How to Cope with Trump-Era Depression

If you care about animals, people, and the planet, you’ve likely battled feelings of depression during the Trump presidency. His cruelty, immaturity, lying, law-breaking, and harmful policies invade our daily routines and shock us every day. Every headline makes our heart race, and we feel sick that he remains in office.

We wonder what happened to our fellow Americans that they would elevate such a bad person to a position of power. We thought we shared a common set of values with Republicans and could at least agree that Trump’s sociopathic behavior, sordid past, and lack of experience would disqualify him from office. We wonder how Republicans continue to support someone who is so antithetical to all that is good in our country. We worry they don’t realize they’re being hoodwinked and we worry about the future.

The psychological impact of Trump’s presidency is real and lasting. Many of his actions are unprecedented in modern presidential history. And Trump’s gaslighting is enough to cause anyone to feel like we’re losing control of our democracy. Psychologists have referred to the feelings that result from this presidency as “Trump Anxiety Disorder.” It can lead to increased blood pressure, depression, and chronic health problems. For that reason, it’s important to keep perspective and take care. If you’re tired of feeling sick over Trump’s actions, these reminders may lift your spirits, empower you, give you hope, and effect change.

Trump doesn’t represent the American people. Trump received 62,984,828 votes. About 174 million Americans either voted against him or didn’t vote for him, which is about 73% of the eligible-to-vote American population. Trump’s term ends in a few months. We have an opportunity to replace him with someone who leads with compassion, believes in science, sets an example, and tells the truth. In some countries, dictators stay in power for decades.

So much good happens every day despite Trump’s cruelty and criminal misconduct. Plant-based food companies are breaking new ground, millions of volunteers are impacting lives, and companies are taking steps to save the planet despite Trump’s reckless policies. The world is filled with cruelty and greed, but it’s also filled with kindness, giving, and progress.

We’ve been through worse times and persevered. About 150 years ago, Americans fought each other in a war and killed 2% of the American population. That’s the equivalent of more than 6 million people in today’s population.

Trump serves as a valuable non-example for the world. We can learn from him to avoid even worse mistakes in the future. We learn some of our best lessons from non-examples.

Trump motivates us to get more involved in causes we care about, which will improve the world in the long run. There’s so much we can do to offset the damage of Trump’s presidency. Volunteer for a campaign or a nonprofit (the Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, etc.), find a job that allows you to advance your interests full-time, register people to vote, or donate to a charity. Every act of kindness makes a difference. It’s also an impactful exercise to call your senators in Congress at (202) 224-3121 to express your thoughts.

Manage your social media exposure. Avoid arguing with people who are unlikely to change their minds. It’s emotionally draining, and it isn’t worth it. There are much better ways to spend your days. Think critically about how you’re using your time on social media. Become laser-focused on achieving results that make an impact.

Surround yourself with positive people who exude resilience, hope, and problem-solving skills. Develop a circle of engaged and informed friends who offer support and focus on solutions.

Read and listen to the news from reputable sources. Don’t watch it. Reading credible news allows us to gather facts, draw conclusions, and take action. Although it may not be entertaining to read about environmental deregulation, it helps us to learn about policy positions, so we can become better-informed advocates and voters. Stations like NPR and podcasts like Pod Save America are also good sources of information that provide the depth we need to understand issues. Television news is often hyperpartisan and toxic to our emotions.

Promote media literacy. Avoid sharing information from disreputable sites. Russia has it covered. Also, avoid name-calling about someone’s weight or hair, for example, so we can set an example of the type of culture we aspire to live in.

Unplug. Take time for yourself–go to the gym or take a yoga restore class, take a walk outdoors, cook, or spend time with friends. It may give you the energy you need to be more productive.

Recognize that we’ll always have challenges. The issues we care about–climate change, animal welfare, human health and well-being, equality, education, and so many others–won’t be fully resolved under any administration. But a collective effort of government, business, and individuals can put us on a better trajectory. We should work together to achieve that end. Progress also often happens despite who occupies the White House.

Consider seeking professional help. Consider the support of a professionally-trained therapist. You may also consider calling the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a team of professionals who counsel people feeling emotional distress.

Trump is drenched in cruelty. He’s a self-obsessed criminal without a moral compass, so you have every right to feel affected by his actions. But Trump is a mentally-ill sociopath, so trying to rationalize his behavior isn’t a good use of time. Instead, we should focus on doing all we can to offset his policies and impact on the fabric of our country and work to elect leaders who better represent our priorities. The planet needs all hands on deck. Let’s harness our energy for good. Imagine the feeling when the Trump era ends and the country finds its footing again.

342 thoughts on “How to Cope with Trump-Era Depression

  1. Friday Sept.18 2020

    Today was a low almost 200,000 thousand Americans killed by a man in the white-house so the stock market wouldn’t crash?
    My head and heart are aching watching the wildfires in California, crying thinking of the redwoods burning *wipes tears* and that man sitting with The Gov. of Cal. and he says it will get colder and does the most evil laugh I’ve ever seen in my life.
    I’m from Seattle he has constantly made up lies about us and we hate him back, I guess we just don’t like a fucking dictator telling us what we need and what we’ll receive.
    But what I wanted to say and it’s so relieving to write this down and get it out of my head

    Please vote… I’ve talked to so many people that don’t want to hear it anymore his ranting and raving driving them nuts ……That is his plan straight from putins playbook, they give and take make us feel like we have no hope…..FIGHT IT!
    My dream is marching to the white house with EVERYONE and all yelling at the same time!!!!
    Phew… wouldn’t it be beautiful
    Women all in the FRONT of all colors together on a mission with men supporting us for being what we are, reliable in an emergency and loved! RIP John Lewis you are my inspiration ❤

    1. Carol, Thank you so much for writing this. We used to live in Washington State and moved to a dusty town in Nevada 9 years ago. Las Vegas and Reno are predominately liberal so most of our legislators are Democrats. But other parts of the state are filled with gun-toting, flag waving red hatted, selfish asses who refuse to wear masks. Biden signs are knocked down immediately.
      It seems like they fell they have permission to be obnoxious because our un-elected president has no boundaries – why should they? I am looking for a house in a different, more liberal area where I can breathe.

      I am very concerned about the safety and honesty of the upcoming election. In Pennsylvania, extremists were trying to physically block voters. It would be wonderful to join you in the ‘You’re Fired’ march.

    2. I feel so alone, my spouse has been sick for 2 years and with COVID I can’t see my family, I have stopped watching the news so much but I realize now that I am depressed what Trump is and has done has gone against everything I have ever learned and believed about my country and God’s word, I have acted out 3 times for what I never seen coming from myself I shocked myself! I voted, I donated and I pray…God is all I have to talk to, I have often thought I don’t want to live anymore, I just pray to God He gets us through this.

      1. Hello Melissa

        You aren’t alone. We all are effected in so many ways. Sorry for your husband it makes your burden worse. It’s almost over and we will have a New President that isn’t a criminal and pig.
        When we can breathe again in Jan. lots of work to do to help everyone catch up that was left behind, now need much more help. Hope you’re open to doing whatever you can to make your place in the new USA… Spring will be a good time for us all! The flowers will smell better!

        Loving hugs Melissa

      2. I feel that way also, your comment sounds like things I have said. I live alone with two dogs and a horse. Thank God I have them!

  2. So painful to have lost RBG and to be consumed with hate at these horrible people. Thank you for the common sense article. Needed that today.

  3. I have fought the depressive thoughts until RBG died. That has been a last straw. I have not turned on the news or checked Twitter and I cancelled Facebook in 2017 (because they helped elect Trump). I am sickened by the hypocrisy of the Republicans who are going to ram thru a woman who wants to overturn social security, Roe and the ACA. All I can think of is my future and I am scared. The absolute cruelty of the 1% donors wanting conservative control of the courts and doing away with anything a Democrat President would do, terrified me. I know we aren’t there yet, but this one has me scared.

    1. They can’t control us Jennifer and we are all together in this don’t feel alone, Get back on twitter and tell people to vote or find something you can fight back with!
      Hugs Jennifer he wants women afraid that’s how small he is. Your voice is a great tool to fight this hitler.
      May the light shine on you my sister!

    2. I too have stopped watching the news and actually feel better. To be depressed constantly was taking its toll on my mental health. Perhaps communicating with others who feel the way I do is what we need. I’ve never felt so sad about this country as I do now. My husband doesn’t like what’s going on but he can shake it off. It bothers me much more. Hate is the most frightening thing I’ve ever had to deal with.

  4. I am a therapist and feeling-with much intensity- what my clients are feeling . As therapists we often take on our clients pain as if our own. Right now Trump related depression and anxiety is skyrocketing and referrals for therapy and anxiety medication are increasing sharply
    People are extremely ptsd almost before things even happen. The unpredictability of Trump’s behavior has me awake at night.
    Right now I am dealing with the stress of having to practically shut down my Facebook account because they refuse to stop sending pages and images that are upsetting. I have seen friendships breaking down and I myself have been unfriended by a Trump supporting former boss who had been a friend. I am having to avoid news and social media because I worry about my own health.

    1. I’d like to thank you for the work you do with others. Also, I feel for you. This is a really tough situation for us all. No one is alone. Thank you for your contribution. Stay strong, stay well.

    2. Hi Paula
      We’re all behind you and your work, can I add that using a voice, yours is what brings him down. I can’t watch it all the time because he wants you to feel hopeless, we’re not so.It’s good to know what the enemy is doing, I’m afraid I sat out these 4 years not wanting a tv personality bigot pig saying anything to me and look what’s happened he has brought us to despair. So I feel great just tweeting you can’t have my brains you zombie, Vote this pig out! Women lets take the white-house down. Feel stronger and know we deserve better! FIGHT for your rights and get in good trouble.
      P.s Post here it really makes you feel better.

  5. Trump is quite literally driving me insane, him and his disciples.

    I am a veteran on SSDI.

    Trump is defunding the FICA tax that funds SS and says he will make it permanent if he retains power.

    What am I supposed to do then? Die?

    Even my THERAPIST is saying “you’ll need to get a job,” when she KNOWS I cannot work!

    I am plagued near-daily with PTSD flashbacks, anxiety attacks, depression and nightmares.

    She just says “if he ends Social Security, there won’t be anything you can do about it” and says if I get involved with any anti-Trump resistance she will be “duty-bound” to notify the police.

    On Facebook, his disciples say “he wouldn’t do that” and/or ” well, then, all of you freeloading old people and cripples will have to get jobs then, won’t you?”

    My few remaining family members (I am a widower) are all Trumpheads.

    My drinking has been increasing exponentially.

    What am I supposed to do with all of this?

  6. You aren’t alone!
    thump is a dictator and he will not win this race, He wants us all to feel alone and afraid DON’T do it. Try to only watch a little news it’s very depressing for us. I found venting on twitter very fulfilling. Lot’s of people feel just like us and reading some it makes me feel better. And I found I couldn’t laugh until I watched a lincoln project You-Tube video made me laugh and cry that for 4 yrs we have been in a very dysfunctional family with a nut job leading us into hell.
    Please don’t feel alone your family hopefully will see he wants nothing good for them.
    Keep the faith we only have to endure this for one more month and he goes to prison when he loses. My prayers are with you to keep strong and don’t let the negative rule your day.
    May the light shine on you and give you back the hope you need for this last month.

  7. Prison is too good for “The Donald”, let him figure out how to pay for food to put on his table, he needs to pay his debts and live on what he receives from social security.

  8. This moronic female Trump supporter decorated her house for Halloween with skeletons and Trump signs. It’s like all those poor people dying of covid doesn’t bother her! Another male supporter used quotes from the movie “The Purge” with Halloween decorations for his house. I like the holidays but it feels like Trump is destroying something I find beautiful! I pray this nightmare goes away!

  9. My soninlaw and daughter are Trump supporters. I find it so difficult going to birthday parties for my grandchildren because the subject always comes up. Simple get togethers are turned into conflicts. They have friends who come to our get togethers also trump supporters, and I feel my husband and I really aren’t welcome. It has come to the point I dread going to their house, and I don’t see my grandkids often . It’s terribly depressing.

  10. Sick over biden and his communist way. Trump is best president ever. World peace what else need I say ..Dems are scumbags

    1. Hi Kim

      You’re delusional and need an exorcist.
      You have no hope and spew hate. I hope you make it through the covid virus your master tried to kill you with, and reality is waiting for you to catch up poor little sheep with no mind.

    2. You are not in reality right now. I can’t even believe that you called Mr Biden a communist and Democrats scumbags. Why don’t you look in the mirror, you douchebag? Dumbass Trump and his scychophant (Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, I am looking at you two losers for sure) followers on Capitol Hill (Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, I am looking at you two losers for sure) are trying to overturn democracy and the will of the American people by trying to overturn the election. With you supporting those pigs you must not care about America at all, our children or the Constitution. I was looking at speeches of some of the candidates who lost over the years and I saw the conceding speech by John McCain and it made me very emotional. What every one of these individuals understood was that, even though you may not agree with the other party’s policies or agree with the outcome of the election you had enough class to concede for the will of the American people (Al Gore in 2000 comes to mind after that crazy problem with the chads in damm Florida). John McCaim’s conceding speech was one of the classiest and powerful speeches I have ever heard. McCain was a class act through and through (I am glad Obama won but McCain would have been a good president also. That bimbo Palin brought him down BIG time. I was ready for the country at the time go go in a different direction and it definitely was a better direction, Nothing bad about George W Bush as a person, he was just a TERRIBLE president. John McCain would be rolling in his grave right now (along with George HW Bush) if they saw what happened with the Republican party now and what cowards most of them now. This scares me so much for what the future holds for our country. I still don’t know what kind of hold ****p has over these Republicans. It’s like a cult. And it’s not going away anytime soon. I pray for our children. I wonder what they are going to read about in history books about our current president. Yikes.

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