Do you have a hard time sleeping at night? Suffer from anxiety? Listlessness? Self-loathing? A paralyzing certainty that the world is about to end, your fellow human is suffering, and you’re helpless to stop it?
If so, you may be living with the recently (self) diagnosed illness, FOHNO.
FOHNO, or Fear of Not Helping Others, is insidious. You may not even know you have FOHNO, until it’s too late.
You’re probably already familiar with FOMO, or that sinking feeling that you’re missing out on the amazing life everyone else is having on Facebook and Instagram. Remember that quaint time (not so long ago) when the biggest bad feeling you’d have from looking at your phone was seeing that all your girlfriends went to Aruba without you, your high school nemesis is still smoking hot, and your ex met the love of his life?
Yeah, I miss those days, too.
Instead of dealing with vague psychic rumbles of discontent when I browse social media, now I’m navigating a full-on mental breakdown of ALL THE FEELZ.
Human history teaches us that the world has always been a dumpster fire. But the 24/7 global news cycle really helps to accentuate that.
A quick scroll through my Facebook feed reads like every post-apocalyptic novel all at once.
Millions of people set to die without adequate healthcare. Black lives like Philando Castile and Charleena Lyles ended callously with no promise of any justice. Ice caps melting and record high temps while the environment plays second fiddle to corporate greed. An evil autocrat leader surrounded by immoral cronies with ties to corrupt foreign powers.
And I want to HELP STOP IT ALL.
My mind is a snake-pit. Should I donate to Planned Parenthood? The NRDC? Should I march for Black Lives Matter? For women? For science? For the press? Should I quit my job and devote myself to prison reform? The refugee crisis?
Paul cautions me that there’s no way to treat FOHNO, because there’s no way of bending the entire world to my will.
Not, yet, Paul. Not yet.
And before you think–gee, isn’t she a nice, caring person?–consider this. Is FOHNO just FOMO in a different guise? Fear of Missing Out on saving the world? And, if so, is the proper diagnosis actually megalomania for thinking that the responsibility for saving the world lies with me?