There’s Something Spreading Faster Than COVID-19, and It’s Not Fear. It’s Toxic Positivity

Megan Wildhood
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There is a lot of hand-wringing about how fear is spreading faster than the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is some truth to the idea that we humans don’t make good decisions when we are steeped in fear, most of this fear-shaming comes from very privileged individuals—people with recession-proof and virus-proof jobs, people in strong partnerships quarantined with safe others, people who have had high enough incomes for long enough to have emergency savings. These are the people who are preaching mindset work, staying positive, and focusing on what you can control—and this “advice” to “remain positive” is spreading faster than COVID-19 and even faster than fear.

The only people that benefit from individuals continuing to focus on their separate efforts to control “only what they can control” (which, for the most part is their emotions) are the people benefiting from the predatory systems of capitalism and psychiatry in place long before COVID-19. Keeping only positive thoughts in your mind and working on your outlook even as your hours (and thus your “benefits”) get cut doesn’t put food on your table or pay for any healthcare you might need (we are in a pandemic after all). Attempting to deny negative emotions or thoughts in the name of lowering stress doesn’t work when your landlord still demands rent and promises to proceed with evictions as soon as it’s legal again to put people on the streets for failing to be good enough capitalists to build equity for others. The only thing badgering individuals to “remain positive” does is keep society in the grip of unaccountable corporate owners who possess more than half the world’s wealth among the 26 of them. (And you thought people were hoarding toilet paper!)

In a country where nearly half of the citizens live paycheck to paycheck and over half wouldn’t have access to $400 in an emergency, “keeping your mindset in check” as those in power are advising everyone else to do doesn’t work. People in power would love for us to believe that we aren’t at the top with them (with enough assets to “reposition” into stronger stock positions to “ride out this crisis”) because we are lazy, made bad choices, or engage in frivolous spending. In reality, half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck (and are suffering the physiological conditions Western medicine “has no cure for” and the “mental illnesses” all our systems refuse to help in order to guarantee lifelong customers) because wages have been stagnant since the 1970s, rent is unaffordable in every city in the country and the job market is overrun with non-livable-wage work while dignified, livable-wage employment is outsourced, automated, or given to those who could afford college degrees.

Telling individuals to stop focusing on “what they can’t control” is not only gaslighting, it’s inaccurate. There are far more “poor people” and far more “mentally ill” (by the DSM’s standards) than there are people in power—if we focused on what they controlled, we might actually be able to create a world that works for everyone instead of the tiny amount of self-appointed billionaires who have more control over what happens in the world than politicians.

Demanding positivity is gaslighting of the highest order. It’s no surprise a culture such as ours would turn to positivity policing instead of creating robust (not temporary) systems of support, mutual aid and care. Ours is a culture that encourages everyone to “cut toxic people out of your life” without defining what “toxic” actually is. Could it be forcing forgiveness down someone’s throat when you haven’t heard them out? Does automatically labeling difficult things “negative” count? Can we include shaming people for sharing legitimately critical articles of the current administration’s abject but unsurprising failure to provide sensible leadership during a time of crisis in the list of “toxic” behaviors? If not, then what we have is a cult of positivity, not a legitimate tool for help during this extremely challenging time.

It benefits the few people who do control the emotionally abusive, wealth-funneling systems that we call “economy” and “politics” for us masses to focus only on what we can control. It keeps those systems in place even as they appear to give “relief”—which it is very clear is temporary—to the very people it both completely relies upon and those it despises and blames (the workers).

Preaching positivity is also, thus, deeply alienating. Recommending positive thinking during this time is the same thing as responding to mass shootings with “thoughts and prayers.” It’s tone deaf, dismissive and selfish; it makes you feel like you’ve been helpful when you’ve actually done the emotional equivalent of leaving that person in a crowded room alone while they’re crying.

But it’s not helpful. Gratitude, which is a large part of positive thinking, is not sufficient to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, so you’re not “doing it wrong” if you don’t feel better after journaling about what you’re thankful for. Do the people who are preaching positivity really think that people really haven’t thought about just being positive before?  What hurting people need is to be seen where they are and joined. This doesn’t mean you have to pile on the negative bandwagon with them, but it also doesn’t mean you harass them with affirmations.

The reason saying positive affirmations has failed so many people is because they just remind you of what your deeper beliefs are and cattle prod those beliefs into defending themselves. We obtain our beliefs from our experiences; if you haven’t had the experience of good health, or a good marriage, or good friends, then telling yourself that you are worthy and deserving of such things (even though it is true) will simply provoke an internal fight. “Staying positive” doesn’t address one’s deeper beliefs or “negative” stories they’ve got in their head, let alone how or why any of that got into them in the first place.

You don’t need to know where every old emotional injury comes from in order to eradicate it, but assuming that “negative” emotions automatically need to be eradicated is part of the problem. This is not in any way to deny the distress many people with “mental illness” experience; it is to say that we need to stop assuming that all of that suffering comes from their internal landscape while overlooking the pervasive and persistent inhumane conditions most people live with. In case it wasn’t obvious before, COVID-19 is laying many of those conditions bare, all of which have their origins in capitalism.

Capitalism, among other things, is COVID-19 fuel. The reason why poor people and people of color, particularly black people, are being hit harder by COVID-19 than rich people and white people is because, as Martin Luther King, Jr., said, we have socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. We are not all in this together, which is another reason why the blanket suggestion of “positive thinking” fails.

Except now we know that it was possible all along to provide for our basic needs. What we’re calling a “stimulus package” is emergency socialism. “Cash payments” are an instance of universal basic income. Emergency housing to quarantine those living on the streets is honoring the right of every human for housing. Of course it’s not enough, of course there are major flaws in the COVID-19 relief legislation. What’s being distributed as “relief” should have been in place as a basic society safety net long before the pandemic, but now we all know that it’s possible.

Speaking of inhumane conditions, one such condition would be modern life. How is it okay to continue ad infinitum to ask humanity to go faster, produce more, and consume more with less and less in return? In the midst of undeniable woe wrought by COVID-19, is there room to acknowledge that many people are actually finally able to rest, take a break and stop shaming themselves for struggling to keep up with our always-on society (a society designed by extroverts that demand we never cease activity lest we be found worthless)? Is it okay to state, alongside the legitimate worries, that many of us finally feel like we’re allowed to be our introverted, housecat selves? Can we hold both the massive consequences of job loss in late-stage capitalism and this mini break from the febrile frenetics of late-stage capitalism close enough together to see how closely related the suffering and the jubilation actually are?

It’s hard to see how an adherence to positive thinking would allow that. The many experts touting a “positive mindset” as a way to get through this crisis are speaking to people who depend on or at least prefer society going back to the way it was before the pandemic as soon as possible. Because of the legitimate economic and bodily suffering occurring the world over, it’s difficult to feel okay about having a sense of relief in the slower pace of life and the removal of expectations to constantly be out there hustling, going to meetings, creating value (as if you inherently have no value just by being a person). It’s difficult to articulate hope that the world not go back to normal.

The world as it “normally” was before December of 2019 brought us COVID-19. It also brought us the screeching to a halt an economy that was already not providing for everyone and that necessitated a $2 trillion stimulus package in the US. The world we had before COVID-19 is the reason that stimulus package still isn’t enough to meet basic needs. Our “normal” before COVID-19 is why thousands of people, including healthcare workers are losing their jobs or getting furloughed and thus losing their healthcare in the midst of a pandemic. It’s why landlords think it’s okay to increase rent during this time. Our “normal” before COVID is why the convening of ethics boards to create guidelines for deciding who should receive lifesaving care in the event of a medical-system overwhelm is unchallenged for the monstrosity that it is.

Healthcare workers are being laid off at the same time as hospital systems are predicted to become overwhelmed. But that is not what COVID-19 brought us; it is what the world before COVID-19 brought us. It’s a bit like Ireland’s 300,000 pounds of potatoes that went to feed England every year of the Irish Potato Famine.1 What the average person, the “little” person calls a recession, wealthy people call a wealth transfer. In other words, your tax dollars bail out Wall Street.

It’s convenient for those in power to blame the present recession on COVID-19 when one was coming anyway. The fact that mainstream financial institutions and analysts simply accept the regular production of poverty and misery by naming it “market cycles” is what the world before COVID-19 gave us. That big banks and investment funds are measuring “recovery” in China in terms of increased coal consumption and the attendant increased air pollution is what the world before COVID-19 brought us. That so many doctors, coaches, therapists, and public figures think positive thinking is the solution—as opposed to mass action, organization and systems overhaul—is the complacency, lack of solidarity and out-of-touchness the world before COVID-19 gave us.

Just as positive thinking is not a switch one can just flip, nor is it the universal problem solver. Positive thinking is a deeply individualistic solution and, as such, serves the mainstream thinking of using every resource available to prop up the current system with the crutch called a “stimulus package” and hope it hobbles along on its broken legs long enough to get back to production for those in power. Positive thinking anesthetizes our desire and ability to use this opportunity to create a world that works for everyone. Even if everyone could do it, collective positive thinking won’t do that for the same reason that individual efforts to make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly are not, even if aggregated, going to solve the climate crisis: the responsibility for both COVID-19 and climate change are not distributed equally.

I’m not discouraging the practice of positive thinking if you’ve found that to be helpful for you. In full disclosure, I’ve even found it to be helpful for me at times. But it by itself is not a solution. Acting like it is is toxic. Labeling people who aren’t positive all the time “toxic” is itself toxic. Insinuating that people are failing if they can’t “do” positive thinking or don’t feel better even if they are able to think positive thoughts is toxic (and ableist).

Fear, distress, loneliness, anxiety and anger are all completely appropriate feelings to have during a time like this (as are feelings of gratitude for the rest, relaxing of demands on time and schedule, and genuine joy and laughter at the hilarious and creative things humans are coming up with). It’s the toxic kind of positivity we have to stop.

Please help stop the spread of toxic positivity by allowing all feelings in yourself, refusing to pathologize either stress or happiness, and sitting in them with those you care about. Please also remember that it is completely appropriate, understandable, and valid to be afraid, “negative,” and anxiety-ridden right now.

We lack not only a world that works for everyone but a recognized leadership that wants to create one. But those of us gaslighted by psychiatry with diagnoses of “mental illness” and those who believed society when it said “hard work pays off” and are working as hard as they can simply to survive are the real leaders.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Patel, Raj and Jason W. Moore, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet. University of California Press: 2017. Pg. 145.

52 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome article! I have sometimes been criticized for my “negative thinking,” and I guess that’s how I wound up in the mental health system. Pope Francis has recently been talking about the “selfish indifference” that so many have–that “as long as life is good for me, life is good.” I think he’s totally right. Although the Pope is sometimes “positive,” he also isn’t afraid to fight back against the many horrible things that exist in the world. He doesn’t pretend that all is well with the world, when it clearly isn’t.

  2. I completely agree that this is very prevalent on social media. I called it ‘positivity bullying’ and it’s one reason I don’t operate in those spaces.

    However, when someone is describing in detail how desperate their situation really is, you offer them concrete help – the kind of help you wish someone might have offered you once upon a time – and they refuse because it doesn’t come in the exact form they envision, you have to wonder if homelessness and starvation are better options for them? In that case, I choose to remove myself from the drama go round because that is all I can control and remaining engaged in that dynamic causes me harm.

    I DO think there is some use to telling people to try to let go of the things they can’t control. But I can’t imagine saying that in the context of job loss, hunger and homelessness. I think this is best saved for interpersonal dynamics. Context matters.

    • OK here’s the more expansive part.

      Megan, you first should know that I don’t spend a whole lot of time at MIA praising things I agree with, which is almost everything you say here. I would add that the end of capitalism is about the most positive thing we can envision and contribute to.

      Here are a few quibbles:

      What we’re calling a “stimulus package” is emergency socialism.

      I would say it’s more like emergency welfare, which is always formulated based on how much of the people’s wealth needs to be tossed back to them to prevent uprisings and revolution. Even Bernie does not stand for true socialism, in which the people would/will seize the assets and resources controlled by corporate America (and corporate Earth) and use them to our advantage.

      Can we include shaming people for sharing legitimately critical articles of the current administration’s abject but unsurprising failure to provide sensible leadership during a time of crisis in the list of “toxic” behaviors?

      I don’t see much such shaming, actually the current crisis seems more like an opportunity for liberals (who are also capitalists) to point “over there,” when they are equally to blame for the state of affairs. While some people interpret statements such as this as me “supporting Trump,” this is not the case. But I do object to the implication that simply “changing administrations” would or could be a solution. The entire system has to go, and we need to completely transform the world. Republicans are capitalists. Democrats are capitalists. Trump (who is neither really) is a capitalist. ALL of them have to go, it’s not enough to simply choose one we think is less noxious than another. They all have blood on their hands. We shouldn’t oppose politicians as individuals or personalities but as front men for the class they serve.

      You are correct, wages have remained stagnant since the 70’s, which means workers have gotten more & more materially impoverished. This took place steadily throughout Republican AND Democratic administrations. Dems and Repugs are simply two sides of the same coin; good cop/bad cop. I’ve watched the pendulum swing back & forth all my life and I’m sick of it.

      Also it should be understood that there has been no “Communist China” since the days of Mao. The U.S. and China are currently the world’s two top capitalist economies, so it should be no surprise to learn that, as Peter Breggin just exposed, scientists from both states collaborated in 2015 to produce a variant bat virus capable of infecting humans (COVID-15?). Even though China is ruled by something called the “Communist” Party, and the U.S. is sometimes administered by the “Democratic” Party, they are all the Capitalist Party. It will take a united worldwide effort to root out what’s at the bottom of all this and make sure the guilty parties face justice.

      So I’m most encouraged to see you calling bullshit on the whole paradigm, and helping to redefine what constitutes “positivity.” Positivity is pooling our energy to defeat this system, and supporting one another as we struggle to effect what should be recognized as the moral imperative of our time — to save and transform the planet.

      During all this psychiatrists will be hanging around like vultures to pick at our souls during those moments of doubt when we question our values, our strength & resilience, and our ability to continue on. That’s their role, as adjunct law enforcement officers, cops of the psyche, and it’s vital that they be recognized for the function they serve — not pitied as well-intentioned doofuses (which is about the most sympathetic characterization MIA folk tend to come up with).

      Finally — and I wasn’t sure initially if I would ever mention this on MIA — I feel it’s probably appropriate at this point for me to let people know that my mother, who was in a “senior care” facility, was recently killed by this lethal combination of COVID-19 and capitalism. So this is not just an exercise in polemics for me. I will never forgive or forget, or pretend to be “in it together” with any of these motherfuckers. As the martyred revolutionary prophet John Africa said, this system is at war with ALL LIFE.

      And as Joe Hill said, “Don’t mourn, organize.”

      Keep on writing Megan.

      • Megan, your article is brilliant. And so is your response, Oldhead. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother, OH.

        I’d like to also expand on this part:

        What we’re calling a “stimulus package” is emergency socialism.

        The stimulus package is also emergency socialism for corporations. I work for a small social justice non-profit that wasn’t able to get the SBA PPP loan (payroll protection program loan). Our tiny 15 person organization may not survive this.

        Why? Because the money is being funneled upward by large corporations – https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidmack/coronavirus-small-business-loans-big-companies-potbelly

        This is intentional and it’s going to wipe out millions of small businesses, especially those run by people of color, women, and immigrants and climate refugees.

        We’ve entered what Dr. Sheldon Wolin called an Inverted Totalitarianism – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism

        Thank you, Megan, for stating the absurdity of positive thinking. This is magical thinking because it exists outside our reality and denies fundamental truths of our humanity – our need for shelter, food, and community. And also, the need to grieve, to deeply mourn. Grieving is fundamental to the ability to really live. This is why psychiatry removed the grief clause from the DMS 5. Let’s start to make these connections, and there are many. We must not get blinded by magical thinking.

        We need to wake up. To fight back. To end capitalism and also psychiatry, as psychiatry is a tool of the capitalist overlords. It speaks in the childish and absurd language of positive thinking and pathologizes anyone who speaks otherwise.

        Negative talk is a form of dissent because it acknowledges our reality and speaks back against the lies.

        We are not okay. We are suffering. And this includes all species and Mother Earth, our collective home. None of us are okay.

        Let’s start there and work our way out of this mess. 

        • I don’t see Megan as decrying positive thinking, but rather attacking system definitions of what constitutes positive thinking. I don’t see what purpose “negative thinking” could possibly serve. But calling out bullshit is NOT negative, it’s just bringing attention to a lie that needs to be seen for what it is.

          I try to approach everything from a “there are no problems, only solutions” perspective, which I consider positive thinking. Fighting oppression is positive. Pretending everything is fine to avoid facing what needs to be done is a form of repression, which is almost never fine.

          • I don’t see Megan as decrying positive thinking, but rather attacking system definitions of what constitutes positive thinking.

            True, that’s why I brought up the concept of magical thinking. It’s this need to exist outside of reality I find so frightening, especially as it takes hold of so many people.

            There are people and systems that benefit from our complacency. As I wrote, it’s a way of blinding us from making these necessary connections.

            I don’t see what purpose “negative thinking” could possibly serve. But calling out bullshit is NOT negative, it’s just bringing attention to a lie that needs to be seen for what it is.

            I was very careful to use the term “negative talk,” not “negative thinking.” There’s a difference. And I don’t mean “self-talk” or any of that psychobable BS that shrinks bring up.

            But I should have worded it “honest talk.” I mean honest talk about the shitty state of affairs we live in. If we can’t name it, we can’t fix it.

            So we’re on the same page here, OH. I think we agree more than we disagree.

          • I agree.

            I put quotes around “negative thinking” as a concept, wasn’t implying it was your term. I’ve mentioned the purgative and self-affirming effect of large gatherings of peasants just after the Chinese Revolution collectively “speaking bitterness” about their oppression. Speaking bitterness can be positive thinking. (Speaking hopelessness, however bitter, is not.)

            Life is magic by many definitions, btw. Anyone here well versed in quantum theory (I’m not)?

          • There are several totally different valences to the word “negative,” though. One, which you guys are using, is a sort of negative emotional force.

            An important thing not to forget, though, is the usefulness of negative thinking in terms, for example, of critique. Don’t htin of negative as “bad” or “morose,” think of how on a number line, anything “less than zero” is defined as negative. (This is also the way the term “negative” is used when psychiatrists talk about “negative” and “positive” symptoms of schizophrenia…sure those are made up, but the use of the word is what I’m focusing on.)

            A critique is negative thinking because it takes a commonly-held belief and tries to negate (or at the very least ‘trouble’) its claims about itself. Anti-authoritarianism or even anti-racism are also “negative” in this sense, because they are “anti-” something. Whereas Satanism or Scientology (random examples) are “positive,” because they not only critique something but propose a new set of beliefs and a program of behavior or institutions.

            There is nothing wrong with being “negative.” It isn’t a flaw! Negativity in this sense is just a tool, one among many.

          • “Negative” and “negativistic” to me are two different things. What I was trying to stress is that being critical of something is not necessarily being negativistic. Seeing everything as hopeless is.

      • OldHead,
        I am so very sorry for your enormous and tragic loss of your mom. May she be resting peacefully now and eternally.
        I feel deeply saddened and incapable of truly recognizing the wealth of emotions and grief you must be experiencing today. I keep thinking what a cruel blow you’ve been dealt. It’s unfathomable, and I am just so sorry this is all happening at the same time to you. 🙁
        I am genuine in my wanting to ask how you are doing? I’ll assume not terrific and you’ve had much better days. I mean no harm or offense, as I simply care regardless of never meeting or knowing one another. It isn’t hard to realize how devastating such events would be on a person. And I guess that’s why I’m writing now.
        I sincerely hope you have loved ones in your life to check on you and support you during this grueling period. Please know that sleep, hydration, and good nutrition are crucial for your sustained health and well being especially during upsetting times that take away appetite and ability to sleep, an unjust reality.
        Please take good care and be sure to love yourself. You need it and deserve it.
        For whatever it’s worth, I am available, should you want or need to reach out via text 301.580.7089 or email to [email protected]
        Again, please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your dear mother. I wish you peace and comfort in future days not far away.
        Warmly, Frances 😉

  3. Thanks Megan for a great blog, lots of truth speaking here. I used to try stay positive that ‘good will triumph over evil’, or ‘truth will set you free’ etc, but eventually it became too difficult to stay positive so I revised it to ‘staying hopeful’ instead. I agree we should NOT strive to go back to ‘normal’, we need to strive for something far better than the old normal.

    • The truth will not set us free, but it provides a starting point for freeing ourselves.

      If we needed a state of “normality” at all it sure wouldn’t include people walking around in masks terrified to touch or come close to one another. That sounds like an existential description of Hell. Exit stage left.

  4. Awesome writing Megan. This would be a valuable speech, do try to get it out there, as I think
    it is, dare I say, the most positive thing I’ve heard of late.
    You are dead on about everything you say in this assessment.

    “Fear, distress, loneliness, anxiety and anger are all completely appropriate feelings to have during a time like this (as are feelings of gratitude for the rest, relaxing of demands on time and schedule, and genuine joy and laughter at the hilarious and creative things humans are coming up with). It’s the toxic kind of positivity we have to stop.”

    And not just during this time. It is now somehow normal today, to feel distressed, if you are losing your business.
    Yet it was not normal for those last year who had their own legitimate reasons for distress.

    If it is not a positive thing to be around toxic people, then I guess it’s a catchy thing, possibly that “MI” is not biological, nor genetic. Kind of like the virus.

    The presentation by powers that be and general joe public is that “distancing” is new. “social distancing” is as old as the hills.

  5. “The only thing badgering individuals to “remain positive” does is keep society in the grip of unaccountable corporate owners who possess more than half the world’s wealth among the 26 of them. (And you thought people were hoarding toilet paper!)”

    Only 26? No wonder they are getting nervous. You could wipe them out in an afternoon with someone as efficient as Albert Pierrepoint. And well, lets not call them “unaccountable”, we just haven’t brought them to justice yet, preferring to scramble for the crumbs they throw from their Gold Coaches on their way through the streets we paid to build (and actually built).

    Point being that these cash ‘hoi-outs’ (a term used for the money thrown from a wedding car on the way to the Church for kids to fight over) will provide some time to have the elite media bring the narrative under total control (have they got your attention yet?), allow politicians time to manipulate the laws and crush any resistance to their preferred outcomes (which change as the days pass), and as this article states get productivity back to normal as soon as possible. In my State there has been virtually zero interruption to the mining industry despite the risks breaking the laws they passed. The Magnate who owns the largest providing assistance to the State by obtaining medical equipment from his Chinese ‘contacts’ in what seemed to be a ‘quid pro quo’ to me.

    I also note that Americans are allowed to criticize their governments? We are, for the moment, though they are looking at it being considered a crime, as it interferes with the tourism industry and therefore is against the National interest. We can’t have foreigners knowing that if they come here they could be snatched out of their beds and tortured for three weeks in a mental institution and it would be considered lawful? They wouldn’t come, and we wouldn’t get the opportunities that provides. Forget renditions to Egypt, we have some Doctors that make Col. James Steele look like Barbara Cartland. And of course when the people who investigate the torture are the torturers, the outcomes seem inevitable. They do try to keep it to retrieving the documented proof and slandering the victims, but there are times when a ‘negative outcome’ or two might be necessary.

    Mass surveilance? Good news is that “someone is watching”. Bad news is, it’s the criminals who are making sure no one else is watching before they move in on their victims. I keep going back to the precise moment when I knew that there was a God, and that He was prepared to test people. The Police officer who started the ball rolling on my torture session didn’t actually find the knife which had been planted on me (God’s intervention?). He should have done his duty right at that point. And yet he didn’t, and handed me over to the Community Nurse who had arranged for the police referral to be on my person after I had collapsed from the ‘spiking’.

    The legal ‘chain’ was broken despite the best efforts of the co conspirators to ensure it all looked lawful. What do they do in such situations? they conceal the truth with falsehoods, and threaten and intimidate families and witnesses. Of course police who are torturing citizens need little coercing to remain silent, and will in fact provide assistance to the organised criminals engaging in this conduct. They drop you at an Emergency Dept and the good medical people drop you with a needle called a ‘hotshot’. Perfect human rights record 🙂

    That gets blown to pieces if one can get access to the locked wards of our hospitals. Fortunate for some it’s a rigged game, with people who claim to be advocates acting against the interests of their clients knowing that the authorities will provide them with rewards for doing so (“oh come one, its just a little torture, and you do have your funding to consider? Just accept the fraudulent documents and tell him he doesn’t have a case, and we’ll take care of the rest” Well done Minister). There is something about watching people being waterboarded that makes the observer not wish to undergo it themselves. Especially those who don’t have the stomach for it. I go back to the demonstration by Sun Tzu for the Emperor of Wu, and understand why these ‘advocates’ turn away when their duty to act is tested, and they expose what they really are, hypocrites. Sun Tzu saying as much about the Emperor not being serious about the security of his State.

    And no one is safe, even our Treasurer needed to flee the State rather than be ‘referred’ to mental health services by our police. Prison he would do, but that? Treatment? He obviously is one of us ‘in the know’. It also explains the total capitulation by our politicians to the wants of doctors, providing them with laws that allow wholesale drug dealing, euthanasia (they allow the distribution of fraudulent documents to lawyers [fact i can prove] for cover ups so one can guess where that’s going), and arbitrary detentions, torture and kidnappings. And police will assist them with whatever they wish, including the retrieval of documents showing their criminality. Leaving the ‘mafia’ to deal with their own, which is a move on to other victims not dissimilar to the way the Church has been dealing with pedophiles. Move church, move hospital.

    Rotten to the core. And I accept my part in not doing something about it, till now.

    • Eh Boans: “We can’t have foreigners knowing that if they come here they could be snatched out of their beds and tortured for three weeks in a mental institution and it would be considered lawful? They wouldn’t come, and we wouldn’t get the opportunities that provides. Forget renditions to Egypt…”

      Foreigners? What about Cornelia Rau, an Australian Citizen who “went off her meds” and spoke German and got “rendered” to an immigrant detention centre? This was featured as part of the story in “Stateless” by Cate Blanchett. I was glad to see the Rau case get so much attention there (even if they claimed she was “mentally ill”)

      I’m pleased with the lockdown so far – but there are disturbing trends expanding the surveillance state.

      https://www.sbs.com.au/news/coronavirus-mobile-tracking-app-may-be-mandatory-if-not-enough-people-sign-up-scott-morrison-says

      More details on the app: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/14/australian-government-plans-to-bring-in-mobile-phone-app-to-track-people-with-coronavirus

      • Yes JanCarol, the Rau situation was interesting, and glad to hear they have mode the series about it.

        And surprise surprise that we’re ging to be forced to carry a tracking app with us. Not that were not already doing so.

        I did watch a recent interview with Ed Snowden who made mention of what he does to phones before using them. No camera and a microphone that can be disconnected.

        These guys are talking about this like it’s nothing though. It’s not like another Adolph is going to come along so soon after the last one right? There really have been some worrying trends with regards the law which the media have found it difficult to cover, lest they be subject to raids by the AFP. I don’t know that anyone really understood what happened with Whatsapp going to Facebook. And I guess with all this spying going on they were fully aware of what was happening when people were plotting against me right? Lol, NOT. Though I do think that once they realised they were thankful for me slipping through the net, at least they only had 2 years of killing before they got moved on.

        The thing about spying is that it is corrosive to communities. have a look at “The Lives of Others”. The government doesn’t trust anyone, but they have to make it look like they do whilst spying into every little nook and cranny. And there is a point that is reached where it becomes …. dare I say it, delusional. Though I do note that it seems to be their own security and safety they are concerned about, and not the general public. One hardly sees politicians stepping out of the office these days without looking like a Social Worker making their way through the Forensic Unit in a Supermax Prison lol.

          • That was what the psychiatrist who was working with the Operations Manager to ‘fuking destroy’ me said to my wife. “He has a Hell of a sense of humour”. When they arranged to have a meeting with me to ‘size up’ their opponent before distributing the fraudulent documents, and make arrangements for an ‘accident’ etc.

            We had the meeting and as I got up to leave the Operations Manager repeated her assertion that I was not to approach the Community Nurse who did the torture and kidnapping. So I asked her if she could pass something on to him for me and reached into my pocket, and brought my hand out in her face with my middle finger up (I think you guys call it flipping the bird lol).

            I guess she won in the end because I’ve been fuking destroyed. Though what I do know is that there may just be one or two people within the hospital administration that do not agree with her criminal conduct and gaslighting their ‘clients’ to suicide. The woman is positively vicious, and wants to hope we don’t ever meet on equal ground where she doesn’t have access to police resources to threaten and intimidate witnesses, and doctors who will aid and abet in crimes.

            I’m fairly sure that the young woman in the office that ensured the paper trail back to the authorisation of the fraud (the internal memo from the Clinical Director releasing the “edited” version of events) is one of those people. She may have merely been covering her butt, though I got the impression that there surely were people who looked and were disgusted by what was being done to me (and my family). Though they also have to live with the ‘fixed game’ of the State always winning despite them being responsible for the actions of their officers (see the UN case of Victoria Government being responsible for assaults by police. The claim being that they were acting outside their duties and ergo ….. Not the case, the State IS responsible for the criminal actions of their officers).

            Though the dead tell no tales, and these Emergency Dept ‘admissions’ for ‘treatment’ may save the taxpayer a lot of money given the amount of assaults police and mental health services engage in. As Billy Connelly pointed out, when you tell lies you need to have a good memory, and these public officers are simply too busy for that so just kill them (or hand them over to some brutal bastard who calls themselves a Doctor for experiments) and it goes away.

          • I learned more about the tracker app. It is not for warning you off an active case, but if you do test positive, they go to your phone, and have a list of every phone you’ve come into contact with in the past 3 weeks. It’s for tracing contacts (which, they are doing a pretty good job of now, without the app).

            2 million (so far) have downloaded it.

            And Boans, the next “enemy” might not be Jews (there aren’t that many here, to my knowledge). Who knows what random enemy the state will create for us? When everyone is tracked (including medicine), it could be for a gene allele, or – as Oldhead postulates, a virus caste system.

            I opted out of MyHealth. It’s my understanding that in the US, there is something similar in response to the “opioid crisis” that tracks people nationally through pharmacies. We’ve noted on SA that it’s hard to get labels dropped from your file, even after moving.

          • Remember Sam Dastiari JanCarol? The guy who got in trouble for turning off his phone and leaving it inside his house while he spoke with a Chinese businessman in his garden?

            https://www.afr.com/politics/sam-dastyari-is-a-chinese-agent-of-influence-exintelligence-chief-20171203-gzxktb

            Ummm your phone might be bugged lol. Didn’t anyone actually hear what Ed Snowden said?

            There was a good sci fi series called The Last Enemy that wasn’t too far from where we are at now (system called TIA Total Information Access. And it had Robert Carlyle and Benedict Cumberbatch in it too 🙂

            https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0966151/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_19

            I opted out of the MyHealth system though I think all that did was give them reason to keep a file you don’t get access to on you. But we will never know now they are dealing with whistleblowers via unintended negative outcomes in E.D.s lol. Any and all inconvenient truths about the crimes of the State against citizens is now concealed under National Security and you will never know the things being done in our names. There are good reasons Obama went back on his promise to release ALL the photos from Abu Ghraib.

          • Yes, I’ve seen the Snowdon vid. I have a story of people whose phones (in Singapore) which were OFF – blinked and text messaged “Stop talking about that.” (I think they were talking about surveillance)

            I have not disconnected camera or mic …however I do not let the phone connect to internet.

            We all have our lines. That one is mine. And so – no app for me. Likely requires internet / data connection.

            Your link to Dastyari is behind a paywall, so couldn’t see. I remember hearing the name, but not the controversy.

          • I was confused about the whole Dastiyari situation. Why could he not have a conversation without having his phone with him? Okay, he’s a politician but when did he lose his right to not be listened to?

            Some of the information is between the lines too. I have one friend who tells me that sometimes it’s best to ‘feed the chickens’ (which reminds me of what Joh used to call talking to the media lol). God leads astray who He will, and if they are getting what they want, then they tend to be lazy regarding other communications (Passenger pigeons come to mind lol). It’s also a Federal offence to interfere with post, keep it in mind when dealing with State authorities.

          • Connected to network via provider. That’s fairly easy to get around with sim card changes but the phone itself has a chip that means even when it’s off, it can be turned on via the network, and tracked.

            Legacy devices and the swapping of phones with others is possibly the best method, though that will simply drive them to have us all chipped. As long as this ‘illegal’ spying on us all is working, they won’t move on that. (you can’t prove it being the defence)

        • And surprise surprise that we’re going to be forced to carry a tracking app with us. Not that were not already doing so.

          Yep. Signing up for and paying for our own handcuffs. What happens to people who lose their phones a lot? (I assume there’s no bill since disconnection would be counterproductive.)

          • Oldhead, the Australian PM wants every Australian phone to carry a COVID19 tracking app, like they did in Singapore. He’s bought the app from Singapore, and wants to use it here.

            This is above and beyond the normal tracking capacity of the phone. It will Bluetooth to all nearby users and issue warnings when too close to – what? another human being? an active COVID case?

            I’m not sure how this is meant to work, but it’s evil. Pure evil.

          • The kind of thing I was warning about 2-3 weeks ago. Plus it’s ridiculous and unworkable unless everyone gets tested every day. In practice it would be the beginning of a caste system based on one’s viral status.

            Just say NO. Looks like people in the US are finally starting to put their feet down to expedite the end of this situation.

            And in whose interest is it to keep people as distant from one another as possible?

          • Alms for an Ex Leper………….

            Couple of problems Oldhead

            (1) the Australian Government brought in a system 2 (?) years ago that allowed doctors to access your medical history on a computer system. MyHealth. This system was introduced in a manner that meant you had a record created for you UNLESS you specifically opted out. Civil liberties lawyers protested that it should be the other way around, that people should have to say they wanted a record created for them. Those lawyers I assume are now being treated in the Ariel Castro Memorial for their ‘schizophrenia’.

            (2) If the people do not take up this app in the numbers the government wants, then two things are likely to occur. Further restrictions on civil liberties ie lockdowns, and legislation like that above that makes it mandatory to have the app. The P.M. has threatened the first, and is no doubt looking into the second.

            I was pondering this situation and wondered if it isn’t a way to get out of the illegal tracking that has already been done, but that we have till this point in time been unable to prove is being done.

            Combine those medical records with the ability to track everyone and what have you got? Then combine that with organised criminals in our hospitals and police records …….

            Glad i’m not Jewish or a ‘mental patient’ (lol), coz Hitler said if they never admitted they were wrong (at Nuremburg) that the Reich would see a rise again in about a hundred years. Looking like they are ahead of shedule, though this unexpected turn of events has certainly provided assitance in speeding up the program.

            Stigmatise and Ostracise
            Remove Rights and property
            .
            .
            .

            They’re Baaaaack.

  6. Very powerful article and perspective. I struggle with definitions of what is ‘positive’ vs. what is ‘negative,’ and also what is ‘toxic’ vs. what is ‘nourishing.’ They can feel universal in one sense, but there is nuance and individuality here, too, that is, diversity and relativity.

    I use these words, but context and intention do matter and language has so much energy to it. We attach a lot to words, and also personalize them, I think that’s human nature. We also have the free will to choose how we face ourselves and how we relate to the world around us, through language, at any given moment. There’s a lot of creativity in how we express ourselves. I think it’s more of an art than a science, because we actually CREATE from language.

    I believe one thing that is clear is that allowing ALL our emotions is where freedom comes in. And yes, our society is highly restrictive here, no permission to be fully ourselves (or even hardly ourselves!), which not only cuts us off from our nature–which, in turn, is terribly harmful–but also, this is oppression.

    Psychiatry, in particular, slams and penalizes not just emotions, but passion, which is our spirit. Hard to put any kind of positive spin on that, it just sucks, and in the end, it is debilitating if one does not find a way back to oneself from being harmed this way. And yes, it is harmful and abusive to emotionally manipulate others by attaching shame to how someone feels about anything. That can ONLY be a projection because how can it be shameful to feel? That is dehumanizing, and defies all logic to me. As long as we’re ok with ourselves, I don’t think we need anyone else’s permission. The trick is allowing ourselves to be ourselves.

    These are challenging times. All kinds of things are coming forth from the shadows, and into the light, including some very strong emotions that come with awakening. Well, they need to if we are ever to know truth in this era of smoke & mirrors. Gaslighting has become our way of life. Hopefully, this time of “social reset” will bring clarity to all that, and we’ll see what is behind this haze passing over us. And indeed, there will be lots of long held back emotions being expressed in all kinds of ways, from all over the spectrum. To feel is the essence of human nature. No qualifiers on that!

    • Your last paragraph has made it clear to me the reasons for this ‘cash splash’ our government is engaging in Alex. If they get us fighting over the ‘pennies’ on the ground, we won’t start organising and turn our anger on those who desreve to feel our wrath. And while were picking up those pennies, they can strip the financial institutions of anything worthwhile, and lay the blame elsewhere.

      Oh and is that second last sentence meant to read “To steal is the essence of human nature”? lol

  7. It seems to me that being either positive or negative can get overblown, or “toxic.” The tricky thing is to be just as positive, or negative, as what fits the situation! And we are always trying to figure out exactly what we are up against, especially when the threat is something new, like Covid 19.

    As for trying to focus on what one can control – it seems to me that is basic to any kind of problem solving, it’s not part of “toxic positivity.” It makes sense even in very “negative” situations – so for example one might be dying, but decide to focus on what one can control, like sending a kind message to loved ones. I do get that it may be annoying or wildly inaccurate when someone else is telling you what you should think you can control, but that’s another issue.

    • Ron, I think the objection here may be more to the idea that if you “focus on what you can control,” you will somehow magically feel better and solve whatever problems beset you. Naturally, focusing on what you can control does help a person feel more able to make decisions instead of feeling stuck, but just as naturally, advice to “focus on what you can control” when one of the things you CAN’T control is eating or having a place to live or dealing with an abusive partner can come off as just a TAD insensitive. I think it has a lot to do with the relationship between the parties and the timing of such a question. If you haven’t take the time to really understand and empathize with the difficulties of the situation to the satisfaction of the other person involved, suggesting to “stay positive” or “focus on what you can control” is going to come across as condescending or pollyanna-ish, as it feels more like a brushoff than an attempt to understand and be supportive.

      • Well, if the article only said what you are saying, I wouldn’t have any problem with it. I definitely agree that if the therapist comes off as insensitive, as unwilling to listen to what the person is dealing with and suffering from, and if the therapist makes it sound like all of the problem can magically be solved, it won’t go well!

        Situations where we have to let go of controlling some things and focus on what we can still control are often situations of loss – like when we have to let go of trying to put out the fire and just control what we can, which might be getting out of the house before we burn up too. In such situations, there is real loss, but focusing on what one can control is still an important way to reduce losses.

        What bothered me in the article was when it made much stronger statements than you made, such as when it was asserted that “Telling individuals to stop focusing on “what they can’t control” is not only gaslighting, it’s inaccurate.” I get it that Megan wanted to critique therapists who might be suggesting that their clients pay no attention to broader social factors that cause oppression, but I think trying to figure out what you actually can control is also important for social activists – we are always trying to figure out where it is we might actually be able to make changes, and to avoid beating our heads against walls and getting nowhere!

        • I certainly agree that at some point in any process, a person wanting to be effective has to take a moment to ask what part of this s/he controls. Otherwise, we can waste a lot of time banging our heads against big walls rather than looking for doors or digging tunnels or climbing trees or perhaps choosing another direction to travel. In particular, we can’t directly control how other people choose to view us, and I have spent decades learning slowly how to let go of that urge. But again, to have this kind of discussion presupposes a level of trust that isn’t always present. I also get the idea that saying to “focus on what you control” out of context can very much come across as, “Don’t worry about those people with the rifles over there. You can’t decide whether they shoot you or not, so let’s look for something positive in the situation.” True, there isn’t much we can do about “the people with the rifles over there,” but it is essential to acknowledge their presence and the effect they are having on us before moving to “focusing on what we can control.”

          I hope that makes sense. I most definitely ask that question frequently when I’m working with someone, but certainly not to start out with and always with a sensitivity to when the client/friend/person I’m helping is in a place where that question can be taken on board without feeling shamed or invalidated in their fears or frustrations.

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