Dante’s Inferno speaks of a emotional and spiritual crisis at a certain age and stage of our lives. Let us set aside medical considerations and focus on what is nothing less than a fundamental crisis of Self, wherein we lose the belief in ourselves necessary to being able to move relatively happily and confidently through the course of our day. Life has become, if you will excuse the profanity, increasingly shit to the point of being unbearable, and the cause of it is no clearer to us than the possible solution.
It may have been precipitated by a particular and identifiable event that critically altered the way we live our lives. We may have been fired from our jobs or been abandoned by our partners, for instance. These are just two examples of a single, precipitous event loaded with psychological and emotional meaning. Suddenly bereft, we are frightened and alone. Such events, whatever they are, compromise the structure underpinning our lives and our reliance on it, and reveals our dependence on a web of relationships to give our lives assurance and support. These foundations and cornerstones are essential load-bearing components of the architecture of our world.
It may not have been provoked by any one calamitous occurrence, however. It may have been a gradual succession of minor events, a sustained and cumulative catalogue of seemingly unconnected and unrelated challenges to various aspects of our life and the living of it. None, by themselves, would have had any momentous import. We may not even have noticed them. But the end result is a withering and exhausting crumbling away of our fortitude.