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Sydney-based vegan psychologist Clare Mann has written a handbook for vegans to understand and communicate the anguish of living in a non-vegan world.
Vystopia, the title of the book, is a new term that Mann, who became vegan nine years ago, created in late 2017 to describe what she calls the ‘existential crisis’ experienced by vegans as they become aware of society’s trance-like collusion with a dystopian world full of greed, animal exploitation, and speciesism.
“When I became aware of the massive widespread scale of animal abuse nearly a decade ago, it was incredibly distressing and painful for me,” Mann told PBN.
“Over the past several years, I’ve been inundated in my psychology practice with vegans demonstrating identical symptoms of distress and mental trauma.
“I realised this had never been properly identified. I also kept seeing an increase in GPs referring clients to me with common diagnosed mental illnesses, only to find out they were vegans who were rightly traumatised by the systematised cruelty towards animals.”
Mann talks about vystopia
Not a medical condition
Mann is clear to stress that vystopia is not a medical condition or pathology, but simply an existential crisis that gives rise to a range of emotions including depression, fear, anguish, loneliness, despair and desperation.
“The vegan wakes up and suddenly realises that everything they believed isn’t true,” says Mann.
“Not only do they have to deal with the painful truth of what happens to animals, but they find themselves having to challenge the Government, the health and education systems, and their family, friends and loved ones.
“Being dismissed or ridiculed after sharing what they now know, as well as witnessing everyone around them continuing to collude in abhorrent cruelty to animals through their everyday purchases is extremely traumatic for vegans.”
Survey: 83 percent of vegans experience vystopia
In a survey of 800 vegans, carried out by Mann’s company Communicate31, 83 percent identified as experiencing vystopia.
The survey also found that 51 percent have partners who are not interested in becoming vegan, 59 percent are the only vegan in their family, and 63 percent seek fellow vegans to help with their vystopia.
Effective communication strategies
The aim of the new book, which is published worldwide on May 17, is to give vegans a context in which they can talk to others about their experience and provide tools and resources to empower them to create a kinder world.
“It’s not just about educating people about animal cruelty, it’s showing them how we’ve all been duped into not asking questions about fairness, social justice, and kindness and compassion towards animals, people and planet,” says Mann, who is also the Co-founder of the Vegan Voices smartphone app, a free 30-day video communication training for vegans.
Some of the topics discussed in the book – which has been endorsed by the likes of plant-based medical doctor and author Dr. Michael Klaper, renowned US journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell and popular Australian animal rights activist James Aspey – include how vystopia gets triggered in everyday life, symptoms of vystopia, strategies for communicating effectively with non-vegans, and how to navigate being in a relationship with a non-vegan partner.
Mann, who is originally from Plymouth in the UK, will launch the book in Sydney, Australia at an event that will also be live-streamed.
Vystopia: The Anguish of Being Vegan in a Non Vegan World by Clare Mann will be published on 17 May, 2018 by Communicate31. More information and pre-orders are available atVystopia.com