For many struggling with the realities of the pandemic, Toxic Positivity has been an increasingly tough obstacle. Looking on the bright side may have papered over the cracks pre-pandemic, but many are coming to realise how toxic that positivity can be. And an announcement from the CDC this week has made the phenomenon even worse. It’s gone airborne.
Early reports suggest as many as two thousand patients have already been infected, and that number is expected to rise. The side effects have been numerous and, in many cases, lethal. Some have refused medication, declaring, “Good vibes are the only insulin I need!” Others have fled the ER, insisting, “I just need to touch grass!” Certain patients have even let their cancer spread, on the belief that “I need to love myself. That includes the tumour.”
“I had one patient tell me fresh air was all they needed,” one overworked nurse told us. “They weren’t wrong; I just had to convince them it had to be pumped directly into their lungs by a respirator.”
First responders are overwhelmed. Simply telling patients to “smile more” and saying “it’ll all be fine” and “it could be worse” have only exacerbated the patients’ conditions. “When I told her she tested positive, she sighed in relief, which was odd. Turns out she thought being relentlessly positive was a good thing. Sadly, this is a common symptom.”
“It’s hard to know the real numbers,” one doctor told us. “Patients with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable to Toxic Positivity. The illness convinces them that their health problems can simply be overcome with a sunny outlook, meaning they don’t seek treatment. Toxically Positive patients are phobic of accepting realities the same way rabies sufferers are phobic of water.”
It seems the medical response to the crisis has been severely hampered by the fact that doctors have struggled to tell whether tearing out catheters and fleeing to the hills was a symptom of the disease or just a sane reaction to a typical hospital bill. “Both the financial structure and the mindset of the medical community have made us unprepared for an illness like this,” said one doctor who herself contracted Toxic Positivity. “It’s challenging all of our medical assumptions. Here I was, thinking burying all your negative emotions until you’re locked in a straightjacket of denial was the only way to go … Science learns something new every day, I guess!”