The Artist Abroad

PTSD, or Post-Trump Stress Disorder

/ 02:17 AM July 27, 2018

NEW YORK — As has been noted so often before, Don the Con has been the gift that keeps on giving. Vladimir Putin had what amounted to a Chesire Cat’s grin at their Helsinki press conference. No wonder. His asset was performing incredibly well.

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And now Don the Con has unwittingly given rise to a psychological condition that has been christened the Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), his devotees’ way of putting down and dismissing any and all criticisms of Don the Con as being rooted in a deep-seated, irrational hostility.

The TDS ploy intentionally obfuscates a far more disturbing development, the sudden rise of a new variant of PTSD, the Post-Trump Stress Disorder. This is a highly contagious illness, little studied until now, that freezes the brain’s cognitive functions, and yet leaves the rest of the body unharmed. (Think zombie behavior.) For those who once fell under the sway of Don the Con but have since renounced their fealty, they may still retain behavioral tics that linger on as a reminder of a shameful past.

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They should not despair. Familiarizing themselves with the characteristics of conventional PTSD may prove a life saver.

Post-Trump Stress Disorder symptoms are usually evident soon after the traumatic event, e.g., Trump’s cozying up to Putin in Helsinki. Sometimes, however, the symptoms may not manifest themselves for months or even years. It is thus crucial to identify the symptoms as soon as possible, as the cure may entail a long period of recovery. Based on the history of how regular PTSD is treated, ongoing studies so far have told us what some of the most important symptoms are.

  • Visual reminders. These can trigger reflex movements that the individual may not consciously be aware of. For example, were a once-devoted Trump follower, or Trumpista, to see the Orange Man on TV, he or she may inexplicably genuflect.

Such a reflexive action may be triggered even when the Orange Man is being spoofed by Alec Baldwin convincingly on “Saturday Night Live.” What complicates such an act, called “taking a knee,” is that it may, if there are Trumpistas among bystanders, arouse their suspicions that the act of genuflecting is a sign of utter disrespect. This may or may not lead to physical harm to the kneeler or at the very least the threat of it.

Do not, I repeat, do not attempt under any circumstance to explain why you suddenly drop to one knee in the middle of a bar or restaurant or wherever the TV is on, and the man in question suddenly appears. Get up posthaste and go gently into that good night—or day, as the case may be. But before you do so, as recommended by experts, “swing your arms and legs, or just flail around. Your head will feel clearer and you’ll find it easier to connect.”

Additionally, while flailing around, intone the word “mmmm.” The vibrations this causes will result in a pleasant feeling, and help greatly to defuse the tension—yours and onlookers’.

  • Hyperarousal: You may hear conversations or the news on the radio, where the names of “Putin” and “Kim Jong Un” are uttered, and you may find that you are suddenly inclined to goose-step and chant “MAGA! MAGA!” Do not panic. Follow the earlier suggestion of flailing your arms and chanting “mmmm.”

Some survivors swear that by reading the great Russian novelists they are able to once again regain their moral compass, so lacking in Vlad the Impaler and Don the Con. They specifically recommend Dostoevsky’s classic Crime and Punishment. Don the Con is the crime and Vlad is his punishment, as well as the United States’.

  • Avoid white bedsheets. These may arouse you in an all but irresistible urge to cut out eye-holes, put these on, join a group of like-minded individuals, and burn a cross on the lawn of a family of color.
  • Avoid high walls. If however circumstances bring you face to face with a giant wall, and you break out in a sweat, instead of automatically chanting “Build that wall!” just change that to “Build Bridges, Not Walls!” You will be surprised at how quickly this will calm you down. Again, while doing so, remember to flail your arms and chant “mmmm.”
  • Avoid Double Negatives: There are enough negatives in your life, as it is. Clearly, having once thought of Don the Con as a savior is the most prominent. Flail your arms and think positive. He too will pass. I don’t see any reason why that would not be.

Copyright L.H. Francia 2018

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TAGS: Crime and Punishment, Don the Con, Donald Trump, Dostoevsky, Luis Francia, Post-Trump Stress Disorder, Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), Trump presidency, US politics, Vladimir Putin
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