By Enza Ferreri
The first rule to help a depressed person is to say: “get out of the house”, while to create a depressed person you have to say: “stay at home”. This is the essence of the message of Silvana De Mari, a well-known Italian medical doctor specialized in general surgery and endoscopy of the digestive system, a psychotherapist of the cognitivist school and a writer.
Faced with growing evidence of widespread and rampant distress and even serious problems of a psychological nature, leading to clinical depression, pathological anxiety and suicide, caused by the way the Covid epidemic is being managed, Dr De Mari has been recently interviewed by La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana because, being both a physician and a psychotherapist, she can appraise the risks of too little protection as well as those of too much protection.
Is This the Result They Want?
Below is the question-and-answer interview. A disclaimer of sorts: the interview contains references to psychological experiments on animals, to which I object on ethical grounds. Unlike in medical animal experiments, though, some insight might be gained from them, as is the case of those described here, which paradoxically document and show the similarity of feelings between humans and animals, hence the difficulty of justifying them on a moral basis.
“Q. Dr De Mari, it seems that there is a hidden pandemic that nobody talks about: a pandemic of mental disorders. Can you confirm this?
A. Unfortunately, yes. The human being was created to live in the sun, to live a life where there is stability, where work is allowed, where he can be master of his own movements and, within certain limits, of his own destiny thanks to certain immutable securities: family, religion, school, work, health.
Q. What does this have to do with mental disorders?
A. A Korean study shows that the virus is transmitted indoors, not outdoors. Walking in the open air allows the formation of vitamin D and serotonin. To put it simply: if you don’t walk in the fresh air for enough hours, your immune system breaks down and your psyche collapses. If you check the package leaflets of almost all antidepressants, you will find that their mechanism of action is to increase serotonin levels.
Q. So, is getting out of the house healthy?
A. The first rule for a depressed person is: get up and walk. The first rule to create a depressed person is: stay indoors. Endorphins are formed during maximal exertion, running, or in prayer. Prohibiting or mocking religion, with the little politician who explains the time of Christmas Mass according to the bizarre theory of a virus that is nocturnal rather than an evening one [a reference to the curfew imposed in Italy with consequent banning of Midnight Mass last Christmas], or the tiny comedian who explains that God can also be prayed to in the bathroom, are an assault not only on religion, but also on our history. In the race to see who has done worst, however, are the Catholic hierarchies: churches have been closed before bars.
Psychologically Devastating Effects of Unpredictability
Q. You are painting a rather bleak picture….
A. The second very serious damage in fact is insecurity. In their unmissable books, neuropsychiatrists David Servain Schreber and Seligman report the results of similar experiments done with dogs and mice respectively, consisting of unpredictable electric shocks. In his anti-cancer book, Dr Servain Schreber reports how laboratory mice subjected to unpredictable electric shocks, i.e. to a type of stress eerily similar to that to which Conte’s DPCMs [Italian Prime Minister’s repeatedly changed lockdown rules] are subjecting us, had a collapse of the immune system, evidently mediated by cortisol spikes, and consequently cancer took root more easily on them.
Q. And then?
A. The dogs went mad, banging their heads against the bars of their cages and eating their tails. None of this happened where the electric shocks were predictable. Where we make sense of what is happening, our psyche is able to react perfectly. To the depression caused by the lack of sunshine and movement and the unpredictability of prohibitions that destroy every gesture of human life, we then add specific problems: one’s own bar going out of business, one’s own shoe shop having to remain closed while it is full of the spring collection. All this on people who are already in balance.
Q. And for those who are already out of balance?
A. An even greater tragedy on people. A person with schizophrenia is able to compensate when surrounded by a stable, serene environment. The same applies to people with autism. For these people, what happened was a catastrophe.
Q. What do you think about the forced quarantine of children and adolescents who are still in DaD [distance learning]?
A. The loss of sociality and schooling also has cognitive effects: children have forgotten their multiplication tables, others even how to write. Children live immersed in a world of death with death bulletins. Can anyone really think that all this will not trigger phobic disorders in children which will be very difficult to treat? To this is added guilt. One teacher scolded a child who had lent his eraser to a classmate, telling him that he was responsible for the possible death of a grandparent. A nation that takes infinite care not to create even a vague shade of guilt in a woman who has an abortion has quietly accused young people of being the murderers of their parents or grandparents for doing trivially human things: going jogging or walking into a bar in the evening.
Lockdowns Decrease Immune-Boosting Chemicals & Increase Harmful Chemicals
Q. For months, millions of people have been living under enormous psychological pressure, bombarded by terrifying media messages. What effect can all this have on health?
A. PNEI, psycho neuro endocrine immunology, is the name of the new branch of medicine that explores the relationship among the immune system, the endocrine system, the mind and the brain. The situation created by the pandemic can be summed up biochemically as follows: very high cortisol, high adrenaline, very low serotonin, very low endorphins. We can therefore see that we will have a peak increase in cancer, vascular diseases and degenerative diseases. All this will be in addition to the surge in deaths caused by the suspension of diagnostic and therapeutic activity.
Q. Health and political authorities do not seem to take these aspects into account. Yet having a population of depressed and anxious people should be a serious concern.
A. It depends on what is to be achieved. If you want to achieve a strong people who defend their lives, their traditions, their children and their borders, these rules are wrong. If what you want to achieve is a people in disarray, drowning in an increasingly serious shortage of children, unable to build a future, and therefore, crushed between the fear of the virus and the guilt of having failed to create a society where the virus could not circulate, allows it to be “reset”, then this behaviour is ideal. Italy is the one which has done worst, more deaths and more life, school, religion and economy destroyed, but it is clear that there is a common plan, so we need to turn our gaze towards Davos, a charming town in German Switzerland where once a year the 2,000 richest people in the world meet: the Economic Forum.
Q. What does the economy have to do with it?
A. The Economic Forum has officially declared that the pandemic is an opportunity to destroy the current society, reset it, and form a new, fully digitised one. In their book Covid 19 the Great Reset, they explain how without the pandemic it would not have been possible. There will be millions of unemployed and hundreds of thousands of small businesses that will fail, but then, gloriously, the sun of the fourth industrial revolution will light up the world. Diseases are stopped by boosting the immune system and treating them. For Covid-19 was created the crazy plan to stop the circulation of the virus. The various colours, yellow orange red [in Italy the levels of infection spread, equivalent of the UK’s tiers], serve to create hope, to blame the victim. A whole section of the Italian people, those who live, survive and pay taxes through winter sports, have been condemned to death along with hotels and restaurateurs. The health situation has nothing to do with it, it is no less under control than in previous years.
A. How can this ‘psychodemic’ be tackled? With what means?
Q. Only one, with the weapon of truth. But it will not be easy. We risk jail, atrocious fines and TSOs [Mandatory medical treatments]. But we have Saint Michael the Archangel on our side. We might make it.
La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana