Brexit is only weeks away and climate catastrophe is looming. It is no wonder that educated people are feeling scared. In our local gastro pub, friendly chats quickly turn to the subject the impending crisis. Small talk outside the school gates is rife with fears for our children’s future. At the Waitrose check-out, we swap plans to deal with the imminent food shortages. Everything that we took for granted feels like it is slipping away from us. However, it seems that most people are carrying on as if nothing is happening. They simply get on with their lives and do not sense the approaching cataclysm. This only exacerbates our anxiety.
‘Middle-Class Panic Syndrome’ has become a reality for many educated and well-informed people. If you feel a sense of existential panic, you may be suffering from this new condition. Act now to save your mental health.
1. Brexit Terror
In a few weeks, experts have predicted shortages of medicines and food, mass unemployment and civil unrest. You fear that society will be torn apart and you don’t understand why.
Firstly, remember that this is not your fault. The population has been groomed into passivity and compliance by Brexit abusers. Although you didn’t fall for their lies, you are still a victim.
Develop a new coping mechanism to manage your anxiety. For example, when you hear a working-class person on BBC Question Time say “We voted for Brexit, let’s get on with it”, try to see it from their perspective. Remember, that they have not benefitted from your education and they don’t envisage buying a second property in Carcassonne. Their stoical attitude stems from a mis-guided faith in their fellow citizens and their own experience in dealing with adversity. When feelings of existential angst start to engulf you, try to imagine yourself as one of these happy-go-lucky types. Try using phrases like ‘worse things happen at sea’ and ‘we’ll work it out’. If your feelings of empathy are simply exhausted, release tension by shouting ‘Brexit Voting Bastard’ at passing van drivers.
2. Climate Catastrophe
Experts have just announced another looming climate emergency. But we are nothing if not prepared: our children have been educated to fear the ever changing climate and they understand that they may not have a world to grow up into. Learning that they will inherit an earth destroyed by the older generation induces anxiety and a sense of being unsafe. It’s only natural then that they should follow the lead of 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg and take to the streets on a school day so that none of us forget for a moment the peril that we are in (except on Saturdays perhaps). We must listen closely, for the younger generation are merely articulating the despair that we feel so deeply.
When your son or daughter tells you that they are frightened by global warming, console them. You can provide comfort by showing that you are equally petrified. Tell them that we haven’t got long to live, and that human extinction is quite likely. Reinforcing your child’s anxiety shows them that you care. Some children have pointed to the older generation and blamed them for destroying their future. Simply apologise and seek your child’s forgiveness. Thank them for their insight and work together as a family to raise the level of alarm throughout your neighbourhood.