I’ve no idea whether I’m a casualty of the decline in mental health that shrinks have been predicting as a by-product of the Coronaviral pandemic, but my symptoms suggest that I well could be.
According to my wife I’ve been even more absent-minded than ever lately. A fact that normally I wouldn’t consider to be of concern. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it would simply signify that I was preoccupied with writing in my head before committing the results to paper.
But as I haven’t written a word in either thought or deed for well over a week, I’m concerned that my absence of mind could be a symptom of some form of mental Ill-health. Like what psych professionals formerly called ‘free-floating anxiety’ and is currently known as ‘generalised anxiety disorder’.
Though, come to think of it, I’ve nothing to be especially anxious about, save for such trifling chronic concerns as advancing old age and decline towards death, plus of course the possibility that this process could at any moment be vastly accelerated by the dreaded virus.
So if it’s anxiety that’s causing my acute absent-mindedness and abeyance of writerly activity, it must be a side-effect of my concern for others. Like my ‘feeling anxious almost all the time’ Facebook friend, or my son-in-common-law who last week lost his part-time job in hospitality, or my weekday-morning-coffee mate who’s on tenterhooks while she waits to hear whether she’s to be a casualty of the latest round of staff-cuts to the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC).
Or else depression at the spectacle of the general decline in mental health and wealth that so many governments around the world have been long engaging-in through greater or lesser degrees of stealth.
By the inane to the point of insane privileging the alleged ‘pillars’ of race, religion and royalty over rational reality, as in the case of Malaysia; of ruthless truthlessness over human intelligence as in the capitalist ‘Communist’ Party’s so-called ‘People’s’ Republic of China; and of Presidential fake news and flake views over clearly-evident facts as in Trump’s US, Putin’s Russia, Bolsonaro’s Brazil and elsewhere.
While in my native Australia, the currently ruling conservative coalition keeps undermining the mental health of the nation by such a wide variety of stealthy or at least rat-cunning moves ranging from promising and maddeningly failing to deliver desperately-needed financial, material and psychological support to bushfire victims to demanding restitution of alleged overpayments to welfare recipients.
This latter so-called ‘Robodebt’ or in fact more accurately Robberdebt scheme cost the unfortunate victims a total of almost a billion dollars in false indebtedness, and countless deaths by desperation-induced suicide.
And yet a massive class-action resulting from the courts’ finally deeming the scheme illegal has yet to elicit an apology from the guilty government, though it has grudgingly agreed to very gradually repay the funds ill-gotten thereby.
As to the terrible toll this gruesome government has taken of mental wealth as well as health, it has decimated the former pride of the nation, its system of public Technical and Further Education (TAFE) by selling it out in favour of frequently fraudulent private ‘colleges’ and thus left Australia desperately short of emplyable talent in a great many trades.
And only recently the same government has further threatened the mental wealth of the nation with a two-pronged assault on the universities.
The first of these being its exclusion of university staff from the ‘Job-keeper’ income-support scheme that it devised for workers in most other sectors of the coronavirally-devastated economy, and the second being its decision to double the price of university courses in the ‘humantities’, or in other words in those faculties devoted to educating students in critical-thinking, and to slash the costs of what it deemed ‘employment-related’ degrees.
Just as it has spent years steadily dumbing-down the nation’s media and muting criticism of itself by increasingly under-funding Australia’s sole major source of trusthworthy news, intelligent views and genuinely investigative journalism.
In short, this government has taken advantage of the Coronavirus crisis to persist, as always, in its ideological support of material wealth and ethical poverty at the expense of both mental health and intellectual wealth by hook, by crook, and if possible by stealth.
Or, in other words, this rotten regime is as hell-bent as so many others, from the US to Malaysia, on rendering its subject citizens not only every whit as witlessly absent-minded as I’ve been lately, but also, if possible, sufficiently brain-dead as to keep voting them back into government.