The world has changed. It's not as simple or as predictable as it used to be. Buy a car, get a house, start a family isn’t the blasé social format it used to be. The use of drugs has become a prevalent escape route from the ‘meta-verse’. The allure of an alternate reality beyond the alternate reality. That pressure to conform is pushing this generation into a pit of dependency. Junkie culture beyond the short-sighted view of the vagabond roaming the local city centre. The everyday junkie. The students, the teachers, bankers, and politicians. Drugs have now been mass injected into our society and flowing through the veins of our collective consciousness.
Life, once depicted in soft hues and simple shades of black and white, has shifted into a tumultuous hurricane of chaotic colours. We are the generation caught in the wind, forever known as the 'melancholic drifters' like plastic bags floating in the breeze. Not because we were born this way, but because we are compelled to navigate an unsettling world rife with uncertainty. Our futures can’t be planned, rehearsed, or quantified based of the generations before us anymore. The globe we inhabit spins on an axis of economic turmoil, environmental disintegration, political discord, and social fragmentation. This reality we're embroiled in, this unwieldy chaos, is not only hard to swallow but equally challenging to comprehend. It's little wonder that a significant number of us get lost somewhere along the scrawled line society has drawn for us.
It's not a matter of resilience, nor is it about lack of courage. It's about the intensity and complexity of the issues we face every day. Dealing with a volatile political climate to the shallow ‘luxuries’ we’ve surrounded ourselves with just to ingest, digest, gobble up and shit out. Designed to starve us of any true sustenance of life. And it’s not just the tangible that burden us, but also the constant barrage of information, the relentless pace of modern life and the need to ‘keep your head above water’. So, yes, we are the 'melancholic drifters', the generation tasked with steering a fragile ship through the hurricane. But, being a drifter doesn't mean we are lost. It just means that we are aware, painfully aware, of the complexity and bleakness of the world we live in. We see the world in all its gritty reality, and that’s a heavy burden to bear.
"Photo's provided by Tom Hewitt. A talented photographer from Newcastle."
The enticement of an alternative universe presents an irresistible appeal for some. Mind-altering substances paint a seductive picture of a realm unencumbered by the harshness of life as we know it. They tempt us with an escape hatch, a fleeting pause, a transient high that offers respite from the deep-seated angst that our comprehension of the world incites. These substances promise to drown the noise of a disquieting world, muting the cacophony of problems that pervade our reality. They sell us a seemingly splendid isolation where the external disarray ceases to exist, allowing us to lose ourselves in a blissful oblivion, however momentary that may be.
In the throes of our distress, the prospect of a haven, even a false one, feels comforting. Yet, we need to remember that this seeming sanctuary is nothing but a mirage, a veneer of tranquillity that hides an abyss of dependency. It’s easy to forget that the alternate world conjured by these substances is transient, vanishing as quickly as it appeared, leaving us to grapple with our unvarnished reality once more. But the allure of that fleeting refuge, that release from our existential dread, is what continues to pull some of us towards this altered paradise.
The societal expectations placed on our generation can be overwhelming, feeding into a sense of alienation and despair. The relentless demand to portray yourself as successful, as having it all together, often masks the inner turmoil we're grappling with. This relentless pursuit of happiness, this incessant need to perform at peak capacity, leaves us feeling emotionally drained and mentally exhausted.
The societal narrative has left us no room to express our vulnerability, to acknowledge our struggles, and to admit that we are not okay. Instead, we're under constant pressure to suppress our feelings, to don a mask of pretence, to act as though everything is perfectly fine, even when it isn't.
The contemporary world, with its focus on outward appearances, has a knack for making us feel inadequate. It's a world that compares, that contrasts, and in doing so, amplifies our insecurities. This feeling of inadequacy, coupled with the prevailing societal pressures, can make the escape offered by drugs seem like an attractive proposition.
For some of us, drugs become a tool, a means to navigate an increasingly chaotic world. They can temporarily provide the facade of normalcy that society expects us to uphold, the ability to function in a world that seems unmanageable. However, this is a destructive coping mechanism, a dangerous route towards ephemeral comfort.
It's crucial to understand that the desire to feel okay, to feel normal, is not a personal failing. It's a reaction to the pressures of a world that is unforgiving in its demands and relentless in its expectations. In acknowledging this, we can begin to challenge the societal norms that have left us feeling this way and work towards creating a world where the pressure to feel okay doesn't drive us towards destructive habits.
Our narrative is not a sanction for substance abuse; it is, instead, an appeal for compassion and insight. Condemning those who find temporary solace in drugs overlooks the underlying issue: the profound dissatisfaction we harbour for the world we’ve been bestowed. Instead of ostracising this ideology, we must endeavour to recognise the suffering and disillusionment that pushes us to addiction. Our most potent weapon in facing this crisis is not judgement but empathy. Drugs can be used to express and enlighten one’s soul these things aren’t going anywhere so we need to learn to utilize instead of demonize. Love instead of hate.