It seems we’re getting madder.
According to psychiatrists at the Universities of Cambridge and Hertfordshire, there’s been a steep increase in “mood disorders” in the past few years. The term covers a range of anxious states: it’s estimated that eight million people (13 per cent of the population) now suffer from them. Academics blame “changes in modern lifestyles, particularly in urban areas, that have led to more stress and pressure on people”.
I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve made my own study, and among the more virulent new disorders are:
Cryptochauvinismophobia: Lurking terror that you may accidentally say, “Hello. Mary. You look jolly nice today” to a co-worker and be instantly pilloried and vilified by #EverydaySexism.
M&S Gratuitous Insult Disorder: Nagging concern that, any day now, you will say something extremely rude to the guy at the checkout who, when you appear with a trolley crammed with 89 shopping items, asks: “Do you need a bag?”
Mortality Countdown Virus: Morbid compulsion to try to estimate how many years you have left before you resemble one of the jogging pensioners on daytime TV ads for life insurance and legal compensation.
E-Fag Affectation Anxiety: The gnawing fear that you too may one day stand at parties puffing an electronic cigarette, making the end go blue, emitting fake smoke like those joke-shops cigs you bought when you were 10, and looking a total, A-grade pillock.
WTF Neurosis: Feeling of alienation and panic caused by the sight of those wavily distorted words that appear on your computer screen when you’ve forgotten your password.
WasItSomethingISaid Disorder. Paranoid that, because the last cities in which you spent a romantic few days (Cairo, Istanbul) have now become rocked by violent disorder, it is somehow all your fault.
Redundant Musical Anxiety Syndrome: Night-time depression caused by news that some classic films are to be made into stage musicals – From Here to Eternity, The Third Man – and concern that someone will make showbiz version of Don’t Look Now. (“Is that my daughter in the little red mac??/ I thought she’d drowned and wasn’t coming back!”)
Airconheliphobia: Irrational hatred of air-conditioning ceiling fans found in suburban wine bars, and conviction that the one above you will detach itself from its ancient moorings and slice your head off.
Fongi Trauma: Fear of Not Getting It. Bizarre, inexplicable failure to see the point of Daft Punk, Aperol, Zumba, pop-ups, Pacific Rim and Kay Burley.
ProxyBomber Impulse. Strong transgressive urge to push fake but visibly authentic-looking sticks of dynamite, alarm clock, trailing wires, etc, into lip of the rucksack that’s bashed into you on the Tube once too often.