• Daniel Heath

Opinion. Anxiety in a pandemic

Updated: Mar 1

The degree to which anxiety in the adult population has played it's part in this event, is perhaps analogous to

that experienced during wartime.


During peacetime suffering anxiety is, in the main, a response to internal conflict (and external factors such as poverty, destitution, societal unrest and to relatively benign uncertainty in respect of broad political movements).


With common sense having been removed as a level for behavioural control and robbed of their agency, the public were immediately regressed (in April 2020) to a position of infantile dependence. This new position singlehandedly amplified any residual anxieties, as would be the case perhaps in a contained therapeutic setting.


From this point forward the management of anxiety by the state (many may argue mismanagement) has echoed a dysfunctional parenting dyad; with aggressively imposed, confusing and contradictory commands, financial dependence (ie.food & shelter) against a backdrop of ever increasing dogmatic statistical danger and fear rhetoric.


  • Whether we agree with the lockdown policy or not, the outcome during this event will likely be a reduction in anxiety for those already living with regressive anxieties (prior to March 2020) and an increase of anxieties on opening up due to intense fear of normality and adulthood.


  • For those broadly un-regressed in normal times, we see an increase in anxiety during lockdown (as dependency is not normally sought or the typical homeostasis) and a reduction in anxiety as we open up following relief from this state imposed regressive pressure.


Both responses I would argue lead to poor mental health outcomes, as in both cases imposed trauma is experienced.