You Aren’t Woke, You Are Paranoid
Statement: “I believe vaccines are hurting more people than they help.”
Ok, can you show me reliable information that demonstrates this?
Answer: “no I can’t because I believe that individuals and organizations all over the world have collaborated to suppress that information.”
Statement: “I believe that public health mandates do not work and are instead meant to strip me of my personal freedom.”
Ok, can you provide evidence that mask wearing and distancing don’t work? And can you show me where the public health officials who recommend those things have ever shown interest in removing your personal freedoms?
Answer: “no I can’t, because the evidence is controlled by people collaborating to hide the truth because they all want total control, those public health officials are manipulated by them too.”
Mental health conditions go dramatically undiagnosed and untreated all over the world. The stigmatization of mental health conditions throughout history has contributed to societies that fail to recognize symptoms of serious mental health disorders. Paranoia is a symptom of obvious as well as evasive mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, narcissism, substance abuse and many others.
Paranoia is defined as:
“delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. “
In other words, imagined wrongs perpetrated against you by individuals who are a part of a more organized and elaborate network. You might recognize this theme in many of the news worthy QAnon “conspiracy theories”. Conspiracy theory is just a non-medical term for the symptom of paranoia.
While working in the emergency department, I treat acutely ill psychosis patients that demonstrate paranoia on a regular basis. Episodes of acute paranoia often have a theme that centers around the patient believing that they are in eminent danger. That danger is many times attributed to either political or religious persecution involving bodily harm. For instance; “I believe someone from the government is stalking me and has implanted a device inside me to track me.” Or “I believe that god is speaking to me (or I am god), and the devil is after me.” Most people can recognize that these thoughts are not rational and that this person needs help, because in their quest to dodge their imaginary persecution, they are at risk of harming themselves or others. For instance I have had patients hit by cars after running into the street to escape. I have had patients who harm others believing that they are “in on it.” While these examples are immediate and extreme, they are not entirely unlike the paranoia we see with conspiratorial thinking in their ability to harm both the paranoid and others around them.
When people subscribe to paranoid ideas that involve vaccines, they risk harming themselves by becoming infected with preventable diseases, and they also risk harming others around them by perpetuating the spread of the disease, or contributing to the reemergence of diseases that have been nearly eliminated.
The symptoms of mental health disorders are more likely to surface during times of stress. This global pandemic is certainly a time of stress, but so is parenthood in general, especially for new parents. Behaviors that accompany both of these examples, like sleep deprivation and increased alcohol or substance consumption, contribute to the symptom of paranoia becoming more pronounced. When people become paranoid, they are likely to believe scenarios that reinforce their worst fears of harm to themselves or people they love, even if those ideas are not rational.
The bottom line is, that we need better, more accessible mental health education and services if we are to truly address the epidemic that is endangering human behavior. The real epidemic is mental health disorders characterized by paranoia.