Is the Western World Having a Mental Breakdown?

Before I begin, let me just say that this entire essay is about questions not answers, but …

There’s something in the air. Do you feel it, too?

A shift is taking place. It’s bringing out the crazies in huge numbers. Intuitive people who register high on the empathy scale feel strange undercurrents, but can’t explain the feeling to those who don’t. In my case, these unwelcome feelings are also unsolicited. They spring from deep within the solar plexus.

I have to constantly remind myself that because I was raised in a religious cult founded upon doomsday predictions, I’ve been conditioned to see the world as unredeemable.

I never expected to reach age thirty. The world was supposed to end. I’m now seventy-one and much to my surprise, I’m still here. My parents never purchased burial plots for themselves because they fully expected to be raptured instead. Needless to say, they’re now occupying graves in rural Maine.

Can you see how I might mistrust my own feelings?

So, when I get these “feelings”, I try really hard to squelch them. The last thing I want to do is turn into a rabid prepper. I’ve been down that road too many times before. My parents prepared for the imminent end of the world off and on for their entire lives. Once was right before Y2K. Do you remember that crazy event? Yeah, well, my parents purchased enough army surplus food for several years, took all of their money out of the bank, and hunkered down for the end to finally take place.

Nothing happened, of course.

Once we went as far north as the Yukon because my dad was convinced that World War III was minutes away. He loaded five kids into a van and drove far north looking for a job. He was offered a job, too, but at the last minute my mom refused to move. A horrible fight ensued, one of hundreds over the years, and then, he loaded the family back in the van and we went back home.

So you can see how hesitant I am to allow my emotions to run wild.

I’ve managed to pursue a mostly mainstream life in spite of my upbringing. Yet, these feelings are with me again. For lack of a better explanation, I’ll use a metaphor to shed a little light on this persistent feeling that something’s not quite right.

It feels like the western world is experiencing a mental breakdown.

There, I said it. That’s the metaphor. Things are changing and not for the better.

I don’t think we can turn back the clock or return to the way things were either. Organic change has a life force of its own. We are definitely transitioning to something very different and it’s not what progressives had hoped for back in 2016.

I sensed the presence of the boogieman on the doorstep in 2015. It haunted me. I knew something really big was about to happen and not in a good way.

No, not the end of the world or the rapture either. I no longer need to cling to the idea of a fantasy superhero who’ll rescue me. I know that all we have is one another. It’s up to humans to take care of each other.

Yet, I’m beginning to wonder if that’s even possible?

Do we have far less free will than we’d like to think? Because so often we end up doing things that simply aren’t in our best interests. Things that actually slow down progress by decades even centuries.

Some days I think what we’re experiencing is a regressive movement with a twist.

You know, social regression camouflaged with technological advancements, leading us to believe that we’re much more in control of things than we really are, that we can actually fix things because look what we’ve created so far. Never mind that we’re still trying to solve problems with violence, almost exclusively with violence.

That realization alone makes me angry and deeply discouraged.

That’s when I start thinking that maybe this is as good as it gets. Am I just unwilling to accept that it’s not that humans won’t but that humans can’t do any better.

Is that why we created the concept of a heaven?

If you read the description of heaven, it’s pretty clear that humans actually agree on what life on this planet should be. Perhaps we don’t have the collective will to make it happen, but we created a model for a better world centuries ago. We know.

So, why do we continue to do what humans have done for centuries, tear it all to the ground.

We know what life should be like for the children we insist on bringing into this world. It should be like the heaven we created in our mythological tales.

We’ve decided to wait until the next life, however.

So here we are again, waiting for something to happen, a highly volatile state of affairs. Psychopaths are taking advantage of the situation as they snatch the wheel in order to control the direction that we’re headed. Anxieties are at at an all time high. Out of control behaviors are a daily occurrence. A feeling of impending doom is growing from sheer fear and hate.

Our very unwillingness to work together, our total lack of collective will, our deep distrust pointing us in the direction of our own demise.

There’s a growing feeling that we’re in an episode of the Walking Dead, but nobody seems to agree on who the zombies are, so we simply resort to shooting the first person that we don’t agree with.

Am I imagining this scenario?

Or was my personal interpretation of the world so tainted as a child that I’m destined to live a life of deep mistrust, even loathing? I try to remember my roots and the fact that I grew up in prepper boot camp. That certainly had a profound impact on who I am today.

Yet, the feeling persists.

And now, my intuition is being backed by the secular world. Professors and historians, even scientists seem to agree with me. Suddenly, this grim feeling is being supported by facts not just myths and superstitions.

That certainly doesn’t help to lift this persistent feeling of doom and gloom.

Yet, my optimistic friends keep telling me that this too shall pass. I’m hoping that they’re right and I’m wrong. They seem pretty happy to drink a glass or two or three of wine in the evening and then call it a good day.

In the meantime, I’m sitting up late at night writing and thinking with nothing more to soothe me than my plans to stock my larder just in case the empire falls.

Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Teresa Roberts

Teresa Roberts


Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. She’s also a top writer on climate change and the future.