Disambiguation: The mental disorder described herein is not to be confused with Covid-19, a relatively rare and easily treatable disease of the epithelium caused by the human-created SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The following is an attempt to describe a new mental disorder that has affected hundreds of millions of people around the world. Due to the astonishing spread of this debilitating disease, it is hoped that the American Psychiatric Association will include it in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). A widely distributed description and classification of this disease will surely go a long way toward its successful treatment.
Signs and Symptoms
As its name suggests, covidia nervosa, or CN, is primarily a disease of the mind. However, as with many other mental disorders, progression of the disease to more severe stages can result in significant physical morbidity.
The primary sign of covidia nervosa is easily observable: the sufferer will wear a mask over his/her face, covering both the mouth and nose. In the initial stages of the disease, the sufferer will wear the mask only in public indoor spaces (restaurants, shops and public transport). However, as the disease progresses, this mask wearing behaviour will become more pronounced and the subject will wear a mask while outdoors and in private spaces like automobiles. As the disease advances toward its terminal stage, the sufferer will wear the mask at home and even in swimming pools and saunas.
Sufferers of CN display evident impairments in social behaviour, similar to those seen with phobias, trauma and autism-spectrum disorders. The most telling of these signs is a drastic and self-imposed reduction in social contacts. The sufferer will eliminate all contacts with parents, friends, co-workers and, in more extreme cases, all members of the public, including doctors and healthcare workers. In this regard, covidia nervosa resembles clinical depression and various anxiety disorders.
Many behaviours of the CN patient will mirror those of severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Repetitive hand washing and sanitising, including public displays of such behaviours, is nearly universal in CN. These behaviours are often extended to objects with which the sufferer comes into contact, such as packages, benches, cutlery and doorknobs. In extreme instances, patients have been observed to ‘quarantine’ and even burn objects such as packages, bags and fast food containers. Other OCD-like behaviours include an insistence on walking around shops in only one direction, or a refusal to stand within a certain distance of others.
Covida nervosa may sometimes be confused with Tourette’s syndrome due to the tendency for sufferers to engage in repetitive vocalisations and verbal tics. These include the exhortation to ‘stay safe!’ and the assertion that ‘We’re all in this together!’ (often stated through closed doors or over internet connections). As the disease progresses, the sufferer will switch from such seemingly benign vocalisations to antagonistic and aggressive vocalisations aimed at individuals not afflicted with the disease. ‘Wear your mask!’ and ‘Pull it up over your nose!’ are two common examples. It appears that the condition of wellness operates as a kind of trigger to the CN patient.
There is a sociopathic dimension to covidia nervosa that goes beyond mere verbal harassment of others. Many sufferers display a strong interest in inflicting pain and suffering on others, particularly children. Some observers have described this as ‘sadistic paedophobia.’ It appears that the patient finds the limit on suffering that they can impose on themselves to be intolerable, so they cast about for a victim they can torment. Children, being physically and mentally unable to defend themselves, provide the perfect victims. First, the patient will insist that children wear a mask, but as the disease progresses, the patient will insist that children receive dangerous and untested injections (the pain-inducing and penetrative nature of the needle is particularly telling). This progression from sadistic paedophobia to paedicide by proxy is one of the hallmarks of advanced covida nervosa.
CN is almost entirely a disease of WEIRD nations (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich Democratic nations). Within those nations, it is most prevalent in the Anglosphere (the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States). It occurs most often among university-educated workers in clerical, management and administrative positions. It is particularly common among those working in institutional settings, and there is a direct correlation between institutional size and frequency of occurrence. Given this relationship, it appears that there is an element of social contagion.
CN is more prevalent among women than men. Some have speculated that this is due to a greater sensitivity to social cues on the part of women, or their greater representation in institutional and administrative work roles.
As noted above, the prevalence of CN is strongly correlated with certain professions. Computer-based work is found to be a strong predictor of developing the disorder, while work in the trades and work conducted outdoors is found to be strongly protective against it. Some researchers have speculated that regular physical engagement with non-digital reality is protective against the development of the delusional states that characterise CN.
Covidia nervosa was originally thought to be caused by exposure to the education system due to the strong positive correlation between years of education and prevalence of the disease. However, the existence of a significant subpopulation of highly educated people who display resistance to the disease falsified this theory. Closer examination revealed that the causal agent is media, in particular news media and social media, with the latter acting to amplify the former.
However, not all media are risk factors for the development of CN. Indeed, only a tiny fraction of media outlets are actually causal agents of the condition. Three criteria can be used to determine which media cause covidia nervosa: 1) they support the ruling political party, 2) their editorial position is in agreement with the health authorities of the nation in which they operate, and 3) they enjoy favoured status among the so-called ‘Big Tech’ players. Drilling down, it will be seen that these three criteria form a kind of influence map that has one common factor or taproot: the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma). Thus, it can be said that Covidia Nervosa-Inducing Media (CNIM) act as a proximate cause of CN, while the ultimate cause is the pharmaceutical industry or, to be precise, the profit motive thereof.
The connection between consumption of CNIM and the development of covidia nervosa is so strong that media consumption habits can easily be used as a screening tool. If a subject consumes CNIM on a regular basis, the clinician can assume that the subject suffers from CN without any further clinical examination. Indeed, the link is much closer than that between sugar and type II diabetes, or cigarette smoking and lung cancer.
Finally, certain personality types have been found to be highly resistant to CN. Subjects who score low in the Asch Conformity Experiment, which measures a subject’s willingness to override the testimony of his/her senses in order to conform to a group belief, very rarely develop CN. Likewise, subjects who refuse to complete the Milgram Shock Experiment, which measures a subject’s willingness to submit to arbitrary authority, rarely develop CN. When a subject displays both Asch-Negative and Milgram-Negative personality traits, they enjoy full protection against covidia nervosa.
In the initial stages, the covidia nervosa sufferer will focus their neurotic behaviours and thoughts on ‘the virus’ (a mental construct loosely based on Sars-CoV-2 virus memes promulgated by CNIM). However, as the disease progresses, thoughts of the virus are almost entirely replaced by a desire for group belonging, as well as the desire to define and shun the designated out-group or scapegoat. Thus, wearing of the mask has almost nothing to do with a hypothetical reduction in viral transmission and much more to do with the need for acceptance by the group, and signalling of one’s willingness to conform to the dictates of authority.
Those versed in psychology of religion will recognise in these behaviours all the hallmarks of religious belief: a ritual fascination with purity, the need for a holy crusade, the desire to follow the dictates of a priestly class, and the belief in the healing or protective powers of talismans and potions. The deep similarity between covidia nervosa and religious belief has led some researchers to describe it as a religion for those with no religion.
It is hardly surprising, then, that pre-existing religious belief is largely protective against developing CN. However, not all religions are equally protective in this regard: traditional faiths that stress sacrament, ritual and mystery, such as Latin Mass Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, have highly protective effects, while faiths that have eschewed these things in an effort to ‘modernise,’ such as the Anglican or Episcopalian faiths, have no protective effect at all and actually act as risk factors.
Given our clear understanding of the risk factors and causes of covidia nervosa, one might conclude that the disease is easily treatable. Indeed, since covidia nervosa is caused by exposure to CNIM, it would seem a simple matter of weaning the subject off CNIM and increasing the subject’s exposure to alternative media sources. However, this is where almost all treatment attempts come to grief. This is because covidia nervosa responds to treatment in the same way as the Vandellia cirrhosa. This parasitic fish enters a victim’s urethra and reacts to removal attempts by spreading its spines, thereby causing great pain and making extraction impossible.
To use another analogy, covidia nervosa can be seen as a kind of malware that is spread by CNIM. The malware is designed in such a way that when it detects any attempt to remove it, it will shut down the operating system to interfere with the removal process. From the clinician’s perspective, this will be visible as extreme cognitive dissonance in the subject, rendering all treatment ineffective.
When trying to treat CN, the clinician faces the same dilemma as he does when trying to treat paranoid schizophrenia: Whether to pretend the delusions of the sufferer are real in hopes of treating them, or simply denying their very existence in hopes of reducing their power over the victim. In practice, neither approach yields benefits. This is because the mental constructs of the covidia nervosa patient are secondary to the psychological needs that gave rise to them in the first place. It is essential to understand that we are dealing with infantile and lower-brain functions here: basic needs for belonging, approval and recognition. Speaking to the victim in calm, reassuring tones and modelling healthy behaviour has been found to be the best treatment to date.
Because covidia nervosa contains its own ‘immune system’ that protects it against therapeutic intervention, almost all cases of the disease can be classified as ‘treatment-resistant covidia nervosa’. Indeed, that term is considered redundant by most researchers. In most cases, the disease inexorably progresses from mild stages (mask wearing in supermarkets), through intermediate stages (mask wearing in cars), to advanced and terminal stages (voluntarily submitting to experimental genetic therapies).
Fortunately, this inexorable progression often leads to spontaneous remission of the condition. This is due to the fact that these experimental genetic therapies often lead to adverse reactions (migraines, myocarditis, thrombotic events) or unexpected outcomes (actual infection with Sars-CoV-2). In some percentage of cases, this sudden mismatch between the information presented by the CNIM and the subject’s own physical experience leads to complete and total resolution of all covidia nervosa symptoms. Sadly, in many cases, the subject persists in his or her delusions and engages in a series of terminal behaviours (avoiding social encounters, remaining indoors, and submitting to a continuing series of harmful injections), culminating in complete loss of health and, finally, death.