Mental health and social conditions – Psychology

That living conditions have a great influence on people’s mental health is already sufficiently proven by numerous studies, among which I highlight that of the social psychologist Dario Páez, a professor of whom I was a student, “Mental Health and Psychosocial Factors” in the decade of 1980 and is still valid today. These social determinants are defined as the conditions under which people live, develop and function on a daily basis. They have such an impact on health that they can increase or decrease the risk of disease.

Currently, the living conditions that followed the pandemic reveal a large increase in mental illness, as well as a wide range of psychological disorders. The World Economic Forum in Davos puts the state of mental health at the sixth global risk out of 10, being one of the elements that has worsened the most since the beginning of the pandemic. It recognizes that globally there are pervasive mental health disorders that seriously affect well-being, social cohesion and productivity. Among the determining factors stand out is the increase in loneliness and social isolation, which is expressed in an increase in mood disorders, anxiety and depression. While depression would be associated with isolation, anxiety would be associated with strong integration or overadaptation. In the name of health efficiency, politeness has become subservience and health has escaped freedom and rights. Hostages to fear, the slavery of survival has made us victimize without reflection, acquiesce under duress. There is no mental health that can withstand this siege: “when life events exceed the subject’s ability to respond, there is more chance of psychological disorders”.

Stress disorders also stand out. Among them, we must highlight post-traumatic stress disorder. There was an initial period of prolonged shock characterized by a state of confusion. During this period, the basic references of civilization, whether medical, scientific, epistemological, ethical, media, political, legal, educational, economic, philosophical, and spiritual, disintegrate. The population is lost in this “new (a)normal”. And he doesn’t seem to have the tools to deal with PTSD, hence defense mechanisms like dissociation and denial. In short, we will say that post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder resulting from one or several traumatic events that, due to their intensity, have not been processed. And it manifests itself through chronic physical and psychological symptoms.

The most affected sectors of the population are children and adolescents. And when it comes to mental health issues, suicide takes the cake. Even the famous sociologist Emile Durkheim said that “when social norms place goals beyond the capabilities of the subjects, or when a change in the environment and an increase in the capabilities of the subject make existing social norms meaningless, suicide occurs”.

The “methods” used to contain the pandemic are far more catastrophic than the pandemic itself (closures, social isolation, work stoppages, sedentary lifestyles, excessive digitization, hypoxia…); preventive measures have produced iatrogenesis, the consequences of which have not yet been measured, but are already visible. They have disrupted the processes of connection, the basis of mental health in terms of the availability of social support, interaction and coping skills.

But perhaps one of the conditions that has had the greatest impact, and continues to do so, on mental health outcomes is the totalitarian drift we’ve been witnessing for two years now, characterized by mind manipulation. The informational crushing that the population was subjected to – and continues to be – has thrown it into unprecedented panic and terror, generating anguish as well as stress and behaviors of dependence and subjugation. At the cognitive level, the use of informational bias, confusing information, manipulation of data, use of rhetorical, sophistic and paradoxical jargon, has plunged the population into blockade and hypnotic acquiescence.

The doctrine of pandemic shock, which the Canadian journalist Naomi Klein talks about, has forced us to digitize, to live virtually, thus eliminating what is completely human. Alienation and madness are inevitable in this context. The consequences of this digitization, as brilliantly described by neuroscientist Michel Desmourget in his book The Digital Cretin Factory, are also felt in a whole range of cognitive and behavioral symptoms: attention deficits, memory deficits, sleep disorders , irritability, anxiety, depression, obesity, eating disorders, depression, anxiety… These new forms of alienation brought about by digitalization generate phenomena such as dissociation, derealization, brutalization, lack of empathy and various obsessions.

This doctrine of shock, in the words of psychoanalyst Dr. Harold Searles, is nothing more and nothing less than an effort to drive others, in this case the population, crazy. This modus operandi generates conflicts between individuals and societies based on inoculated hatred, generated tension, provoked wars and created economic blockades.

The madness that implies the megalomaniac paranoid delusion of the postmodern superman described by the historian Yuval Noah Harari – from animals to gods – and which is presented in rational forms, leaves the population in the purest helplessness. Said fallacy consists in rejecting the human being with his illness, his vulnerability, his extremeness, his freedom, his anguish… the paths he leads us on are completely opposite to the health, emotional intelligence, happiness and positivity that, paradoxically, we sold with hype by all sorts of gurus of the dominant ideology. Niet’s Superman at lastzsche is not only possible but feasible. But this right is not democratic. It is reserved for those “chosen” people. The rest will perish in the quagmire of what the famous Russian physiologist Ivan Paulov defined as experimental neurosis, defined as the modification of behavior as a consequence of the application of classical and operant conditioning techniques. In modern terms, we can talk about a projectile strike.

The population goes progressively insane, pretending to live as if they were dead; zombified, dehumanized and enslaved. It no longer has time and space to exist. People live in terror, fear, panic and uncertainty. Marian Rojas Estape, psychiatrist, talks in depth about cortisol, the stress hormone that is activated in times of threat, vigilance, fear and uncertainty. And we have been below these four countries for more than two years now given the current style of governance.

According to psychologist Ariane Balheran and mathematician Vicente Pavan, what we are experiencing now is a collective mental pathology, specifically a delusional collective psychosis or vulgarly mass psychosis. To the uninitiated, the fallacy is easy to recognize as it presents itself as certainty and any hint of dissent will be erased. The other great feature is newspeak, which basically consists of twisting the meaning of words, as the philosopher Hannah Arendt points out. It is a pseudo-logical language created by the individual or collective psyche of delusion. This is the blah blah blah Lacan is talking about. The present (non)being (non)person must have no identity, must be alone, discontented, without ties of belonging, without history or memory, without past or future, of course, without culture or traditions, without a homeland… He must have nothing in your possession. Obviously, it’s hard to keep your sanity in a sick environment.

Solutions? A return to the real, the tangible: to both the physical and the real body, to relationships, to the intersubjective, to the cultivation of leisure, art and culture. Cultivating the land, skills the body. It’s not about exploitation. For example, cultivating the body is not a compulsive exercise in competition with who knows what; This is not running Forrest Gump marathons. Cultivating the body is just the opposite: glorifying slowness, surrendering the activity to contemplation. Ideally, work little, very little, because we don’t have to work ourselves to death for who knows what. It’s about enjoying life. As Marian Rojas Estape would tell us, generate oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin… Be physical with people, avoid isolation. The exact opposite of what happened in the detention center. We need to get out of the mental closed position in which blockage and apathy prevail; experience, experience life. More than a virus, we die very slowly, from inoculated terror and panic and from the effects of delirium.

Paradoxically, all, absolutely all measures that have been taken and continue to be taken are aimed at narrowing the various aspects of human life: reducing access to life experiences such as food, travel, recreation, agriculture. Real experiences have been replaced by virtual worlds. Don’t let live. Total harassment. They keep bombarding with panic, fear, uncertainty, wars, pandemics, climate change… The population is experiencing the boiled frog syndrome. Under these circumstances, how do we stay healthy in a sick environment?

To understand what we experience, the concept of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, who distinguishes between experience (life) and survival, is useful. Translates a society that is afraid of life, of living; which seeks to remain in survival. Life is risk, movement, adventure, pain, suffering, and also sickness and death. That’s the price to pay. The immobilization of life is death, psychologist Ariane Balheran and mathematician Vincent Pavan will tell us. The immobilization of the population turns out to be deadly. The implicit definition of health in 2020 is the absence of potential disease, not even actual disease. It is a stagnant health contrary to human nature. If we had taken the definition of disease from the philosopher Canguillem, “health is the luxury of being able to get sick and get up. Illness is, on the contrary, the reduction of the power (potency) to overcome (…). To live (…) means not only to vegetate and preserve, it means to face risks and succeed”, another rooster will sing to us.

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