Like Simone Biles, last week I started feeling like I had a “bit of the twisties.” 

I’ve been rolling along, tumbling happily through life for the past five months, hugging my grandchildren and smiling again without my mask, and suddenly it seems I might be heading for a crash.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seems to think so, too.

It performed the equivalent of a reverse double twist on vaccinated Americans, setting the stage for requiring students and teachers to mask up again when school starts this month  and recommending masks indoors as the delta variant ravages the unvaccinated.

Diane Carman

COVID is filling hospitals with delta variant patients and at this rate sigma, tau and upsilon strains can’t be far behind.

Yes, masks are coming back. I’m OK with that if it helps keep people safe. I can handle it.

It’s not my sanity I’m worried about, though. It’s the well-being of young people, people like my nephews.

While the pandemic has left everyone feeling a little unstable, a whole subculture of nihilism has exploded in the past year and a half, especially among young adults. These are folks who found their lives upended, their social structures shattered.

Already angry about climate change, since last year they have been seething with pandemic rebellion — rejecting government, capitalism, education, science, medicine, the tech world, optimism, ambition, art, even love and, most vehemently, the media.

But not all the media. The dark media remain the unquestioned darlings of the nihilists.

There, lonely young people can find refuge in conspiracy theories that justify their sense of alienation and give meaning to their reluctance to engage in anything that might smack of  traditional lifestyles.

There you can marinate your brain in fetid darkness, fear and runaway suspicion.


COVID was caused by 5G networks or GMOs or Big Pharma. Anthony Fauci is not a dedicated public servant working tirelessly to control the pandemic, but instead a deep state actor trying to undermine the president and seize control of the country. The news media are lying about it to make money. The medical establishment is lying about it to make money. Government officials are lying about it to make money … or maybe to take your guns away or impose martial law or just to piss you off. 

The class system is killing humanity. Money is evil. Hope is delusional. Revolution is the answer. Trust no one. Fear everything. 

Life has no meaning.

It’s no wonder suicide rates were up among young people last year. Once a person suspends disbelief, embraces the darkest views of the human race and starts down that path, the future is black. Death seems the only reasonable option.

Sun reporter Jennifer Brown has reported extensively on the mental health crisis among young people in Colorado. 

The state’s inpatient services have been overwhelmed, and counties across the state are struggling to provide services for suicidal patients in urgent need of care.

Children’s Hospital President Jena Hausmann told Brown that the system is “failing our children.” They need us to “rally together.”

They need to feel like they can trust someone and believe in something. They need a sense that something in their world works, and that there’s more to life than cynicism, hostility and meanspirited partisanship.

So, congratulations to Sean Hannity, Steve Scalise and Mitch McConnell for joining the ranks of the pro-vaccine crowd to save lives.  

Here’s to Mitt Romney and Rob Portman for trying to break the impasse on key legislation on infrastructure to address climate change and make things work a little bit better everywhere.

And thanks to anybody who stops long enough to listen to a troubled young person who believes the world is crazy and life isn’t worth living.

Sometimes we all need a little help.

Sometimes everybody just has to have the good sense to step away from the games for a moment and regain a sense of equilibrium.

Simone Biles will be back. And so will we.

Diane Carman is a Denver communications consultant.

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Twitter: @dccarman