Today I learned that a guy I knew in college came out as trans. Or rather, he followed me on Instagram with his–her–new identity.

What a millennial way to find out something like that, right?

The gender-mania that’s going around right now seems to me most often associated with the younger generation, the ones who are young enough to be unduly influenced by adults with agendas. But it’s a meme that spreads insidiously, and even the older generation aren’t immune. My generation certainly isn’t.

It’s not just gender issues. So many people I know struggle with depression, some friends a while back struggled mightily with suicidal thoughts (and prevailed against them), and girls I know are plagued with hormonal imbalances that greatly impact their mental health and menstrual cycle.

I met up with a friend a handful of years ago who was trying out a high-powered neurotransmitter to augment her therapy. She said it made her feel the best she had in years (she had been studying out of the country so I hadn’t seen her face-to-face in a while) but I felt like I was talking to a robot version of my friend. The conversations that we used to have, so fluid and far-ranging, were stilted and small talky. It was like meeting someone completely new.

Maybe that was my fault. Maybe I was the distant one. It’s more than possible.

I’m not perfect and I certainly don’t have perfect mental health.

It’s been an emotionally exhausting couple of years–if you let yourself get overly engaged–with the meme wars and how the spiritual battle that we are fighting breached the surface of the water of reality. (If you have eyes to see. If you don’t, are you just really confused?)

Maybe the confusion explains why so many people I know are succumbing to the darkness, to the insanity.

I don’t understand it. I fight like hell to keep my grip on reality.

And yet I see my friends being pulled under. I don’t know how to help them–how does a person in rightside-up world throw a lifeline to someone in upside-down world?

All my touchstones, my footholds, are repulsive to them. My anchors are their cement shoes. What lifts me up drags them down.

I don’t know how to help them see clearly.

All I am is sad.