If you’re reading this, you’re probably scared. I get it. I’m scared, too. The world is already an awful place, so knowing it will only get worse and worse until civilization collapses can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Please know that you are not alone. There are countless people who are also “collapse aware” and understand what you’re going through. On this page, I’ve gathered resources for people who are worried about the future and looking for emotional support.
Are You Feeling Suicidal?
If you’re having thoughts of suicide, please tell someone right away. Your brain is stuck in a negative pattern, so it’s unlikely to tell you anything helpful right now. Get someone else’s perspective and ask them to stay with you (either in person or on the phone) until you get help.
Here are some places you can get help:
Befrienders Worldwide – A global network of 349 emotional support centers made up of over 25,000 volunteers who support over 7 million people per year. Befrienders Worldwide provides an open space for people in distress to talk and be heard. It is completely anonymous and without prejudice. Support is provided via phone, text, chat, or in person.
List of Suicide Crisis Lines – This page lists suicide crisis lines for nearly every country in the world.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – This Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress.
- Phone: Dial 988. If that doesn’t work, dial (800) 273-8255
Veterans Crisis Line – This is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, but specifically geared toward veterans. The number is the same, expect you also have to press 1.
National Alliance on Mental Illness – This is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization Their mission is to help build better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
- Phone: (800) 950-6264
- SMS: Text NAMI to 741741
Disaster Distress Helpline – This line provides 24/7 crisis counseling and support for people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
- Phone: (800) 985-5990
- SMS: Text TalkWithUs to 66746
Crisis Text Line – This line provides 24/7 text-based mental health support and crisis intervention from a community of trained volunteers.
- SMS: Text HOME to 741741
- WhatsApp: Click here
Are You Having a Panic Attack?
I’ve had my share of panic attacks, and they can be very frightening. I have personally found the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique to be very helpful. Here’s how it works:
First, take some slow, deep breaths. By breathing more slowly, you can sort of trick your body into thinking it’s calmer than it actually is. However, this won’t necessarily stop your panic attack. Next, you have to count down from five like this:
- Five: Acknowledge 5 things you can see. It doesn’t matter what they are—a cup, a window, a wall—just as long as you can see it.
- Four: Acknowledge 4 things you can touch. Again, it doesn’t matter what. Touch your phone, your shoes, your hair, anything.
- Three: Acknowledge 3 things you can hear. If it’s quiet, notice the sound of the air conditioner, of cars driving by outside, or even the ringing in your ears.
- Two: Acknowledge 2 things you can smell. If you can’t smell anything, go to the kitchen and smell the dish soap, or go outside and smell the air.
- One: Acknowledge 1 thing you can taste. If you pay attention, you should notice some sort of taste in your mouth leftover from your last meal, drink, gum, etc.
This technique can help you temporarily forget whatever is making you panic and give your body a chance to slow down and stop pumping adrenaline into your system.
If this technique doesn’t work for you, there are many other grounding techniques you can try. Just know that there’s no need to be in a constant state of panic, no matter how bad things are. (On a personal note, I’ve found that cutting back on caffeine has made my anxiety attacks less frequent and less severe.)
Are You Feeling Depressed?
If you’re feeling depressed, you might be tempted to sit still and do nothing. There have been times when I’ve been so depressed, I could barely get out of bed.
However, just because our civilization is slowly collapsing doesn’t mean you need to be depressed all the time. Seriously. I’ve been collapse-aware for a couple years now, and I’ve gotten very good at finding reasons to keep going.
If you’re feeling particularly depressed, here are some questions for you:
Have you drank water recently?
If not, drink some water.
Have you eaten recently?
If not, eat some food. But eat something healthy with lots of protein, not junk food which will make you feel better for a little while but even worse later.
Have you listened to music recently?
If not, put on your favorite music. However, avoid music that is slow or depressing. Instead, go for something upbeat. You might be surprised how much music can change your mood.
Have you exercised recently?
If not, get moving. You don’t need to lift weights or run a 10k. A simple walk around the block is enough to get your blood pumping and lift your mood.
Have you showered recently?
If not, take a long hot shower and enjoy the warm water on your skin.
Have you gotten dressed today?
If not, put on some clean clothes (not pajamas). Wear something you really like that feels comfortable.
Have you spoken to someone recently?
If not, contact someone whether in person, over the phone, or online. Just tell them you need someone to talk to. If you’re not comfortable opening up about your feelings, then at least have a friendly chat about something you both find funny or interesting.
Have you touched a living thing recently?
If not, do so right away. Tell a friend or loved one that you could use a hug. If no one else is around, cuddle a pet or a friends’ pet. They won’t mind.
Are you having trouble sleeping?
If so, put on some pajamas, make yourself a hot drink (something that will help you sleep), and download a free white noise app. There are many great apps that create white noise or simulate the sound of rain, a river, the ocean, etc.
Get comfortable, close your eyes, take some slow deep breaths, and stay still for at least 20 minutes. No no screens allowed. I’ve found that the technique of progressive muscle relaxation helps me relieve tension and relax so I can sleep.
Here are a few other strategies to try if you’re feeling anxious or depressed:
- Write in a journal
- Take a cold shower
- Suck on hard candy
- Hold a piece of ice
- Touch different textures
- Do an art craft or activity
Is nothing working?
If you’re still feeling awful and nothing is helping, please take note of the lifelines listed above. You don’t have to be actively suicidal to contact Befrienders Worldwide.
Are You Looking for Support?
Below is a list of groups where you can get support from people who are also dealing with the reality of the human predicament.
Good Grief Network – This is a nonprofit organization that brings people together to help them manage grief and anxiety related to our planetary crises. They offer a 10-step program (inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous) where you meet with other people online, talk about what you’re going through, and learn to improve your personal resilience in the face of collapse. I’ve participated in the 10-step program, and I found it incredibly helpful.
Safe Circle Calls – These are online video support calls for people who are collapse-aware. If you sign up, you’ll get weekly emails with a Zoom link to the next 90-minute call. I’ve participated in these calls, and it’s not just a bunch of people commiserating about how bad things are. Rather, the calls are filled with respect, curiosity, encouragement, and even joy.
Work That Reconnects Network – This is a network made up of people who can teach you to find meaning and joy in life despite the coming crises. It’s based on the teachings of Joanna Macy and follows a spiral of practices including gratitude, honoring our pain for the world, seeing with new/ancient eyes, and going forth. They have many events, both online and in person. They also have a free training course you can sign up for here.
Climate Awakening Sessions – Here you can sign up to have conversations with other people who are worried about climate catastrophe. It’s an opportunity to share your grief, terror, and rage with people who know exactly how you feel.
Post-Doom Discussions – These discussions were started by the late Michael Dowd who made some fantastic videos about collapse. He often spoke with experts on ecology, climate change, etc. and posted them on his Youtube channel.
Deep Adaptation Forum – This forum was started by Jem Bendell, author of the viral paper, Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy. It is primarily a place for professional collaboration among experts who are looking for ways to help society adapt as our current civilization comes to an end.
Deep Adaptation Guides – This is a place where you can get support from people who have become collapse-aware, processed all the heavy emotions that come with that, and are ready to guide others. The guides are not necessarily professionals, so it’s up to you to look at their credentials and find a good match.
Climate Cafes – These are places where people experiencing climate grief can get together and talk about their feelings. The idea is based on Death Cafes. If there are no climate cafes nearby, you can start your own.
Reddit.com/r/CollapseSupport – This is a subreddit for people who are collapse-aware and need a place to vent and support one another. Fair warning: Most of the posts are made by people who are very depressed, so the subreddit has the potential to make you feel worse. However, there are usually very helpful and supportive comments, so be sure to read those as well.
Climate Psychology Alliance – A volunteer nonprofit run by professionals in mental health and psychology. In response to the ecological crisis, their missions it to promote resilience, regeneration, and equity. Also, they have a directory of climate-aware therapists.
Below is a list of articles about how to cope with climate change and the collapse of civilization. I found these articles to be both interesting and inspiring.
- 5 Ways To Cope With Climate Change Anxiety
- 7 Resources to Help You Cope With Climate Anxiety
- A Stoic Response To The Climate Crisis
- Activities Which Can Help Us Deal With Climate Anxiety
- All Things Will Outlast Us: How The Indigenous Concept Of Deep Time Helps Us Understand Environmental Destruction
- Climate Change Anxiety Is Real. Here’s How You Can Manage Those Feelings
- Climate Grief: The Emotional Toll of Climate Change
- Coping With Climate Change Distress
- Doom or Denial: Is There Another Path?
- Facing Extinction by Catherine Ingram
- Group Interventions for Climate Change Distress
- Healing Our Climate Grief
- Here’s What You Can Do To Cope With Your Anxiety About Climate Change
- Home is Always Worth It
- How Gratitude For Nature Can Rein In Your Existential Angst About Climate Change
- In Facing Mass Extinction, We Must Allow Ourselves To Grieve by Dahr Jamail
- Reimagining Our Relationship With Death And Dying, Life And Living
- Want To Improve Your Health? Head To A National Park, And Absorb The Sounds
- Your Crushing Anxiety About the Climate Crisis Is Normal
- A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet by Sarah Jaquette Ray
- Collapsing Consciously by Carolyn Baker
- Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change by Leslie Davenport
- Eye of the Storm: Facing climate and social chaos with calm and courage by Terry LePage
- Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth by Margaret Klein Salamon
- Hope and Courage in the Climate Crisis: Wisdom and Action in the Long Emergency by John Wiseman
- How to Live in a Chaotic Climate: 10 Steps to Reconnect with Ourselves, Our Communities, and Our Planet by Laura Schmidt and Aimee Lewis Reau
- Learning to Live with Climate Change: From Anxiety to Transformation by Blanche Verlie
- Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach
- Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change by Sherri Mitchell
- The Climate Anxiety Manifesto: An Exquisite Work of Utmost Importance by Hau Lo
- Turn the Tide on Climate Anxiety: Sustainable Action for Your Mental Health and the Planet by Megan Kennedy-woodard
- When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
- When Time Is Short: Finding Our Way in the Anthropocene by Timothy Beal
- Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh