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Pizer, S. (2017). Shock and the Search for Allied Power. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(2):115-117.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(2):115-117

Shock and the Search for Allied Power

Stuart A. Pizer, Ph.D., ABPP

Throughout the final pre-election weeks, I had a new obsession: CNN and Facebook. Although always keeping up with the news, I’d almost never accessed my Facebook account, except when one of my granddaughters posted a new photo. Now my attention was funneled into news and opinion sources. I could not turn away from the endless yelling of partisan talking heads. I hated and yelled at surrogates on the screen. I shared links. I knew that, as the election increasingly became a cliffhanger, I was looking desperately for some basis for hope and stability.

Election night I could not go to bed. At 12:30, with a darkening forecast, I tried. At 2:30, still awake, I again turned on CNN looking for a miracle in Milwaukee and Detroit. Wednesday morning time stood still; the ongoing flow of life stopped. The outcome was in black and white. (Indeed. Black-and-white thinking. Black and White split off by hate and fear.) I had clung to the sanity of CNN commentator Van Jones. I still did.

For days I felt thrown into what felt like a deflection point in world history. Early 1930s Germany. The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. 9/11. I still do as the passionate intensity of the worst is gathered toward the White House. I ask myself if this is hysterical thinking. But I continue to feel that the widespread gravity I fear is being borne out. Because it could get that bad.

My body state showed all the signs of shock and trauma: A strange emptiness and fatigue. Dread. Disbelief. Unreality.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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