COVID-19: Understanding the Numbers #coronavirus — Watts Up With That?

Guest post by Neil Lock As those acquainted with me will know, long ago I was trained as a mathematician. I’ve forgotten most of the specifics I learned. But I’ve retained the framework; even if it’s a bit rusty. For almost three months now, I’ve been looking at the numbers on the progress of the […]

COVID-19: Understanding the Numbers #coronavirus — Watts Up With That?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Not Fearing COVID-19

Man and woman kissing via two white iPhones next to coffee mug and spoon on wooden table

I Am Stronger Than A Virus

COVID has definitely affected the mental health of many people worldwide. It continues to affect the mental health of many because it brings pain, fear and destruction upon humanity. Anytime that there is a disaster in our society, shockwaves are sent to peoples’ minds, affecting their mental health adversely. Have I mentioned that watching the media does not help? The media is almost as contagious as the virus itself.

You have to learn how to not fear this virus and to continue to live your life as if there was no virus, but by also practicing good hygiene and the necessary precautions of staying safe and not acquiring the virus. Social distancing have become two annoying words and I hate to see it become part of our psychological relations, but unfortunately humanity has already been infected with this concept.

Don’t you think it’s about time to replace “social distancing” with “common sense?” This involves not being to close to strangers, but this does not mean that you should not be hugging, shaking hands or even kissing those who you know or are close to you. I know, I know . . . the media and “top health experts” will tell you otherwise, but don’t you think that the social distancing that they want us to practice is adversely affecting our mental health?

At the end of the day, we have to live our lives and this should not involve being locked up in our homes and practicing “social distancing” 24/7. When we do this, we allow the virus to win. Yes, there are currently many lives being lost in the southern U.S. as well as in South America and Africa, but there must be another solution that we can effectively implement. We cannot keep practicing social distancing for the next decade or we will truly lose our minds.

What are some suggestions that you think we can implement that will prevent us from becoming infected, but at the same time allow us to live a normal life again?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Inside The World Of Mania

Angry man with colored clown face

COVID-19 Sparked My Manic Episode

Imagine previously working and holding a job with no formal psychiatric history. You were attending your job every day and coming back home with no significant issues in your life. Until the coronavirus hit, resulting in being laid off and sitting empty-handed at home. The stress of losing your job became overwhelming to the point of newly emerging psychiatric symptoms presenting themselves. But you didn’t see them as psychiatric symptoms because on the contrary, you felt on top of the world!

Some describe it as a “natural high;” feeling so good and elated without actually consuming any drugs. After losing their job, they noticed that they were much more talkative and experienced a 1000% increase in energy. All of a sudden, their mind was coming up with many project ideas and business plans which they previously never entertained. They felt like they had something new to present to the world which they never had before COVID-19 hit.

They were also making random and bizarre phone calls to people who they never previously interacted with on the phone; family members were getting freaked out. All of these symptoms are characteristic of mania, which is classic of bipolar disorder. Patients report loving the experience even though they may deny being manic, because they enjoy the extra energy and grandiose thoughts that come with it.

But with mania also comes irritability, shouting, impulsive and unpredictable behavior. Imagine being so naturally wired that you can fully function during the day by only sleeping 3 hours at night; you feel like the energizer bunny on meth! You feel like nothing can stop you and frankly, you don’t want to be stopped because nothing compares to this natural high; you didn’t even have to take drugs to tap into it!

Fortunately, many manic patients do not last for long in society; they often end up in inpatient psychiatric care. This is where they receive medications such as Depakote and Zyprexa to target their symptoms. These patients may be in the hospital anywhere from a few weeks to even a few months; it depends on the severity of their mania and how they react to the medications.

It’s interesting to note that there are patients who were never manic prior to the coronavirus, but have now become manic after the pandemic hit. This goes to show you how the coronavirus can by such a powerful trigger for mental illness, even if you never suffered any psychiatric symptoms in the past. The mind is very vulnerable to environmental triggers and that’s why it’s important to cherish your mental health on a daily basis.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Second Wave Is Forming

Digital map with number of total deaths from coronavirus

Coronavirus 2.0

Just when we thought that the coronavirus scare was going way, we were pulled right back in with more news of a second wave expected to hit next winter. However, this wave is expected to be worse because it will be at the start of the influenza season, where two forces will join together to attempt to take down as many humans as possible. The scary part is that we haven’t even finished with the first wave.

So if this is correct, then what will the next 7 months look like? Will we recover from this first coronavirus wave and relax for a while, before we gather the troops at the border and prepare for a second round of bullets? This goes to show you how much more powerful and deadly natural disasters can be as compared to human evilness.

But let’s not ignore all the other natural events that will also continue to occur, such as earthquakes and forest fires in California, hurricanes in Louisiana and Florida and tornados in middle America. In addition, influenza, the common cold and other potential diseases will hit as well. And for those who believe in global warming, well . . . you can add that too.

Let’s not forget the economy which is being slowly destroyed by the current wave of the coronavirus. The federal government is printing trillions of dollars out of thin air as if we had a magical money tree; this tactic will not work in the long run and they know that very well. But they must try something as desperate times call for desperate measures.

With the unemployment rate continuing to rise, many Americans will continue to remain out of work, relying on their savings and potential future governmental stimulus checks. Even if this current coronavirus clears up, many Americans will not be able to go back to work because their businesses are now buried. All of this will further contribute to poor mental health and many Americans will find themselves with a new diagnosis.

How are you handling this current pandemic and the news of a possible second wave this upcoming winter?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Planes Are Dropping COVID-19

Flying plane in dark leaving trail of smoke behind

When Reality Turns Into A Video Game

We’ve touched upon mental health patients who were previously stable and decompensated from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as patients who were not stable in the first place and who further decompensated mentally. But we haven’t touched upon normal people with no preexisting mental health conditions who became psychotic due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There are people who were previously functional prior to the Chinese virus hitting the streets of America. These people were going to work, were completely functional, interacting with friends and family and going on with their normal lives; not even their families were ever suspicious of any loose nuts or bolts in their mental health.

Until the coronavirus hit. Some of these people reported that they were watching a lot of news and constantly worrying about people dying; imagine a tea kettle exploding. They would watch the news so much that it slowly starting impacting their lives: they stopped going to work and started spending more time isolated at home.

Keep in mind that these people never had any previous mental health symptoms. Now that work was out of the picture, they found themselves at home entertaining strange thoughts, such as the UPS truck driver delivering them a package filled with a bomb or the actual virus itself.

If that’s not enough, they even started experiencing visual hallucinations for the first time. Some of these visions included seeing shadows on the walls and the sky turning pitch black. They even started to believe that their cell phone was being traced and also reported hearing voices in their head telling them that they would get the coronavirus.

At this point in time, they became completely nonfunctional within a matter of a month. Keep in mind that not everyone has insight into their psychosis; to some of these people, what they were experiencing felt like reality, but in reality, they were experiencing a video game: planes dropping COVID-19 in the form of dark smoke, evil characters dropping off contaminated UPS packages and demons entering their minds and whispering, “gotcha ya!”

The point is that some people cannot handle catastrophic events like the current coronavirus pandemic; the intensity of the situation overwhelms their rational mind, converting it into an irrational battlefield. So they end up getting admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit and placed on psychotropic medications such as Zyprexa and Thorazine. Thankfully, these medications are powerful enough to end their psychosis but not all return back to being completely normal.

Do you know anyone adversely affected by the coronavirus?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

COVID-19 And The Illuminati

Paranoid woman screaming with hands on head standing in wooden house

Paranoid And Anxious

Believe it or not, there are people who are decompensating mentally because of conspiracy theories. In the past, conspiracy theories did not contribute to a mental decompensation; if anything, it was other issues in their life that affected their mental health. But during this coronavirus pandemic, some mental health patients who previously entertained conspiracy theories such as The Illuminati aiming for world domination are ending up in the hospital.

It’s not just the conspiracy theories themselves that’s taking a toll on their mental health, but rather the environmental triggers associated with COVID-19. Some of these patients end up losing their jobs and experiencing marital problems, leading to anxiety, stress and paranoia. Substance use also becomes an issue; they start to drink alcohol or even revisit drugs from the past such as cocaine, marijuana and hallucinogens to make them feel better.

When you add all of these stressors together on top of excessive hours spent at home researching topics such as The illuminati, The Bilderberg group and The New World Order, it can be enough for your mind to crack wide open and release all its demons onto you. When this happens, these patients begin to exhibit troublesome and worrisome behavior which causes their families to panic.

Some of these behaviors may include making impulsive decisions, getting drunk, doing cocaine and staring into space while not responding. Their families will describe it as, “It’s like he’s lost his mind. He just stands there and stares.” When these patients arrive on the inpatient psychiatric ward, they admit to their disturbing behavior but still stick by their beliefs of The illuminati being responsible for releasing COVID-19 into society.

Some of you may ask, “What in the world is The illuminati and why would they do that?” It’s a conspiracy theory based on the idea that really wealthy elite individuals are calling the shots regarding what is going on in the world. In this scenario, the conspiracy is based on the idea that this cabal created COVID-19 in order to cause as many deaths worldwide, based on their longtime agenda of population control. Conspiracy theorists believe that The illuminati got the right virus but too low of a lethality.

Unfortunately, when you have underlying mental health problems and environmental stressors such as the coronavirus in your life, brushing up on your conspiracy theories is not the best idea. It may very well end you up in the hospital and as one psychiatric patient said,

“I can’t believe what’s happening to me. I’m in the hospital sitting here talking about the illuminati.”

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Schizophrenia Gone Wild

Schizophrenic woman wearing face mask staring out the window

Coronavirus Affecting Stabilized Psychotic Patients

Many psychotic patients who were previously stabilized on their medications are beginning to decompensate from the coronavirus. It’s not necessarily that they are becoming exposed to it. It has more to do with them watching the news at home which is causing them to become worried and paranoid that they will get it. Some actually develop symptoms of COVID-19 and stop taking their medications, wrongfully concluding that their medications are causing the symptoms. This is schizophrenia gone wild.

Psychotic patients have a very fragile line of stability that they often walk on. Things such as stopping medications, environmental stressors, changes in their lifestyle or relationship disputes can be enough to put them over the edge and cause them to decompensate. When they do decompensate, it’s very obvious to family members; this is not a small and irrelevant change in behavior.

They will start to display odd or unusual behavior such as:

  • Believing that their deceased parents are calling them from the window
  • Shouting and arguing with loved ones
  • Making verbal and even physical threats
  • Calling random people at 2 am
  • Becoming catatonic and remaining mute for long periods of time

. . . and the list goes on. These are not behaviors that all patients experience; it was just a list provided for you to get an idea. When a schizophrenic patient decompensates, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily start to hear voices in their head or see things that aren’t there. It can simply mean that their behavior and thought process are disorganized. They may continuously shift positions in bed, flop their hands, ask if the apple juice on the table is alright in that position and even claim that it’s hot outside at the beginning of April in New York City.

It’s really sad to observe and talk to decompensated schizophrenics because you get a glimpse into their world and how much different their behavior is compared to people who don’t have a mental illness. Perhaps in their eyes they are not suffering but in ours they clearly are; they cannot function in society when they are decompensated. That’s why they’re in the hospital in the first place!

But keep in mind that even though a schizophrenic may not be currently at their baseline, does not mean that they cannot hold a conversation with you. Many can hold fairly normal conversations but they may make odd remarks. They’ll usually be able to answer all of your questions and many remain calm and pleasant during an interview. Just because a person has the diagnosis of “schizophrenia” does not mean that they cannot hold a normal conversation with you.

Schizophrenics are actually pretty cool!

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your family and friends!

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Trials & Tribulations During The COVID-19 Disaster

Sad brunette white woman sitting outdoors near train tracks during daytime

Isolated With Painful Memories

As every day passes, we continue to hear more negative news in the media regarding new developments on the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump is calling this a Chinese virus, the democrats and republicans continue to bash each other’s heads and hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, all while people continue to remain isolated at home with no end in site. Trials and tribulations during the COVID-19 disaster is something very real and common!

Many people are losing their jobs! Can you imagine how it must feel to be temporarily laid off not knowing when your next paycheck will be? Especially for people who don’t have enough money to pay their next couple of rents! And it’s not like you can run outside and find a corner job to hop on; who in the world is hiring these days?

During these sour times, relationships also tend to go south. Couples break up with each other, marriages fall apart and parent-teen relationships become more disturbing. The regular rhythm of people’s lives has been disrupted and many do not handle change well. In fact, the most successful people in life are masters at effectively handling change, but when it comes to relationships, that can be quite difficult if the two parties involved are not mentally and emotionally stable!

Unfortunately, many are catching COVID, making their home experience even more difficult than it originally was. This is especially true for states such as New York, Louisiana and Michigan. Let’s not forget how hard-hit Italy, Spain and China are! And the worst part about it is that the virus is showing no signs of slowing down; a hungry eating machine, it plans on devouring as many human lives as it possibly can.

And then there’s mental health. When you already are suffering from depression and anxiety at baseline and have to deal with trials and tribulations during social isolation, things can escalate rather quickly! Especially when you are also experiencing painful memories of your past; these tend to come out at random times, like when you have a lot of free time on your hands.

This blog was created to help us come together not only during terrible times such as these, but every single day going forward from now on. The goal is to make as much of humanity connect on mental health issues as we possibly can. Only through honesty and forthcoming conversations will we be able to achieve this. One way that you can contribute is by sharing this blog with all your friends and family and by spreading the word about The DSM Ready Movement on your social media platforms!

Together we will one day be able to make The DSM Ready Movement become a reality in the eyes of the entire world!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Psychotic And COVID-19 Positive

Psychotic man leaning on frosted glass panel door

When Mental Illness Trumps COVID-19

When psychosis infects your brain and reality retires on vacation, anything can hit you and you’ll likely remain oblivious. That’s because psychosis takes over your thoughts and the way you interpret reality. Imagine the part of your mind that is in tune with reality laying on the beach holding a corona and stating, “I’m done . . . I can no longer deal with his psychosis. Peace.” What’s left in your brain is psychosis with an evil smile stating, “My turn.”

The problem with psychosis is that even patients who are infected with COVID-19 may not be aware of their symptoms . . . or they may be aware but not fully comprehend the nature and severity of their illness and situation. You may try to explain to them that they are infected with a deadly disease and they may look at you like, “COVID? Is that a satellite dish detecting gray space folks?”

When a patient suffers from psychosis and COVID-19, oftentimes, the psychosis trumps the physical disorder. That’s because psychosis takes over the mind and when the mind is distracted, physical symptoms become slowly buried. Unless severe pain is involved, shortness of breath and fever are no match in the ring versus auditory hallucinations and delusional fantasies.

So what becomes of this situation is the question. The patient will end up being treated for the coronavirus and hopefully recover, while quarantined that is. But as far as their insight goes, they will not care that much about their physical symptoms. They may complain that their cough is getting worse or even their shortness of breath, but as compared to a person with no psychosis, their complaints will be minor.

It’s always important to keep in mind that a psychotic patient cannot always relate to reality as well as other people can. It depends on the severity of their psychosis, but psychosis is psychosis at the end of the day . . . something is still off in their thought process and content. That’s why we have to be extra cautious with patients suffering from a mental illness and who are COVID positive . . . they may never report their symptoms in the first place.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)