I have an anxiety disorder. This means that, basically, I worry too much about too many things. I worry about stuff normal people don’t even think about, like my laugh sounding weird or my instant messages annoying people. I have big, constant worries, like whether I look good — I have major anxiety tied to my weight — and little, nagging worries, like whether my dog feels loved. I take multiple medications for this disorder. But the anxiety still breaks through. It can send me shaking and sweating, unable to sleep.
Then I found, well, not a magic pill, but an awesome coping tool. It came from HannahApples, an eating disorder survivor, and a post she made on Tumblr.
Oh. My. Gosh. So simple. So perfect. This could revolutionize the mental health field.
So I had to try it.
The first time I used it was only a few minutes after I’d found HannahApple’s post. I had just gotten dressed, and I looked in the mirror. “I hate my body,” I thought. Then I stopped. I made myself re-hear the words in Donald Trump’s voice. And I replied, “Fuck you, Donald Trump.” Then I went on talking to my husband, negativity dealt with. I felt surprisingly empowered straight away.
I kept on with it.
When I lay down on the bed next to my husband, I thought, like I always do, “Ugh, I hate my stomach. It’s so jiggly and awful.” Again, I stopped — the key here is recognizing your negative thoughts as negative. I replayed the words in Donald Trump’s voice. Then I said to him, “You’re not my president, you tiny-pawed Cheeto son of a bitch.”
I found that telling off Donald Trump doesn’t work for free-floating, amorphous anxiety. You can’t tell that to fuck off, because there’s nothing there to talk to. It’s just a senseless feeling of dread. I tried to hear Trump say, “Everything is awful and nothing is good,” then tell him to crawl back to the alt-right hellhole he came from, but it didn’t work the way it had earlier.
More like the president was cackling in my ear than slinking back to Mar-a-Lago. So when it comes to amorphous, senseless dread, nothing beats a good ol’ Xanax. (Prescribed by a doctor.)
But, telling off Donald Trump ROCKS for personal negative thoughts. I’m serious. Try it.
When my kids cuddled around me before bed, I thought, “These are the people whose lives I am going to ruin. They will need years of therapy because of me and my issues.” I recognized it. I replayed it as Cheeto-in-Chief. And I said, “Fuck you, you Putin-loving, sociopathic, ignorant, white supremacist motherfucker.” This felt satisfying. This felt good. I hugged my kids and kissed them goodnight, feeling like a badass.
I did it over and over.
When I worried that I wouldn’t finish a book review. When I worried I was harassing my editor via instant messenger. When I worried I wouldn’t finish a story on time, or didn’t hug my kids enough, or when I thought my thighs were too big to wear shorts despite the heat. I relished creating new and inventive insults for the man who is, unfortunately, our commander-in-chief.
I even contemplated complimenting myself in Barack Obama’s voice, but I reeled myself back in. Overall, I chased the negativity away far more quickly than usual, and it affected me much less.
This shouldn’t be a shock. The Donald Trump is actually a modified version of dialectical behavioral therapy’s technique of Teflon Mind. In Teflon Mind, you let negative thoughts pass over you like a cloud — they don’t “stick” because your mind is like Teflon. It also has a lot in common with the cognitive behavioral technique of recognizing negative thoughts and refusing to give in to them. Therapists agree: Holding Donald Trump responsible for your negative thoughts and telling him to fuck off actually has therapeutic merit. In other words, it totally fucking works.
And who better to channel our rage at? He is such an appropriate target. My friend Elyn says Trump is the Id of America come to life.
Of course, I’m not tossing my anxiety meds or discounting my doctors. I still need them. This isn’t a miracle worker, but I think if I practice this regularly, if I work hard at it, it could have some seriously positive effects on my mental health.
I never thought I’d say this. But thank you, Donald Trump.
And also screw your wall and your Muslim ban, you raging asshole.
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