8 Ways the “Evil Ruler” is Making Everything Worse
Just for a moment, pretend that an “Evil Ruler” was running our world with the intent of causing more mental illness. (Note: this Evil Ruler is a completely fictitious character that I conceived of long before the coronavirus pandemic ever hit and that I wrote about in my book The End of Mental Illness. This fictional character is NOT a representation of any real-life political figures, political party, government leaders, policymakers, or any other person or entity).
These days, it seems this no-good fictional character has been going wild with the pandemic, the lockdown, the economic fallout, the protests, the looting, and more—all in an effort to make us more anxious, depressed, and stressed.
Here are 8 ways the imaginary Evil Ruler is making our current situation even worse.
1. Waging biological warfare.
With the stay-at-home orders, the Evil Ruler has been promoting quarantine baking with high-glycemic and pro-inflammatory foods, spending hours on the couch binge-watching TV shows, and endlessly scrolling through social media feeds—all of which contribute to depression. And spending more time indoors robs us of much-needed vitamin D, which we get from sunshine Low levels of this important nutrient are also linked to depression and lowered immunity, putting us at greater risk of developing COVID-19 and having poorer outcomes from the virus.
2. Calling it “social” distancing.
In terms of COVID-19, we need “physical” distancing to help stop the spread of the virus, but we need a “social” connection more than ever. Calling it social distancing has inadvertently caused even more people to avoid others to the detriment of their mental health, since living alone and isolating from others has been shown to increase depression and other conditions. In addition, being alone or feeling lonely can cause people with addiction problems to slip back into unhealthy habits.
3. Cleaning with toxic products.
Encouraging us to obsessively wash our hands with sanitizers, wipe counters, and clean packages that come into the house exposes us all to more harmful toxins. Most household cleaning products are filled with toxic chemicals that poison the brain and increase the likelihood of psychiatric issues.
4. Pumping out frightening news 24/7.
With news channels spewing out terrifying projections and showing scary images in an effort to “keep us informed,” it’s enough to fire up the fear and anxiety centers of the brain. The constant updates also keep you in a state of FOMO (fear of missing out) that keeps you glued to the anxiety-inducing messages, making you feel even worse.
5. Giving conflicting recommendations.
Being faced with too many opinions and opposing viewpoints about the best ways to stay safe—for example, wear masks, don’t wear masks, wear masks sometimes—fuels uncertainty. When you don’t have clear direction on what to do it drives stress, anxiety, and feelings of powerlessness and depression
6. Spreading conspiracy theories.
Suggesting that there are underlying forces that are intentionally causing the spread of the virus or the collapse of the economy for nefarious reasons ramps up paranoia and delusions, especially in people who already struggle with conditions like schizophrenia.
7. Promoting pills as the one and only way to treat mental illness.
Airing commercials from pharmaceutical companies that make it seem as if taking a pill is all you have to do to overcome conditions like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder does a disservice to us all. Taking medication should never be the first or only thing you do to address a mental health condition. In fact, there are many alternatives to antidepressants and natural solutions to calm anxiety that can help you feel better now and later.
8. Continuing to insist that mental illness is all in the mind.
The Evil Ruler continues to hammer home the traditional belief that mental illness is psychological. But brain imaging studies clearly show that conditions like ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are not mental health issues, but rather brain health issues that steal your mind. Getting your brain right by following a brain healthy lifestyle will help heal your mind even during times of extreme stress, so you can resist the Evil Ruler’s efforts to create mental illness.
UPDATE from Daniel G. Amen, MD:
Depression, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.
At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.