Coronavirus, Anxiety, and the Profound Failure of Rugged Individualism

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From Vox: “Johann Hari: Depression and anxiety are signals telling us that our needs are not being met, and I would say the single most helpful thing we can do going forward is to allow ourselves to hear the signal. What we’ve done for a really long time in our culture is either insult those signals by saying depressed and anxious people are just weak or feeble. Or we’ve pathologized the signals by saying they’re purely biological malfunctions. What we need to do is hear and respect the signal.

Once you hear the signal and you respect it, you’ll start to think differently. First, it means that your pain makes sense. So don’t judge yourself. Don’t shame yourself. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with you.

And secondly, it means that when we begin to rebuild after coronavirus, we’ll have learned something really valuable about the kind of society we want. How could we redesign our education system with the understanding that nature is of the utmost importance to mental health? How could we redesign the health care system with the understanding that loneliness poses huge health risks? We can learn positive lessons about how to redesign our society to reduce depression and anxiety going forward if we allow ourselves to hear this signal.”

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A person with a grocery bag stands alone in a street.

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