She was happy with her life. She was pleased with the beauty and order that reigned in her house, as well as the way that she took to work every day, which brought her through the most beautiful part of the city. After a childhood full of misfortunes, she managed to build her own little world. A kind world based on blind trust and secured by the tamed madness of sharing an established meaning with others.

This very human set-up burst like a balloon when she suffered an unexpected “panic attack” (according to the fashionable diagnosis). All form dissolved, the familiar became strange, her own identity unravelled, leaving her without boundaries, and her existence lost all meaning. She assumed that this was a temporary “disorganisation”, after which she would return to the previous state of organisation. But anguish, the only affect that does not deceive, was merely the sign that announced the unravelling of that fragile tripod on which her world stood. A world she had built by fleeing her family’s fate and making use of all her resources. She knew that the only way out of this strange, but at the same time recognisable, horror was to recover the world of yesterday, as she had no capacity to invent a new one.

Alone, faced with the presence of the real without any kind of formal envelope, she felt that she was nothing more than a heap of amorphous flesh and that to become a body again it was necessary to cut it into discrete pieces, distributed day by day as the libido returned to each one. She had never been able to endure living day to day, for her greatest fear was to live without a system, to live open to whatever might happen. If she could do it now, she would no longer be in perdition and madness, but in the recovery of a humanised world. But she didn’t succeed. She was so terrified that she could only continue to breathe if she imagined that someone was reaching out to her, giving her a hand. She looked for it.

For the first time she asked for a psychiatric appointment. An act she had avoided all her life, because she felt it was better not to know anything about the crazed Other that inhabited her. She had always been too cowardly to find herself in the structure.

The doctor listened to her for a short time. At another time in her long career she would not have hesitated: a psychotic breakdown in a person who, because of her desire to understand and her ability to speak, was a good candidate for psychotherapy, in addition to prescribing the appropriate medication. But that week the news had spread around the world that, at Oxford University, a team of scientists led by Dr Paul Harrison had found the reason for the increase in the number of cases overwhelming the mental health system. This is a “neurological-psychiatric” sequela of Covid which, in some cases, appears between six months and two years after infection. The inflammatory processes produced by the disease and the hypothesis that a reservoir of the virus may remain in the body seem to explain the cause.

She was waiting for the psychiatrist’s words, but she could not foresee the question he would ask her:

“Have you ever been infected by Covid?

“Yes I was, five months ago, but it was just a cold from which I recovered without any problems.”

“Well, we’re going to do a neurological examination to assess any possible sequelae.”

“Do you think that explains the catastrophe I’m going through?”


“But …”

The psychiatrist had already held out his hand. It was not the hand she had hoped to get to prevent her from falling for good, only a hand bearing the leaflets indicating the tests she was to undergo in the Neurology department.

I have made up this story in reaction to the “scientific” proposal of the Oxford University article published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry[1], which is being widely reported by the media.

In a society stuffed with false sociological, psychological and scientific answers, people have stopped thinking about the paradoxes that would lead them to ask the good questions. This research, which seems to discover something new, only return to the same old obscurantism. By referring the cause of mental illness back to organic, genetic or viral problems, havoc is wreaked on subjectivity. The clinic is flattened, it is no longer necessary to listen to the patient because the cause is organic and, in this way, the patient is exempted from any responsibility, that is, from discovering his or her own answer. This is a crass mistake, for it only increases the passion for ignorance, and in the end abandons the subject to his helplessness.

Translated by Florencia F.C. Shanahan

Published by Zadig Spain on 24th August 2022: