There is no question that humanity is under assault from an invisible enemy. But what exactly is this invisible enemy? A virus? China? Medical tyranny? As long as this enemy remains invisible, it has the upper hand. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to bring to light the irregular warfare strategies implemented by the enemy of the people. A powerfully, effective tactic being used by this invisible enemy is psychological warfare. What is psychological warfare, you say?
Psychological warfare is an outright attack on the mind and emotions of people caught in the crosshairs of the battle for ultimate control and domination. This type of warfare is employed to brainwash the population so that we are easily maneuvered to respond according to the meta-narrative being woven. (See article Agenda 21/Agenda 2030). With respect to COVID-19, the narrative goes something like this –
COVID-19 is a deadly virus that spreads rapidly from person to person. Asymptomatic people can spread the disease similarly to symptomatic virus carriers; therefore, we must be cautious, abstaining from hugs and handshakes. In order to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus, all citizens should adhere to the executive orders of their state governors, as well as follow their local public health orders. These orders may include: the shutdown of all “non-essential” businesses; the lockdown of its citizens; the cancellation of graduations, weddings, and funerals; the closures of churches and schools; the prohibition of visiting the elderly in nursing homes; restrictions upon family members advocating for hospitalized patients; and adherence to mask mandates and social distancing, which are “scientifically proven” mitigation strategies to “flatten the curve”.
Sound familiar? Yes, of course it does! You probably know this narrative better than you know the 4th amendment. We are living in times when nearly every outlet of public communication is echoing the same narrative. This is called an “echo chamber” and it’s often taught in Psychology 101. Echo chambers are used as a strategy of propaganda. If you want to convince the public of the veracity of a particular viewpoint, you repeat it again and again and again. Before long, people will come to believe that because everyone is saying it, IT, therefore must be true.
It’s imperative we shatter the echo chamber with truth and sound judgment before it encloses around us, trapping us in our own naivete. We must do our own research! We cannot rely on what the MSM, CDC, or WHO tell us. 2020 will be known as the year of the global pandemic.
Let’s break that word down a bit. The root word ‘pan’ comes from the name of the Greek god Pan, who was god of the woods and fields. It was said that Pan made mysterious sounds in the woods that created “contagious, groundless fear in crowds, or in people in lonely spots”.(1) The word ‘panic’ originates from this root word Pan as does ‘pandemonium’ and ‘pandemic’. ‘Pandemonium’ means “a place of uproar and disorder; wild, lawless confusion”.(2) Are you beginning to see how this all connects? It’s psychological warfare! A pandemic releases FEAR and PANIC. This occurs naturally within the psyche of some individuals, but when the accelerant of MSM hysteria is added to the mix, you have “contagious, groundless fear” among large swaths of the population. Tragically, we have seen pandemonium break out in the form of riots following the death of George Floyd. It was the perfect storm; the pent-up frustration and stress due to the “stay at home” orders mixed with perceived racial injustice, resulted in an explosion of mass rioting across our nation. See how this works?
Pandemic → Panic → Pandemonium
Quite frankly, we have no one to blame but ourselves because we have allowed the “echo chamber” to convince us that this global pandemic is a dire situation. Dreadfully, in the matter of a few months, we have allowed social interaction to completely change. Instead of interacting with one another as neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and friends, we see each other as potential virus carriers; we have been conditioned to think “you could be the death of me”. As a society, we have allowed fear, stress and panic to drastically alter our physical connection with our support network. The ramifications of this are potentially devastating. The combination of increased levels of stress with reduced social support are a one-two punch to the immune system. The mitigation strategies have backfired and have actually made the population more susceptible to becoming infected with COVID-19.
Let’s first consider the consequences of prolonged stress. Our bodies have an automatic response to stress that involves three stages: alarm, activation, and recovery. The alarm system is designed to send our brain warning signals that we are experiencing stress; pain plays a role in this. The activation system is designed to prepare us for a response to stress, such as a fight or flight response. The recovery system is designed to provide healing, restoration, and revitalization.(3) It is the neglect of the recovery system that leads to the onset of health problems. When we experience prolonged stress, such as with a global pandemic, our immune system becomes depleted. The irony is that our immune system is our best defense against disease and infection. It’s designed to fight against viruses like COVID-19, but ongoing stress triggers the brain to send signals to the endocrine system releasing a host of hormones intended to prepare us for an emergency situation, not prolonged stress. Essentially, it leaves our immune system overly taxed which makes us more susceptible to disease and infection. Stress is responsible for up to 90% of all illnesses and disease.(4) The effects of stress are cumulative and can lead to the following health problems: gastric distress, heart disease, respiratory illnesses, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, restlessness, fatigue, headaches, muscular pain, and sleep problems.(5,6,7) Deaths from Alzheimer’s and other dementias have risen nearly 20% during the pandemic. Experts attribute this to stress and isolation.(8) Now, more than ever, we must make a conscious effort to reduce our stress by allowing our bodies to recover. An important way to manage stress is by connecting with our social network, but tragically, COVID-19 has robbed us of engaging in meaningful social connections.
Decline in Social Support
Research examining the effects of social support on overall health has found that those with a strong social network live longer. A longitudinal study conducted by Berkman and Syme (1979) examined the relationship between social and community ties with mortality. They found that people who had more social contacts had the lowest mortality rates, whereas those with the fewest social contacts, had the highest mortality rates.(9) So the mitigation strategy of “social distancing” and lockdowns have impeded people from gaining the benefit of having a strong social network. Additionally, people are experiencing “touch deprivation” as a result of COVID-19. Interestingly, skin is the largest organ in the human body; God designed us for touch. Hugs, handshakes and other types of touch release oxytocin, a hormone that is associated with positive emotions, happiness, relaxation, social bonding, and increased trust. Reduced levels of oxytocin can lead to stress, depression and anxiety. Cohen et al. (2015) examined the effects of hugging on the susceptibility of upper respiratory infection. They found that those who receive hugs more frequently experience more protection from infection than those who do not.(10) Another study examining the effects of social support and physical touch on perinatal problems found that mothers in the treatment group who received support from a doula through conversation and physical touch had shorter labor and less complications than the control group. The difference was striking; 37 percent of mothers in the treatment group had complications versus 79 percent in the control group.(11) These studies are just a small representation of the science that demonstrates the health benefits of touch. Sadly, we have been told not to touch one another, which in effect, disconnects us from these health benefits, all for the sake of “flattening the curve”. The irony is astounding! Michelangelo summed it up best - “to touch is to give life”.
Increase in Suicides
It’s premature to know definitively whether there has been a rise in suicide rates due to COVID-19, particularly because it takes about a year for the data to be made public. But on August 14, 2020, the CDC posted results from a study in which they collected data regarding the implications of COVID-19 upon mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation. They found “symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.” Furthermore, they acknowledge “markedly elevated prevalences of reported adverse mental and behavioral health conditions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic [which] highlight the broad impact of the pandemic and the need to prevent and treat these conditions.”(12) Reports of suicide rates trickling in from counties and cities across America, give us an indication of the mental health toll from COVID-19. Cook County, Illinois reported a 13% increase in suicides compared to this time last year. In June, Fresno, California reported a 70% increase in suicides compared to the same month last year.(13) Doctors from John Muir Medical Center in Northern California reported a “years’ worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.” They say it’s time to end the shelter-in-place order because of the negative impact it is having on the mental health of citizens. They have seen more deaths from suicide than from COVID-19.(14)
A cultural trauma, such as the global pandemic of COVID-19, has the potential to alter our DNA. The epigenetic effects from the draconian mitigation strategies have largely been overlooked, yet the ramifications could be devastating for generations to come. You may be thinking I’m being a bit overdramatic, but allow me to explain. Remember the age-old debate of nature vs nurture? Well that delineation is no longer accurate, instead, we need to consider nature, nurture AND epigenetics. Epigenetics is the impact our thoughts and lifestyle choices have on our body, soul and spirit. But it doesn’t just affect us, there is a transgenerational epigenetic inheritance that can affect our progeny. The prefix “epi” means “on top of”, so epigenetics means a set of instructions that sits on top of the gene. Epigenetic marks can act like switches “turning on” or “turning off” a gene. There are two ways epigenetic disorders are triggered: 1) developmental errors in the fetus, or 2) deviant epigenetic marks that develop later in life. Environmental insults, such as a cultural trauma, can be responsible for both.(15) Researchers have examined how an environmental insult, such as a natural disaster, can impact epigenetic markers elicited by pre-natal stress. In January 1998, Quebec experienced 5 days of freezing rain which caused the power lines to collapse under the weight of the ice. The electrical grid was disrupted leaving 3 million people without electricity during the coldest months of the year. Cao-Lei et al. (2016) recruited 224 women who were pregnant during the ice storm. They assessed the overall stress levels of the mother and the impact on the child in the years that followed. They found that higher stress levels in the mother resulted in more occurrences of autism, metabolic diseases, and autoimmune diseases in the child.(16) Epigenetic markers can trigger the onset of the following mental health disorders: schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, schizoaffective disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and anorexia.(17) For this reason alone, we must make a conscious effort to not allow fear, panic, stress, or anxiety to govern our choices and alter our lifestyles.
Decline in Mental Health of Children/Adolescents
As adults, our gravest concern should be the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of our children and adolescents. The lockdowns and closures have led to countless disappointments for our younger population and has given new meaning to “cancel culture” - schools CANCELLED, sports CANCELLED, recitals CANCELLED, graduations CANCELLED, vacations CANCELLED, church youth groups CANCELLED, summer camps CANCELLED, social hangouts CANCELLED. As a result, our children have experienced increased levels of irritability, inattention, boredom, fear, anxiety, stress, sleep disturbances, nightmares, poor appetite, agitation, addiction, and depression.(18) The start of the 2020/2021 school year was fraught with uncertainties. Many schools failed to open and for those that did open, many districts are requiring masks for K-12. Just the other day, my 12-year-old son reported that he “feels dead” when he’s at school. He said life is normal at soccer practice and on the weekends, but when he goes back to school and sees everyone in masks, he feels dead. It was an astute observation on his part because masks dampen our personality and hinder non-verbal communication which is a critical component of social development. We must advocate for the opening of schools and the removal of mask mandates for the sake of the mental health of our children.
It’s imperative we shatter the echo chamber that has conditioned us to believe that COVID-19 is a deadly virus. We need to keep in the forefront of our minds the truth, which is that the survival rate of COVID-19 is between 99.997% (ages 0-19) and 94.6% (ages 70+).(19) Let’s heed the words of President Trump upon his discharge from Walter Reed Medical Center. "I learned so much about Coronavirus. One thing that's for certain, don't let it dominate you. Don't be afraid of it. You're going to beat it...Don't let it take over your lives.”
By Laura Sanger, Ph.D.
1. Panic. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved on September 24, 2020 from https://www.etymonline.com/word/panic.
2. Pandemonium. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved on September 24, 2020 from https://www.etymonline.com/word/pandemonium.
3. Hart, A.D. (1991). Adrenaline and Stress. Dallas, Tx: Word Publishing.
4. Goliszek, A. (November 12, 2014). How Stress Effects the Immune System. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-the-mind-heals-the-body/201411/how-stress-affects-the-immune-system
6. Mayo Clinic Staff (April 4, 2019). Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Mind. Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987
7. Hart, A.D. (1991). Adrenaline and Stress. Dallas, Tx: Word Publishing.
8. Tucker C. (September 17, 2020). The Tucker Carlson Tonight. FOX News.
9. Sheridan, C. L. and Radmacher, S. A. (1992). Health Psychology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
10. Cohen S. et al. (2015). Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness. Psychological Science, 26(2): 135-147.
11. Sosa, R. et al. (1980). The Effect of a Supportive Companion on Perinatal Problems, Length of Labor, and Mother-Infant Interaction. New England Journal of Medicine, 303(12), 597-600.
12. Czeisler, M.E. et al. (August 14, 2020). Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideantion During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, June 24-30, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Report 2020, 69, 1049-1057.
13. Raman, S. (August 11, 2020). Pandemic’s Effect on Already Rising Suicide Rates Heightens Worry. Medical Press. Retrieved from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-pandemic-effect-suicide-heightens.html.
14. Hollyfield, A. (2020, May 21). Suicide On the Rise Amid Stay-At-Home Order, Bay Area Medical Professionals Say. ABC 7 News. Retrieved from https://abc7news.com/suicide-covid-19-coronavirus-rates-during-pandemic-death-by/6201962/
15. Walsh, W. J. (2012). Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing.
16. Cao-Lei, L., Laplante, D., & King, S. (2016). Prenatal Maternal Stress and Epigenetics: Review of the Human Research. Current Molecular Biology Reports, 2, 16-25.
18. Singh. S. et al. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 and Lockdown on Mental Health of Children and Adolescents: A Narrative Review with Recommendations. Psychiatry Research, 293, 1-10.
19. CDC (September 10, 2020). COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios. Retrieved on Sept. 26, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html