“Even today, the idea of jumping off a bridge or swallowing a lethal amount of pills enters my mind and holds me in its grip,” he says. “To say that there is less use for a 62-year-old white male (unless you happen to be running for president) these days is not to devalue the social transformations that are rapidly occurring in the age of Trump. You can hail necessary social change and complain about being, to some degree, a casualty of it, both at the same time.”

If he feels that way now, I wonder if it will be worse 10 years down the road, when he reaches my age.

Most depressions in my life come from the toxic atmosphere that exists in today’s America and, like most Americans, I lay the blame for that on Donald John Trump.

Writes Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post:

It is easy to overstate the support President Trump has for his policies and conspiracy theories. His approval remains in the low-40s, but the percentage of Americans who buy into his positions and assertions is remarkably small. Trump and Fox News have their true believers, but beyond that minority of the population, the large majority of Americans understand he often spews nonsense or out-and-out lies. And, to boot, they really do not like him.

The latest Economist/YouGov national poll is instructive. When it comes to Russia, despite Trump’s bromance with President Vladimir Putin, only 14 percent consider Russia to be an ally or friendly; 32 percent say it is unfriendly, in addition to 34 percent who consider it an enemy. Trump may be confused about who interfered in the 2016 election, but the public is not. By a 50 percent-to-28 percent margin, Americans say Russia interfered in our election. Unlike Trump, who is convinced Ukraine meddled in our election, only 21 percent of Americans think so.

Trump’s approval (40 percent vs. 52 percent) remains underwater, as does his reelection number against an unnamed Democrat (40 percent vs. 50 percent). His personal ratings are horrendous. (A remarkable 51 percent do not even want him to run for reelection.) Only 31 percent like him as a person (and 18 percent say they like him a lot) or say he is honest and trustworthy. Fifty-four percent say he does not have the temperament to be president. Only 19 percent say he is steady, while 60 percent say he is arrogant, and a strong plurality (44 percent) say he is a racist. Less than a quarter of Americans think he cares about people like him.

It is little wonder that America is depressed.

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