Early yesterday morning, I decided to read the transcript of Trump’s TIME Magazine interview. I would like to challenge each of you to take the time to read it. Of all things I have read and seen from Trump thus far, this has terrified me the most.
I understand that this is a huge thing for me to say, but I mean it. As a budding mental health professional, it left me deeply unsettled. There is something awry with Trump that is much deeper than just being an asshole. I don’t know if I would go so far as to give him a diagnosis, but I will say: this country is not in good hands with him at the helm.
One thing that is of paramount concern is how disordered his thought pattern is. It is REALLY difficult to follow what he’s saying throughout the interview. He jumps between topics and doesn’t always finish sentences. He will switch subjects mid-sentence or just start repeating himself. It’s terrifying because it sounds a lot like the disorganized speech I hear when I am talking with my acutely mentally ill patients. Their connection with reality is so limited that their use of language begins to fail them. And that’s what this feels like with DJT.
Another thing that’s concerning is his paranoia. His perseveration on the “wiretapping” and the “surveillance” is VERY problematic, especially considering there’s no proof that it actually occurred. As a matter of fact, it was all but debunked until Nunes issued a statement saying that he *might* have evidence that Trump *might* have been *incidentally* surveyed. Extreme paranoia like this can be indicative of severe mental illness. So many of my patients have delusions regarding government surveillance. Again, I can’t say whether Trump has a clear diagnosis, but I do think there’s (plenty of) room for concern surrounding his thought patterns.
DJT also struggles to take responsibility for any of his own words or actions throughout the conversation. This is some Cluster B level stuff. He argues that what he says doesn’t count if he is quoting someone else. He tries to manipulate the conversation to suit his agenda and dodges questions he doesn’t like. He throws around accusations regarding TIME and their coverage of him, all the while sitting there and letting them cover him. It’s really all a devolving, manipulative mess.
I could go on forever, but the last thing I want to touch on is his feeling of overall grandiosity. He legitimately seems to think he is the smartest man in the world. Sometimes, throughout the interview, I was wondering if he was actually intimating to the reporter that he was a psychic. That’s how aggressively he was touting his own abilities to predict and understand the world around him.
The BEST part of all of this, though? He ended the interview by saying, “Hey look, in the
mean time, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody OK?” Seriously. His actual words. This immaturity and self-aggrandizing behavior is not normal. And it’s not OK.
Altogether, this could suggest that Trump has some pretty severe mental health concerns going on. Coupled with his lack of empathy, this would render him a very dangerous man. I honestly have mixed feelings about suggesting Trump might be mentally ill because I worry that might be giving him too much credit. I feel like drawing the comparison is almost offensive to people who DO have severe mental illness. He COULD just be an asshole. He COULD honestly be both (because as a friend pointed out, the two are not mutually exclusive). However, the more I pay attention, the more I think there is something there worth worrying about. A person with delusions, disordered thoughts, and paranoia makes you worry for them. A person with all of that, plus a lack of empathy? Well, that person makes you worry for you. Because that person might just be a sociopath.