Mental Illness is Contagious

Personality Disorders are Positive Adaptations in a World Where Survival is the End Game

Prajinta Pesqueda
7 min readJan 13


James Barr

The deeply ingrained survival instinct is hardwired in human beings. And throughout time, we have adapted to circumstances in ways that would ensure our survival. Positive adaptation, sometimes called psychological resilience, is a psychological system of coping skills employed by people who are faced with traumatic events. This therapeutic coping system meets adversity and stressful situations with an adjustment that is hopefully positive and increases emotional resilience and survival.

Clearly, we live in a time of mass trauma. Collective trauma is the psychological distress that a group — usually an entire culture, community, or another large group of people — experience in response to a shared trauma. In order to impact the entire group, such traumas are usually devastating in their scope and impact.

Examples of collective trauma include:

  • War, occupation, and other military conflicts.
  • Terrorist attacks.
  • Pandemics and epidemics.
  • Recessions and depressions.
  • Genocide and religious persecution.
  • Racial trauma, misogyny, apartheid, and class-based violence.
  • Mass killings.
  • Hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, tsunamis, and other natural disaster

What if all these things and more are causing many to adapt in what has previously been known as maladaptive, dysfunctional, aberrant and pathological ways? What if our coping skills take us to a dark place where qualities like ruthlessness, selfishness, decadence, competitiveness, and a complete lack of compassion, morals, remorse, or accountability are the qualities that are extolled, rewarded, and held in high regard?

Enter the mass creation of a growing population of Cluster B personality disorders as a response to the collective trauma we are experiencing. The sheer number of pathological narcissists, anti-socials, and psychopaths has exploded around the globe. People in power, groups seeking power, and counter-culture has amassed a collection of the high functioning malignantly…



Prajinta Pesqueda

Educator, aspiring humanist, composer of words. Survivor, warrior, healer, believer. Contact me at