Fear: the toxic factor that Ebola and mental illness have in common

Ebola. You hear about it all over the place now. In a sense, that’s good. People are certainly talking about it. But here’s what’s bad. A lot of what’s out there is just noise — noise that seems destined to create fear in the minds of the general public.

Fear and illness do not mix. Fear does nothing to stop illness, and it certainly does nothing for people who have said illness–except to make them outcasts. As someone with depression and anxiety, I have to live with people’s fears of my illnesses. It’s not healthy, and it’s certainly not fun.

I think about this as I watch all the news reports about Ebola. I’ve decided pretty quickly that I need to stop watching most of these reports. Because most of them aren’t about Ebola. They are about fear of Ebola. I don’t need that. Here’s what I need to know about Ebola: what it is, how it spreads, and COMMON SENSE things I can do to keep myself from getting it. That’s it. No stories about finger pointing, or people in hazmat suits.

I think about the people who have Ebola, and the hell that their family and friends must be going through. The last thing they need is public hysteria. Come to think of it, the last thing any of us needs is public hysteria.

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