Mental illness on a grand scale

The other day, Michael Brendan Dougherty tweeted

"Took a nature hike today with the family. Still a shocking amount of mask-wearing  by fit young people in the middle of a nearly empty trail through the woods. Need more of you to forward that @DLeonhardt email."

I just have to get a few things off my chest -- sorry, MBD, your tweet is the res.

Lots of responses, lots, on a scale from "why do you care" to "you're a monster." 

Well, you should care because of reality -- it actually matters if everyone around you is performatively mentally ill and/or deluded. Noticing such things is actually a survival tactic, and you have way more to fear from a society of wackos than a non-existent outdoors drop of Covid. 

Wearing masks all the time, indoors or out, has a clinical name: Illness anxiety disorder, commonly known as Hypochondria. (Voluntarily, that is. Involuntarily, one is just a victim of what Bishop Schneider aptly called "Sanitary Dictatorship" -- like if you're a worker at Lowes, or a child.)

One response to MBD's tweet referred to wearing a mask "just like I used to in my job as surgeon." This is just more delusion. I've had surgery, lots -- I bet you have too. The surgeon didn't wear a mask when he talked to us in his office or walked to his car or when he came to our bedside on his rounds, in company with eight or so other doctors (residents, interns). Perhaps he wore it in the OR, but if he did, it wasn't your bandana or your gaiter. It wasn't even your N95 that you keep in the car console. So let's just drop that.

But the point is, in a hospital there is vulnerability. In a time of uncertain heightened viral activity, there is vulnerability. This vulnerability is limited, and if we act as if it's not limited, we are being hypochondriacs (or falling victim to those who leverage fear against us).

Hypochondria is quaint and silly when it's your great-aunt Tilly and her bag of supplements, OTC remedies, and sketchy leftover prescriptions. When it's a mass delusion, you have a problem.

The biggest problem is that children are being seriously harmed by everyone around them thinking that at any moment we are all going to die of something that has pretty much receded and never seriously threatened most of us when it was a thing. 

Hypochondriacs are notorious for being made anxious by children -- by their health, exuberance, and liveliness. In the past, we protected children from these poor objects of pity (often by mocking them until they subsided if they were impervious to more mature and subtle hints). Today they are running rampant -- over our children.

MBD mentions his child's school, that it's installing plexiglass around the desks. He correctly identifies this action as "superstitious overcautiousness" (well, it's hypochondria, a clinical condition, driven by politics, but close enough). 

He also mentions that parents can't go in the school at all. 

That is madness. I hate to keep using these words, but truly, if two years ago authorities told you that you couldn't enter your child's school, well, they wouldn't have dared. Most sane parents reasonably balk at relinquishing their children to an entity that refuses them access.

I would advise that you simply do not send your child anywhere that bars your entry. The reasons should be obvious, although the collective loss of mind troubles me and I am not sure you get it.

What he calls "deep blue suburbia" has a way of distorting your perception if you live there or aspire to. But they move the goalposts until you find yourself accepting so much that is counter-rational that someone from even 20 years ago would not recognize what is going on -- would be literally at a loss to understand.

I want to be clear: sending a child to "learn" in a place where he has to do any of the things day in and day out -- wear masks, stay distant, sit behind plexiglass -- is to inflict upon him the destructive effects of others' mental illness. (Similar to gender ideology, to which this Covid tyranny bears much likeness.)

The original tweet, the one I mentioned first, apparently approvingly tags David Leonhardt of the New York Times. Leonhardt seems fairly reasonable about the risk of Covid to children, but he also seems to think that we should vaccinate and then we can stop the sanitary theater of masks and distancing.

But it is essential that everyone understand that vaccines are simply the higher level of this dystopian video game we are stuck in, this political manipulation of mass hypochondria for the ends of power. 

The first level of this nightmarish game was to stay home, even at the risk of our jobs and overall health. We were promised that to do so would take care of the problem and no other measures would be necessary. As you will recall, it was to be for two weeks. (Read The Price of Panic to understand where the models and so-called remedies came from and how based on reality they were/are -- hint: not at all).

The second level of the game was to wear masks. A touching reliance on masks quickly took hold. People who had to get very close to other people and shout to be heard seemed to think that they were protected or were protecting others by wearing them. We had to shelter in place and wear masks and when outbreaks still occurred; we were berated for not doing both these things enough. 

Soon we were masking little children and trying not to think about what sort of anti-hygienic experiment that is.

The third level is vaccines. Pace Leonhardt, we are still also playing and will continue to play the first two levels while thinking ourselves on this higher plane. We will subject ourselves to this experimental protocol (one which pushes out, in a sort of public health Gresham's Law, the simpler but more effective curative protocols) in the naive hope that we will somehow return to a normal that we can barely remember -- but most importantly, have been taught to fear.

That is the price of hypochondria. Since risks are real (however small) and we will all die, once a person gives in to this mental illness, it will never seem rational to abandon it. 

And our children -- the poorer they are, the more so -- have and will continue to suffer immensely for it. Rational, non-insane people need to stop going along with this madness.


  1. I agree with all you’ve said, but I have a question: How do we begin? I have seen people who take off their masks during Mass and that seems easy as the priest is their friend and won’t confront them. It is pretty safe to assume no trouble will come of it. But what really takes courage, in my opinion, is to show up maskless at the supermarket or the hardware store. I haven’t seen anyone do that yet. Is that what should be done? The psychology involved in this is very complex and everyone has been so convinced that following all the “rules” is the only moral and virtuous approach. You would not have a chance to give a logical explanation of your actions at the supermarket. The more likely result would be that people would tell you what an inconsiderate person you are and then the manager would kick you out. I am at a loss as to how to go about working towards a return to collective sanity.

    1. Well, where I live, I just... go without a mask. Sometimes I get pushback, usually I don't. I pray to the angels to be with me and to offer me safe conduct!
      I make up my mind that I won't interact with negativity before I go in. If someone mentions/offers a mask I say "thanks I'm all set"
      If it's a store employee I say "there are exemptions" and usually they back off.
      There is no point in imagining all the possible scenarios -- most people don't want to interact with others.
      But truly, I go everywhere without a mask!

    2. I haven’t worn a mask since January except in medical situations after being asked. I decided I’m not going to act out something I don’t believe. My friend and family do similar and we share if we have good experiences in various places so that helps.
      The ONLY time someone has said something to me was a
      1. security guard at the hospital (and I called patient relations because he was rude when he could have been polite)
      2. Several people who have thanked me for not wearing a mask.
      I walk with my head high and smile at people who look at me. I also give people plenty of room.

    3. It's actually easier in a grocery store or other large shop. I just stroll in; don't make a lot of eye contact. Smile if I do. I've never been told to wear a mask. I went to the hair salon after our governor reinstated the mask mandate. I just told myself to be strong. Everyone was wearing a mask. Not me. Wasn't admonished; just got my hair cut.

    4. I live in California, Los Angeles no less. It took me a loooooong time to work up the courage as I tend to be non confrontational to a fault, but by April of this year, I stopped wearing a mask anywhere. I’ve had a minimum of negative interactions. A couple have been upsetting. But mostly it’s no big deal. I know which grocery store won’t give me trouble and I shop there. I am almost always the only one in there without a mask. It’s lonely, I won’t lie. But I can’t go back. It’s a violation of my conscience at this point, as I firmly believe the Lord has asked me not to assent to the lie that I am a walking pathogen. Anyway, last week I saw another woman without one and even though I am painfully shy with strangers, I walked up to her and she said, “It’s really nice to see your face.” I got choked up and said, “I was just about to say the same to you.” We must begin somehow.

  2. I agree, broadly, with what you are saying. However as someone who has suffered most of my life with very real and painful health anxiety, I have a hard time not taking offense at the suggestion that *mocking* such struggles is a helpful, Christian, charitable response. People have certainly mocked my anxiety, but I've never found that it helped me conquer it.

    1. Abby, I have anxieties too. I'm reporting here, not suggesting. I think that most people do mock (perhaps not to their face, but) those who are ridiculously hypochondriac.
      I think that if people are going to go to these lengths to intrude on others' freedoms and they won't respond to logic, then they should realize they will be mocked -- it's the only weapon left.
      If someone is genuinely fearful, my advice is to do one's best to help them calm down. I rarely interact with fearful people but try to just stay away from them when they try to impose their fear on me.

      It should be clear that I wouldn't endorse someone mocking your anxiety.

      I think it's important to understand that one thing about this syndrome we are in now -- masking outside, enclosing children in plexiglass -- is that the more it's reinforced -- even by sympathy -- the worse it gets. There is probably very little that will convince someone that Covid is out to get them...

      But if someone is *using* the fear *that they purposely instilled in others for their own ends* then THOSE people should be mocked.
      The people who responded to MBD's tweet fall in that latter category. They must be stood up to!

      The well being of children is at stake.

    2. That should read: There is probably very little that will convince someone that Covid is NOT out to get them...

      And really, try not to be offended. Instead, let's think about how to make things better for children.

    3. Abby, the mocking is of people who have deliberately and willingly allowed themselves to be crippled by this covid anxiety. Even that is to be pitied more than mocked. However, these people also insist that everyone else either actually suffer or act as if they suffer from the same anxiety. That absolutely should be mocked, rejected, and eliminated.

      I would suspect that you have recognized that your anxiety is not a good thing, that you've developed methods of dealing with it, and that you do not try to get others to suffer your same anxieties. You should not be mocked and I have great respect and sympathy for your struggles.

      Please do not lump yourself into the same group that Leila is talking about. You are not the problem!

      I wish you well!

  3. Maria, the answer is yes! Be brave and go into the store with no mask. The employees are usually fine, but sometimes customers can get nasty. I really hate confrontation and I hate people thinking me inconsiderate. I risk both because the mask most definitely is tyranny. The rude ones, I ignore...just look at them like they're weird and you dont understand them. The polite ones, I just tell them that I can't wear a mask. My state has an exemption clause...I think all govt mandates do. If the store has a policy, I just tell them, "oh, that's a shame" and I leave. They can't believe I would rather leave than wear a mask, but if just a few more people would show that decision as hurting their bottom line, the stores/restaurants would get the message.

    So, yes, please be bold. But dont ever fold and wear the mask after you have said you can't. I wear it to the doctor's office because I *must* access that service. I am willing to walk out of every single other place if they demand masking. I will find another restaurant and I will buy my milk and eggs elsewhere. I will do without almost everything to fight this tyranny.

    Please join me!

  4. It all depends where you in Ontario, we were allowed exemptions at first but then the rules changed late last year and now there are NO exemptions anywhere. If you can't wear a mask, you don't enter a store, period. Every store has a sign saying this. I think I've said this before but some stores also have big signs telling people to call the police if they see someone not wearing a mask. The sign says this is according to the new laws. Who knows what the laws really are.

    Not that this matters much as we are currently not allowed to buy anything but food and medicine in a physical store! We need prayers.

    1. So bad.
      All I can say is to keep your eyes open in case anyone is challenging the mandates.
      I will say that our stores have those signs, but almost always it's fine once you get inside.
      But I can understand that in your situation you don't want to test it!

    2. In Ontario, it most absolutely is not fine. The store can and will call either the police or bylaw enforcement. We aren't playing around up here. The first person to die of covid in my town was a friend who worked in a local grocery store and acquired his infection at work. I am so grateful to God that I live in Canada where for the most part we see this anti masking nonsense for what it is, selfish American style identity politics. How can you be pro life and refuse to care for the lives of the workers that literally keep society running. I'm very certain you'll delete this comment as I know someone disagreeing with you triggers a very nasty response from you typically but I hope you'll allow my opinion that you can be catholic, you can be moral and you can wear a mask for the protection of the most vulnerable people in our society.

    3. People do get Covid. We know that.

      However, those places that require masking fare no better, and sometimes worse, than those that do not.

      Your society does not seem to be "running" in that apparently you can't leave your homes except to buy food and drugs. Hardly a "life."

      Your comment is rude and constitutes a "nasty response" -- and I will delete the next one along with this one if you continue with your tone.

  5. And what to do about archdiocesan mask mandates!? I really thought (naively) that things were moving in a better direction a few months ago, and surely they wouldn’t impose even stricter regulations about masking and then our archbishop mandated masks for every parish at all times. I don’t feel I can even stand up to it in my parish.

    1. It's really scandalous. My husband's new book, Contagious Faith, addresses the whole issue.

      I won't go to church in a mask, that's for sure. We all know to stay home when sick and there is something wrong with seeing masks in church. See my post with the letter to the bishop in Michigan, below.

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  7. In Manitoba it's a $400 fine for not masking indoors. I don't know if the courts are upholding these fines or not. If they don't I might consider goong without the mask. Otherwise I could only afford a fine or so. I don't see the point of pushback. Most people want to mask. so the expensive example wouldn't embolden anyone but the small minority who are sane. So sad.

    1. Your small minority may be larger than you think it is. Elijah had no idea how many faithful were still in Israel.

    2. This is very true! Our challenge today is to figure out how to get in touch with those who are like-minded. Those in power have succeeded in isolating us and instilling fear in the very idea of expressing an opinion! We have to think hard about how to get around them and we have to be brave in overcoming that isolation.

  8. Thanks for this post - it is absolutely insane, this loss of common sense. If no one pushes back in a calm, coherent manner, we'll have uglier consequences to face. If you will actually be fined and can't afford it, then wear a mask with a message ....something like "Masks- Political Theater" or "Communism" or.....fill in the blank. Science does not back the effectiveness of OCD mask wearing - so it isn't selfish not to wear a mask!

  9. Missed this one back in the day. Great post. I especially like your statement that it matters because reality - 'it actually matters if everyone around you is performatively mentally ill and/or deluded.' Filing this away as a correct and succinct response on many topics to which we are pressured to conform. Marriage and alphabet soup politics, dating culture, content of modern books and media, education policy and curriculum in the public schools, everything Covid connected, you name it - why do you care, they say, when it is your choice simply to not partake? Because : reality people, it matters that everyone around me is performatively mentally ill and/or deluded!!!