Conspiracy Theory: CoViD19

Weather
The reason I am attempting to write a counter conspiracy is for a counselling client (PK) who summed up the mælström that is the pandemic. Wherever one may have been in the last 2-3 months, in all of the countries around the globe, one word has possibly been used billions of times more than almost all others is: CoViD19.

More
The meaning of the word CoViD19 is an amalgam for the Corona Virus Disease 2019. There have been other Corona Viruses which this one has become the most famous currently. There was H1N1 and SARs that are also well known to have had deadly effects on us.

Past responses
In my last piece of writing, I attempted to show what a millennia of learning has taught us. What do we do in the face an of overwhelming threat? We share knowledge to defeat said threats. With this virus – sharing unverified information can have a large downward spiralling affect.

Valuable
Sharing viable information from reliable and trustworthy sources serves to contain and uplift those that we care about. Putting forward concerning or hopeless material can put even more stress and strain on already overwhelmed biological systems. The effect: more illness and disease and possibly death. Various communities have been hit disastrously by COVID19. Globally – China, Italy, Spain the UK and then the US, have been affected grossly with high infection rates and death tolls.

Guardians
African Americans, African Caribbeans, Black British and Asian British people appear to be experiencing the illness at a considerably higher rate than the general population. Within these communities the disease has spread very quickly: see the Guardian article below. Some time could be spent reviewing incident rates, skewed figures and total numbers observing underlying health difficulties.

You at the Front
African and Asian communities, here in the UK are often frontline workers i.e. Doctors, Nurses, Public Transport operatives, grocery shop employees, refuse and garbage disposal operatives, cleaners, janitors, security guards, delivery agents, postal workers, packers and sorters.
Who come into frequent contact with the disease from a wide array of sources. Often frontline workers are without the appropriate equipment, training or guidance. Simply doing their jobs without the correct equipment.

How did this come to pass?

Responsibility
These women and men as brave as they are, perhaps, are as wary of the set of circumstances we all face but may have little option but to continue to support themselves, their employers, employees, their families, their communities.
Why? Because they care?
Yes, and there maybe a simpler more human reason. If they aren’t able to fill the unforgiving task, who will? If they don’t, will frontline workers be able to stop working if they are the main earner in their household? If family in countries of their origin are in need of the stipend they are able to send each month can frontline workers easily walk away from their frontline roles?

Unknowing Unseen
Perhaps just before we are about to click send on the latest conspiracy theory: showing how this latest crises caused by the Nameless Them will be our undoing. Maybe we should think of others who are fighting for a larger ideal. Rather than the 2 or 3 minutes of edutainment that the video has provided us with. Maybe we can think how is this information going to serve another? Spending time with the idea of – “if I cannot verify or make good use of this too hot to handle information, should I send it?”

Accountability
I am not saying do not send info that you feel can be useful for others. What I am asking is that we make a considered effort to pause and think of others more. Because if what is sent causes another to feel progressively worse and hopeless – do they deserve that? For another to carry the burden of a future that looks as bleak and as unpromising as their not too distant past has been?

Dual Responses
For communities suffering with co-morbid presentations of hypertension, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, poverty, racism, homophobia, sexism, mental illness, personality disorders, substance misuse and pasts affected by the criminal justice system – would adding another straw to an already overworked overburdened back be a compassionate wise or empathic response?

Holding a candle

Light in Dark Spaces
Aim always for kindness I have been told. Always! Aim for lessening the load of others and bearing some of the weight they carry.

Do not click send without forethought.

If the South African term Ubuntu (I am: Because You Are) is used as a guide, CoViD19 could be used as a tool to look to a greater good for all.

Pandemics do not need to separate but throw us all under the same sky fighting a microscopic monster together. Would that not be a better conspiracy to spread?

Resources

P Diddy State of Emergency – A plan of action
The Stoop Podcast – Together and Apart
The Guardian – CoViD19 affecting Black Communities
Pod Save The World – How a Virus Can Threaten Democracy There are many relevant view points incorporated into this episode including David Lammy discussing Corona Virus and his new book!

Images
Cover photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash
1st Inlay photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash
2nd Inlay photo by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash

CoViD19: A Conspiracy?

Managing the anxiety of COVID19 and the surrounding conspiracy theories that go along with the outbreak, the spread, and the intentionality of the disease has been both amazing and tiring. I realise that this blog has the potential to sail close to a conspiracy. I will watch my tone as I explain my thinking.

Bare with me.

Stupefying
Amazing in that we want to make meaning from the amount of emails, WhatsApp shares, Twitter updates, Facebook Posts, News feeds and radio bulletins. Some information can be useful and thought provoking. Some information perhaps…

Exhaust
The tiring part for me is the conspiracy theories and secret society imaginings. Sent my way by well-meaning friends and family. The aim of the sender to receiver (me) is to inform and provide some good or useful information. Sometimes…

Foil Hats as seen first: Gumball

Alarm
The effect of sharing conspiracy, is that when in a state of concern or panic the person who receives this information isn’t calmed or soothed. The oppoite effect is achieved. The receiver has a number of choices with this fear engendering information. They can either share it, or keep it to themselves. The want to be helpful in a seemingly helpless situation: CoViD19, can override an inbuilt system of holding onto suspicious unhelpful or slanderous material.

Critical Awareness
Using the ability to be suspicious/cautious of the intent of the information could be useful. Helping to begin a process of distancing ourselves from a heightened fear response. By engaging the human part of the brain (see Chimp Paradox) and keeping our minds thinking (pre-frontal cortex), potentially is the desired goal! Jumping to conclusions, or *scud assessments could be unhelpful in maintaining our equilibrium or anyone else’s.

Panicked Pattern
First the unasked for idea or information arrives. On viewing of the sensory overwhelming video, our bodies react. The body is flooded by a cortisol response. We do not need to be aware/conscious of the response but our blood stream becomes a souped up system. Ready for Fight, Flight, Freeze or Friend. The response is automatic. Our heart rate may quicken, we might lose our appetite, we may find concentration on other topics evaporate. We simply want to act. Simply act we often do.

Confusion
There is an interesting case that happened with laughter in the 60s. The event spanned months and started in a school in Tanzania. An incident caused a pupil in school to laugh uproariously which sparked a contagion that affected a community. I have walked and talked with clients who when realising the enormity of their situation have become both extremely upset and uproariously giddy with laughter. The event is called a psychogenic illness.

Wildfire
There may have been times when something like a confused response happens in the face of a significant life changing event. A joke, a youtube video is as ludicrous or upsetting as it is funny and witnessing the scene causes the viewer, to be swept up with the happy confused state. In these moments laughing without a care, with tears streaming and mouths agape can be cathartic. Relieving a pressure build up. The passing of joy can consume us. Hilarity can bring us face to face with our humanity.

An simulation of the virus

World Wide Worries
The opposite affect can also be true when we have a concern. We seek truth and facts in all the right and appropriate spaces, and also in all the wrong places. News feeds. News cycles. Social media. The spinning and circulating of an ever growing concern. On this occasion it happens to be a global pandemic. Covid19 has consumed all hours and all days in an endless stream of updates, worries and many deaths. What then happens is when seeking truth, the material is passed forward. Asking friends if they have also seen or heard?

Corona Virus Disease 2019: CoViD19
The latest news about the deadly virus takes its discomforting place in our psyche’s. There stored the fear wreaks havoc with our natural defences: positive psychology, family ties and connections, friends, community, religious and philosophical gatherings, eating habits, work patterns, school and education, financial planning – all affected. The invitation is that we hold to this new reality like a raft in a storm, hoping it will bring us safely to shore. Can this vessel, with scant resources and ill meaning to humanity offer us sanctity?

Do or Do Not
Unlike the psychogenic laughing bug. Once caught the hysteria and hyperbolic concepts are passed along, they do little to make us feel better. Sharing, seals in the yuck with cortisol and adrenaline running the show.

What could help would be, to mentally walk away from the information and critique it. Rather than be pulled into a belief that all of the thinking, neg vid sharing, hand washing, policy making will deliver us from the disease.

Stay with the Known Knowns: Our world will change. It always has. What act will you perform to support yourself and others in the face of the pandemic?

Resources
Fear is Contagious – T.E.D. Talks
This American Life — One Last Thing
Ear Hustle – Us and Them
This is Money – How Bad…
Unlocking Us – Brené Brown and Alicia Keys

Images
Cover photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash
1st Inlay photo by Tom Radetzki on Unsplash
2nd Inlay photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

This piece was inspired by a conversation with a counselling client PK. Thank you!

Deeped It: Bonus

Insistence 6

Reward
The general reward in life is to get to a better end.

For our lives to have made it out of the dark times. To have found a piece of peace. The peace offering light, laughter, a sense of community and belonging, along with a sense of purpose.

Farther Along
The aim for me with the mini-series of blogs was to invite you to shift ideas along. For me, the topics of Substance, Resilience, Resistance and Persistence introduce a 5th component: Insistence.

Celebrating

Clear Eyes
Insistence is to ask with energy, that something should be done, given, offered, delivered. Insistence is the firm belief that something next is to follow and will soon arrive only when one asks.

Fair
Writing these thoughts out has been fun and a challenge. The mini-series has helped to smooth over a time of constant worry. COVID19 continues to ravage the world as we know it. Being set a task without borders has felt liberating on a number of levels. It is fair to say that writing 500 – 600 words at a time is both a stretch and a reward. My pieces are usually twice as long! Fleshing out these ideas in a brief format has helped me to understand these 4 concepts at a more fundamental level. The 5th – Insight – came as a slight continuation and as a gentle conclusion.

Ask
If you have read the previous 5 blogs and have thoughts about their construct, content and conveyance of information can I kindly insist that you complete the attached Survey Monkey Questionnaire?
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/R8QWZGG

Thank you in advance for your comments and reading of last week’s writing. Comments always welcome.

Images
Cover photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

Intro, Substance, Resilience, Resistance, Persistance

Deeping It: Persistence 5

This blog summarises the experiences of being persistent. The costs and some of the benefits of being able to stick with it.

noun: persistence
the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
“Cardiff’s persistence was rewarded with a try”

Similar: perseverance, tenacity, determination, resolve, resolution, resoluteness, staying power, purposefulness, firmness of purpose, patience, endurance, application, diligence, sedulousness, dedication, commitment, doggedness, persistency, pertinacity, assiduity, assiduousness, steadfastness, tirelessness, indefatigability, stamina, intransigence, obstinacy, Sitzfleisch, stickability, stick-to-it-iveness, continuance, perseveration

the continued or prolonged existence of something.
“the persistence of huge environmental problems”

Peck Peck Peck
When I think about persistence I think about someone who is not giving up on their mission. Whatever their mission might be. Not stopping to seek guidance or support from anyone. Feeling and believing that their mission in life has to be completed at all costs. A number of important individuals come to mind when I think about persistency. My 3 sisters, my wife, a number of friends and people I have worked with who have this drive for fulfilment and will not stop until their goals are met.

How?
It is possible that the question is phrased incorrectly. Perhaps the question should be about the why of being persistent rather than the how to be persistent. For some, the drive to continue comes from a question they are seeking answers for. Others are guided, scolded, rewarded for being consistent and persistent. The outcome for someone who is persistent is that an achievement is made. They arrive at the goal they had worked to achieve.

Internally Motivated
Persisting with Energy

Where?
The drive to be persistent I feel is inherited from a range of sources that can include parents, siblings, school and education, noticing injustices, wanting to see a world where your ideas are seen understood and accessed. Others are born persistent and their drive to achieve was inbuilt from the moment they could crawl or walk.

Looks Like?
Being persistent can be a pain for others to experience. But being knocked back. Shut down and disillusioned, doesn’t stop the desire to benefit others and the will to be persistent. I think of Malcolm X when I think about persistence. His persistence, work ethic and commitment to the cause of uplifting a generation of people was extraordinary. Malcolm and the Nation of Islam gave many people hope. Others much to fear. But the vision of achievement and success of wanting African Americans to emancipate themselves from mental slavery was inspiring for many.

Better Futures
Having a vision is a thing that supports someone’s development and commitment to being persistent. I have 2 visions.
The first is to help make psychology both interesting and accessible for the young. A tool that can be used to improve an individuals or many people’s lives.
The 2nd vision arrives in 2 parts. Part a) is to help make the lives of incarcerated peoples visible. Part b) of this vision is to support those serving sentences in prison to develop a fuller understanding of the lives they had lead. The life they are living whilst in prison and what life they can continue once they leave prison.

So
What steps are you going to take if you want to be persistent? How are you going to maintain your energy, commitment, interest and enthusiasm for your cause? What will it mean to achieve your goal? What will happen if you do not?

Resources
Denzel Washington Acceptance Speech
Malcolm X – The Autobiography Alex Haley
Unlocking Us – Brené Brown with Tarana Burke

Images
Cover photo by Boris Stefanik on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash
Intro, Substance, Resilience, Resistance, Insistence