Mental health professionals are reporting an uptick in patients coming to them out of fear that Donald Trump will become president, the Washington Post reported.
“Just that Trump has survived and that there’s such a cataclysmic shift in the Republican Party — an institution that’s part of our way of life even if you’re not a Republican — is going to disturb a lot of people,” said psychologist Paul Saks.
Saks, who practices in Greenwich Village in New York City, said that one of his patients — the grandson of Holocaust survivors — was disturbed by Trump’s recent reluctance to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Another local psychologist, Judith Schweiger Levy, said that she has also seen an increase in Trump-related cases; one patient, she said, came to her talking about nothing else but how “crazy and frightening” she found the current Republican front-runner. A different patient, who Levy described as a “middle-aged businesswoman,” was upset that her sister is supporting him.
“She was so upset and worried that she could have a sister — someone so close to her — who would have zero problem with Trump,” Levy explained.
Levy herself admitted to feeling anxious just discussing the candidate.
“Part of the reason he makes people so anxious is that he has no anxiety himself,” she said. “It’s frightening.”
Another reason behind the increased stress associated with Trump, psychologist Alison Howard said, was the sense that the real estate mogul tramples over social mores and is allowed “to get away with it.”
“We’ve been told our whole lives not to say bad things about people, to not be bullies, to not ostracize people based on their skin color,” said Howard, who practices in Washington D.C.
Some psychologists, like New York City-based Mary Libbey, are seeking support within their professional community.
“It helps me to talk about it,” she said. “I’m terrified that he could win. His impulsivity, his incomplete sentences, his strange, squinty eyes — to my mind, he’s a loosely held together person.”
The Post also noted that online searches for information on how to move to Canada surged following Trump’s Super Tuesday primary victories, as did Twitter posts with “Trump” attached to phrases like “freaking out.”
“As phobias and fears ago, this is not a pathological response to a normal situation, but a normal response to a pathological situation,” said Nancy Lauro, an art teacher who said she has researched emigrating to Italy or Ireland. “Picking up one’s life feels impossible, but I keep flashing on those people who fled Germany when the writing was on the wall and those who didn’t. When do you take action to get out?”