Hillary Fundraiser: How I Ended Up In A Psych Ward On Election Night Because Trump Won

Hillary Fundraiser: How I Ended Up In A Psych Ward On Election Night Because Trump Won

I’d like to start this out by saying that I do not mock legitimate mental illness in my writings. It’s a very personal subject and I tend to shy away from anything regarding that content.

That being said, after reading through this piece, I feel like this is more in the vein of attention seeking and not being able to handle a loss very well than actual mental illness. Of course, I’m not nearly qualified to make that kind of medical diagnosis and wouldn’t dare.

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Benjamin Ryan took to The Huffington Post to write about the election night and why he felt the need to check himself into a mental hospital to keep from committing suicide upon seeing the election go for Trump.

I found out Donald Trump had won the Electoral College while midstream in providing a urine sample for the emergency psychiatric staff of a New York City public hospital. The unlockable bathroom door in this unescapable wing was ajar, and I could hear the victorious Mike Pence’s sinister Sunday-school baritone taunting me with the truth from the hallway television.

For the preceding witching hours of election night, I had lain in a fetal position amidst a cast of anonymous men nursing their own crises, my hands clasped tightly over my ears. It wasn’t that I minded the howls of the guy nearby who was shackled to his cot and monitored by an unimpressed brood of policemen. Instead, I wanted to spare myself any word of the far greater insanity unfolding beyond the hospital walls.

Drained of tears, too tired to sleep, I stared at the fluorescent ceiling lights —which, indifferent to our suffering, remained on throughout the night — and endured the passing time by willing my thoughts to vanish into the dull glow. For a second, I imagined someone would burst in and proclaim, “It’s all right, Hillary won!” and I would bound out of bed, awoken from this nightmare.

This was all just a dream, right?

A while before, during the final hour of November 8, I had committed myself to institutional psychiatric care. A generation or two ago they would have said I was suffering a nervous breakdown: catatonic, plagued by involuntary jerking motions (my head furiously shaking “No! ”), speech patterns disjointed, weeping uncontrollably.

Terror drove me to this interrupted state. I was afraid for the nation, for the stigmatized and oppressed. I was also afraid for my own life. Because the values and principles I hold dear felt fatally incompatible with the hate and bigotry that Trumpism had come to stand for. I did not want to live in a world that would elect such a man as president.

I tumbled from quite the perch of high expectations. An official “Hillblazer,” I raised $187,000 for Hillary Clinton and down-ballot Democrats, mostly by selling tickets to events headlined by first-name-basis gay icons — Cher, Barbra, Hillary herself. (I was at the September gala when she dropped the “deplorables” line.) I canvassed in New York for our state’s primary and in Pennsylvania during the general. I phone banked, I recruited. To social media, I became The Hillary Guy, famous for my ever-buoyant posts and pictures about my candidate of choice.

I capped it all off by marshaling a rotating brigade of 22 out-of-town campaign volunteers during a four-day door-knocking effort in Philadelphia leading into Election Day. So feverish was my commitment that I embarked on the exhausting long weekend only a week into a shaky recovery from an emergency appendectomy.

My fundraising scored me the hottest ticket in town: entrance to the VIP wing of the would-be election Victory Party at the Javits Center in Manhattan. (It has a glass ceiling!) I bounded into the space at 6 o’clock in a frolic of an outfit: a red belt, white skinny jeans, and a blue Hillary-as-Rosie-the-Riveter T-shirt, my hair lavishly coiffed into a confident pompadour.

At first the sprawling party was a lark. I hobnobbed and table hopped. I couldn’t wait for a catharsis 25 years in the making. My only concern was the inevitable hangover.

Then came the 9 o’clock hour. Results from battleground states trickled in and an incredulous anxiety took hold. I left the VIP party area for a spell and stood with the expectant crowd before the elaborate victory speech stage. Staring saucer-eyed at the CNN screen above the set, I began to worry that my conspicuous outfit made me a sitting duck for the army of television cameras.

Sure enough, just as I bolted back to the VIP area, I got a text from a worried friend who had spotted me on MSNBC. “Are you alright?” he asked.

“I want to die,” I replied.

Read the rest of his story here.

To me it sounds like this kid is not used to being told “no” and simply couldn’t handle it. I know about the stresses of life and how one seemingly innocuous event can send you into a downward spiral of depression, but this is so over-the-top and dramatic that I feel almost angry. Angry because there are so many people suffering from mental illness and this is the guy who gets publicized? This is the guy who gets to make the headlines?

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