Prager U is looking at the impact of lockdown on our mental health and asking, “Was it worth it?”
In the last 30 days, around 40% of people have reported mental or behavioral health issues, 30% anxiety or depression, 26% trauma and stress and 10.7% have considered suicide.
You need to say it twice to stop yourself reading it like a shopping list. During lockdowns, one in ten people have considered suicide in the last 30 days. Look around you. One in ten.
We also know that statistically these figures will be an under-representation. People do not willingly share this kind of information about their darkest thoughts in hopeless moments. Suicide is a private thing, perhaps the most solitary act of all. Right up until what remains of you is found.
4 in 5 U.S. workers live paycheck-to-paycheck. What do you say to a father who no longer has an income to pay the rent? Or a mother made redundant in March with no money to buy food? For many of us work is about much more than satisfying bills, or a providing a home. There is dignity in work, and indignity in the losing of it. This is not unique to lower income homes.
Articulating how it feels to lose purpose is hard. Lockdown is like being poisoned by a noxious gas no one can see, a kind of malaise that spreads when we are inactive for too long. This loss of purpose has seeped quietly into homes over lockdown, but its effects are starting to show.
Many of us — particularly those enduring harsher lockdowns in Democrat-run states or Australia and New Zealand — see the visible signs of these dry numbers shared by Prager U; petty bickering in grocery stores or on public transportation, physical violence over a row about masks, or personal relationships ending out of the blue.
Look at this image on the left of my neighbor on a flight from JFK to Los Angeles. What kind of fear drives a person to dress like this?
These mental health statistics show in the elderly too. Many are trapped in solitary confinement by their own fears, losing crucial skills like mobility and intellectual agility. My mum and dad are 70 and 72 years old. Before COVID they were never at home; it was a family joke that grandma and grandpa were always gadding about, holidaying or learning to dance at their sweet little dance class. Now they seem marooned.
The young are also blighted. Unsure of themselves to the point of neurosis, lockdown has cut off their usual ways of getting reassurance from friends or teachers. Many feel lost and frustrated by rushed endings, canceled exams and foiled plans for the future.
Prager U asks ‘Was it Worth it?’ And of course, for those of us who went into lockdown kicking and screaming, the answer has always been no. It was never worth it, and we knew this from the start. Locking down healthy people is indefensible.
I argue it was not worth it for those with cancer either.
Almost 2.5 million Britons have not been screened, tested or treated for cancer because of the disruption to our health service. In effect our NHS went into lockdown too. We were told to stay at home to “save the NHS.” Health services are supposed to save patients, not the other way around. Friends with terminal cancer (counting the months left to live on one hand) went into lockdown alone, and never made it out.
COVID is a lazy killer. It plucks off the very elderly, frail and infirm. More than 70% of COVID-related deaths in the USA have been individuals over the age of 74. Contrast this with deaths for those under the age of 45, which have been almost nonexistent.
Our reaction to this virus has been far more aggressive and deadlier than the virus itself.
Catastrophizing corona has flattened everything — like predicting a Category 5 Hurricane and taking an army of bulldozers to buildings and bodies before the first gusts ever reach the shore. In states where Democrats have made the lockdown as protracted and punitive as possible, the devastation is seismic.
Lockdown has not just targeted the over-74s or those with underlying health conditions. Lockdown infects the young, the ambitious, the dynamic, and the aspiring. It cripples those making something of their lives and paralyzes others striving to build a business.
When there seems to be no way of escaping a life that is simply to hard to continue, suicide can become a rational act. One in 10 Americans are considering suicide not because they are unstable, but because it seems the only available option to make the hurt stop or the worry go away.
We all have a breaking point. I am certain of it. My own struggle with epilepsy took me there. Back in 2014, I made a rational decision I did not wish to continue my life with seizures but lacked the courage to act on it. I was saved by my brain surgery, in every sense.
I wonder if the more pressing question is not a rhetorical “Was it worth it?” It is an active one: “How do we stop it? How do we end the lockdown? How do we save people from the tyranny of lockdown?”
The Prager U rhetoric is far easier to answer.
But there are things we can all do.
We need to look out for each other. Brave faces are not always honest ones.
I have been tested a little in my life by adversary and I know the things that don’t help; certainly not sympathy or pity, or gossips who see your struggles as collateral to share.
I have been saved by the private kindness of those who slung a rope around my waist and gave me something to lean back against and feel the pull of it against my spine. Right now we all need something to hold as this Category 5 madness passes through.
“This too shall pass.” These are words we all need to be reminded of; small words, but mighty. I tell my children we are all on those moving walkways like you get at airports. It doesn’t matter whether you walk, lie down, throw yourself on the floor screaming, or moonwalk backwards, you will still be swept along, and be tipped off softly at the end, someplace new.
And for those bold enough, we need to challenge this infernal lockdown wherever it manifests. Not in small arguments or petty confrontations with those who are powerless. But at its heart, where the power lies. Governors, Senators, Congressmen and those paid to represent you. Make them feel the reality of what you forced to endure.
And we can take positive action too; supporting those who defy lockdown, spending our money in stores which welcome us without masks, helping promote businesses trying to stay open, finding a way around the nonsensical rules to spread a bit of much needed positivity and goodwill.
I am on a mission to do exactly this.
Brits are currently banned from traveling to the USA, but I have made it here to America to help in this fight for our freedom, and to demonstrate that when we are determined, we will find a way.