How to cure weaponized hypochondria?
The first step is not to pretend it isn't by ceding to it the slightest legitimacy. It must be unmasked for the illness it is - which cannot happen as long as people who aren't ill pretend those who are ill aren't.
This is false compassion - and for that reason dangerous and those who insist upon it are either incredibly misguided or something much worse. It is cruel to entertain harmful delusions - both as regards the deluded and as regards those who aren't but enable the perpetuation of the delusion by participating in reality denial. Authentic kindness is best expressed by unwinding the delusion; by helping the deluded person to shed it by not being complicit in it and thereby help them to realize that their fears are skewed and exaggerated; that things are ok . . . and that they will be ok.
How to know whether you're dealing with someone who is ill? Diagnosis is easy. All you have to do is look around. If you see a "mask" you are seeing illness.
Or complicity with it.
Does the patient insist on you pretending you are sick in the absence of any evidence that you are?
Is the patient obsessed with sickness even though they aren't sick?
Are they unreasonable?
If you ask them to explain how a person who isn't sick can spread sickness and they respond with anger, you are probably dealing with a very sick person. If they don't at least pause when presented with a contrary fact or contradicting statements by the "experts" - e.g., "masks don't work" and then "wear two masks" - it is likely there is something badly wrong.
With them.
If you say to them:
This virus poses a very small threat of more than mild symptoms to almost all otherwise healthy people and of those people, on the order of 99-plus percent have not and are not likely to die and so it is as unreasonable to live in dread of dying from it as it is to live in dread of dying in a car wreck or from heart disease. . . and their reaction is hysterical, you may assume they are extremely sick.
If they insist that wearing a "mask" in order to be allowed in a restaurant is necessary but that it is unnecessary to keep wearing it at the table, they are profoundly delusional. They cannot appreciate that they are performing a ritual to salve their disturbed state of mind - in the manner of a child avoiding cracks in the sidewalk to keep from breaking her momma's back.
In ordinary times it was unnecessary to treat such people because for the most part, they kept their sickness to themselves. The child avoiding cracks wasn't empowered to make everyone else hop-skip down the sidewalk to also avoid the cracks, for the sake of her momma's perfectly-intact-regardless back.
Equivalently disturbed manias such as obsessive hand-washing, fearfulness and even "mask" wearing were seen as sad but harmless as regards the mentally sound, who weren't expected to pretend it wasn't mentally unsound to be a hypochondriac.
But then hypochondria was weaponized, leading to the current mass (and "mask") psychosis. The ill are everywhere - and require therapy - in order to cure what ails us.
This being the expectation to perform bizarre rituals for their sake, to ease their peace of broken mind and - much worse - to simply give in to the madness and let the crazies run the country and our lives into the ground.
That is the first step toward health. Just say . . . No! I will not put on a "mask." If that makes you nervous then see a shrink. Get help. Deal with your problem. Do not try to make it my problem, because I will not tolerate it.
In their face whenever they get in yours. Laugh in their face, if need be - if they provoke it.
The harassment of healthy people by the ill must end. The ill must be made to understand that they are ill. By saying so, openly and without feeling bad about it. The healthy must remember that it is good to identify and treat illness - not enable and perpetuate it.
This will take a great deal of work given all the work expended on making people sick. We are living through something that has no precedent in modern history. The closest historical analog is probably the religious paranoia of the Medieval witch-hunt and then as now the treatment for that was enlightenment - a general refusal to countenance bizarre hobgoblins of the mind by refusing to pretend witch-hunters weren't very sick and very dangerous people.
No more putting on the very dangerous ritual garment to avoid upsetting the latter-day witch hinters. Let them get upset, stamp their feet and huff and puff. If they go beyond getting upset, then there are treatments for that, too.
Practice true kindness - by refusing to be a party to the psychological crippling of healthy children for the sake of accommodating mentally damaged adults.
It ends as soon as we decide it ends. No more witch hunts. No more "colored entrance" signs on doors.
No more "masks required" signs on doors.
The high ground is ours - for their sake as much as ours.
It is time to reclaim it.
. . .
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