Is It Just Me Or Has The World Gone A Little Mad?

Image credit: Dragana Gordic/


I’ve seen better days.

With a new normal consisting of almost daily headlines coming out about senseless shootings at schools, an ongoing war in the eastern hemisphere, a war no one wants, but yet thousands of innocent people are being killed and displaced, with politicians on both sides of the aisle perpetrating lies on a regular basis, and reports of people being pushed on subway tracks, committing suicide and being shot in broad daylight becoming matter of fact, you might think the world has gone a little mad.

Yes, so many of us are buzzing with concern as we get our morning coffee and either travel like a herd of cattle to and from our jobs each day or slump behind our computers working the new ‘virtual’ normal of extremely long hours from home. 

So what IS truly happening out there?

Without a doubt, society is in a state of flux, having become fractured, seemingly unthreaded at the seams, in a brave new world that, most would agree, has fallen into a state of disrepair. 

The mental well-being of all people is being assaulted daily, being called into question causing a systemic rupture in our societal norm unlike anything we’ve experienced before.

So what can we do about it?

While we live in rapidly transformational times, and continue to allow society to dictate who we should be — rather than who we choose to be — we need a call to action to stop the bleeding. And we need to make some major adjustments.

It seems, more often than not, any slight bit of change within the societal-created paradigm, triggers confusion and fear. People are not machines, and yet so many of us are unaware that we merely exist rather than live, working like miniature ‘ants’ along the assembly line in this factory that is, for the majority of us — our working life. Some will argue this is all part of the scheme of things, the grand design, a superficial Terra-rium, infusing us with a constant torrent of well-thought out (dis)-information bombarding our senses, with the goal of creating a cognitive dissonance to sway our minds, our belief systems and influence our behavior. It’s a new normal that has conditioned us to a “you better get used to it” mentality that, any thought of returning to our authentic selves seems like an impossible nightmare. And even when we try, so many of us can’t even remember what being authentic, being true to ourselves, even means or feels like. 

Simply put, we’re in the midst of a psychological warfare on the masses, a manipulation of the senses, and those that control the narrative control the people, disseminating information and material at will, whether true or not, is of no consequence to those in control. Most of us don’t even have any consciousness of what is happening. At least, when you get sick, you know you have a cold. This is what makes the current breakdown of our mental health so disconcerting. Right now, you might say, the biggest pandemic to ravage the earth isn’t COVID. It’s humanity in its current state of existence.

So when did life get so complicated?

Ah life. It can be darn confusing trying to keep up with all its rules and regulations. It’s like a game of charades. We know the answer. It’s on the tip of our tongue. But we never quite get it right, living outward, rather than living inward.

And here we are in May, designated in 2023 as Mental Health Awareness Month.

Mental health. The state of mind referring to our physical and emotional well-being. The enablement of our being able to cope with the stresses and triggers of life’s extremes, it’s traumas but, also, it’s pleasures. Trauma does not discriminate; yet, how we choose to react to all that happens to us, makes all the difference in the world to whether we live a fulfilling life or not.

Everything in life has an emotional root cause, and whether we remain bondaged to our trauma, wallowing in victimhood, or we take accountability for our lives, healing from the engrained trauma held within, is a choice. 

We always have a choice.

Trauma is a lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event. Rather than healing from a traumatic experience, many times we remain locked within this emotional ordeal denting our sense of safety, our sense of self, and our ability to regulate our emotions and to navigate our way through it. 

You might say that Covid was one such trauma, a global trauma. Its impact created a tidal wave of distress within an already fractured society triggering all sorts of mental health challenges. Whilst some of us handled it better than others, many succumbed. You might look back at all that occurred and ask yourself this question: which was worse, the actual disease or what the isolation it caused did to us?

Its emotional impact left enormous side effects, and many traumas on a global scale, that millions of us are still battling to recover from.

Its ripple effect of being cut off from normal interaction left many suffering from stress and neglect. It highlighted the ruptured society we live in, with all its rules and regulations we as a human race have had to adhere to. 

But to what end? 

It left us angry, filled with anxiety with many still suffering from its aftermath. It left us with a reality we didn’t want to confront — just how lonely so many of us truly are. A battle with depression that, in so many ways, is still affecting everything we do. The cost of living has tripled and, in some cases, quadrupled, which has caused many to buckle under the sheer pressure of how to make ends meet. It’s broken up families and friendships, with many re-evaluating their lives.

But for some, it might’ve been the best thing that ever happened to them as this Covid clusterfuck caused a rude awakening for so many to take stock of what was truly important in their lives. To actually live life, and not sleep through it. To stop being swayed by the opinions of others, to stop conforming to a norm that just does not agree with the spirit of living a fulfilling and positive life. At the same time, it was also a tipping point for so many because it caused an unexpected change in their daily routines. And, that alone, upset the natural balance of this manufactured-society in its current existence, forcing millions to look at themselves, and ask the question:

“So, what do I do now?”

Trauma can affect both our physical bodies as well as our minds, yet we are our very own perpetrators, causing ourselves to become ill — an imbalance of love and light. The only way to break this cycle is to actively work on healing and releasing these traumas through mindfulness, self-care, yoga, meditation, journalling, therapy, or other avenues that allow us to reconnect with our true selves and nurture and heal our inner wounds. We must feel in order to heal, and it’s okay to feel the emotion that comes with it. 

The pandemic, in so many ways, forced us to deal with those feelings, for some, for the first time, maybe, in their entire adult lives. It was traumatic, and yet too many have been running from themselves and their problems for years. All transformation is painful, yet a leaf-eating caterpillar merely embraces change, becoming a honey-sipping butterfly; it has no choice. There were more divorces, domestic violence, theft, robberies, and on and on, than this society had seen in modern times. A self-discovery that caused so many people to, simply, freak out. Alas, it was a global reckoning of our state of being, and it has wreaked havoc on our mental health. So much so, almost five years since the pandemic begin, we are still struggling to recover from it.

But it’s okay. 

Yes, it really is okay to admit, “I’ve got an emotional problem and I need to deal with it.” In fact, I’ll state it here emphatically, there is no shame in seeking help from a professional counsellor or therapist. In fact, I applaud those who do.

Seeking a mental health counsellor could be the very step so many of us need to take to confront the assault on our senses that millions of us are dealing with daily. The admission of a problem is also the first step in remedying that problem.

We must be willing to face our fears, stop blaming others, and take responsibility for our lives, for all of our experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. By admitting to ourselves that things cannot remain the way they are, it is the beginning of self-redemption. We merely need to take the necessary steps to deal with our issues, and learn to forgive and make peace with our past. Seek not happiness without, but within, for happiness is an inside job, always has been, always will be. Trust me, as any therapist will tell you, beating yourself up has never solved anything. It usually makes things worse.

If we continue to play whack-a-mole with our suppressed emotions, the more pressure we exercise on our own mental wellbeing, the more we will stay in that malaise. The hardest part of maintaining good mental health is our ability to discard the fuelled emotions out of those memories of past traumas and replace them with a new positive outlook on life. 

Yes, it’s not easy. 

But in order to free ourselves from life’s blemishes, we must be willing to look inward, face our demons and learn to forgive, both ourselves, and others, from simply bad situations we had no control over. 

For Mental Health Awareness Month, I hope we can truly be willing to appreciate the beauty in all of life’s experiences, learning from the lessons entailed within, finding gratitude in the moments we have been given. We need to recognize our own self-worth, making sure to take care of our own mental wellbeing, and be a believer that, as with time, patience, and practice, we can heal our wounds and become the best versions of ourselves.

Like the seasons, everything changes and evolves. And that includes a thing called the human race. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Except, maybe, change along with it. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Change can be a good thing. 

Think of life like a movie. Our mind is like an endless film reel that produces its own storyline according to our mental input. Don’t like the story? Change your thinking, change the script, to change your life. At any point you have the power to edit your life and change the way you feel by making the necessary adjustments in the way you decide to deal with situations, including all that’s happened to you in the past. You are as much the problem as you are the solution to all of life’s experiences. Don’t dwell on the past, focus on the solution, and make the decision to think more positively to live a better life. 

We heal the world, by healing ourselves. Society does not change from the outside in, it changes from the inside out, giving birth to a new way of being, a new way of living. 

It’s really up to you.

So, please, I say to anyone reading this —don’t waste life, or it will but all too gladly waste it for you. 

Yes, the world has gone mad in so many ways. But it doesn’t mean you have to go mad with it. 

Birgitta Visser currently has her book “Be-come-ing Authentically Me” available on Amazon

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