ADHD and the 2016 U.S. Election

This 2016 U.S. presidential election has been a real struggle in ADHD management. Those impairments of executive functions are really being tested. During what has turned out to be a bizarre, almost unreal, circus-like election campaign has tested the emotional control of people all over the world. A U.S. election is never only about Americans; the person who is elected President of the United States of America has an impact on the entire world.

The most frequently asked question in my neck of the woods went from “What do you think about Trump?” to “Can you believe Trump said that?” Personally, I’m not surprised by anything Donald Trump says, what surprises me is that he is so comfortable saying such things without any concern about how it might impact others.

From time to time I struggle with keeping my emotions in check regarding this current election. Nothing that Trump says surprises me, NOTHING. So when others around me are acting as if this is all a surprise that people believe and support the outlandish beliefs and actions of Trump, I want to ask those who are in shock, “Where have you been for the past decade?” Sexism, misogyny, racism, anti-Islamic myths, and obnoxious people have always been around and are written about in the media constantly.

This election can be difficult for people with ADHD who want to engage in civil, respectful, discussions where everyone gets to be heard and not demonized for who they have given their political support to. But the emotionally tense nature of this campaign can make it even more difficult to manage ADHD symptoms. We can be tempted to interrupt those we disagree with; we face difficulty modulating our emotions and returning to tasks after heated discussions; and it is a challenge to sustain attention to long drawn out political discussions and news articles in the media. There is also the challenge of preventing your political thoughts from being blurted out at inappropriate times and places.

This blog post that I am linking here was first posted in the Globe and Mail (a national Canadian newspaper). Dr. Gabor’s reflections on both Clinton and Trump are great food for thought and provide some insight into possible reasons why both candidates behave as they do.

I don’t know who is going to win the 2016 election. In my heart I wish America could go back in time and pick two completely different candidates; but time machines don’t exist and no President will ever be a perfect leader. My hope is that Americans will go to the polls and vote. Don’t be a political couch potato, sitting around having heated discussions with others and the television, but never taking action.