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Power Stories & Articles

Reset vs Regret

In the midst of Covid shutdowns, mandates and crises, God can help us maintain healthy mental and emotional balance

by Steven L. Johnston, PCC-S

During a plenary session of the 2021 World Conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors, mental health expert, Dr. Gregory Jantz, spoke candidly about the correlation between Covid and our nation's current mental health crisis. The following is my paraphrase and expansion upon his points. 

Psychosis and Syndrome

The mental health crisis raging in our nation is being described as both Covid Psychosis and Titanic Syndrome. Psychosis is basically detachment from reality. COVID Psychosis can best be describe by the statement, "I've had enough!" This is specially true where shut downs and other forced mandates are resulting in mental health being sacrificed out of a concern for "safety." Some have felt so institutionalized by being shut down that their mental health is still too poor to return to work. TITANIC Syndrome, on the other hand, is best described by the feeling, " We're going down. We're all on a sinking ship.

Doom Scrolling and Paternal Governments

Contributing to Covid Psychosis and Titanic Syndrome is constant "doom scrolling," i.e., negative news that never ends imploring how we need to keep ourselves safe -- even to the point of curtailing participation in otherwise life giving and life affirming holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Added to this is are paternalistic governmental interventions which, like an overbearing parent, keep insisting that we take our medicine for our own good.  The combined weight of Covid Psychosis, Titanic Syndrome, Doom Scrolling and Paternalistic Governments has caused many to become so overwhelmed and alarmed that their sense of reality is completely distorted. Here are just a few examples

  • Addictions are skyrocketing, resulting in overdoses of epidemic proportions
  • Sleep disorders are soaring
  • Suicide and attempted suicide rates have never been higher -- even among youth and children

A Biblical Response

What all this requires is that we yield to God until we develop better "discernment," which is what I call acceptance of the human condition. We must cultivate a greater trust in God while we accept sufferings with His grace that is always sufficient. Having a sound mind includes not believing everything we read -- even when it's put forth by so called experts. We must also be able to gain an accurate perspective by learning forgiveness that teaches us not to view life from the role of the victim, but to consider what makes people do what they do (what pressures they are dealing with, etc.)  Finally,  while adapting to governmental measures, we must resist the temptation to become overly dependent upon government 

As we learn emotional balance by turning to God with our sufferings, we can regain our capacity for joy in the midst of difficult times.  I recommend keeping a Gratitude Journal, looking for opportunities to spread joy, and actively seeking to find good in others everyday. 


Steven L. Johnston CPC  PCC-S LLC
Clinical Pastoral Counselor
Supervising Clinical Counselor

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