It’s been a long week. And then some.
Sending my son off to the Army last week and the fiasco around that took a toll on me. There was lots of running last week, too: summer camps for multiple kids at multiple locations; church district business; VBS. My daughter is getting ready to move out, too. Fortunately she’s staying in town, so it’s not quite so abrupt or emotional. Add to that it being beastly hot these last and next few weeks here, and the normal stress of life in a big family without a lot of money, and it’s been rough.
And that’s just the personal stuff. I’ve got friends who are marking a sober anniversary this week, and I hurt for them, but they’re 1,100 miles away, and it’s hard to stretch my arms from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania.
I woke up Sunday morning to a notification from my Scanner Radio app that the Orlando scanner channel was going nuts. Then I read the news there. Horrid. Gross. Add in all of the ugliness across Facebook and other social media channels, and it rockets right past disgusting and keeps going.
I just cannot comprehend the level of anger and hatred and loathing it must take to decide to kill a bunch of people you don’t know because you don’t like them.
It’s sent my thoughts all over the universe, from religion to guns to the way I treated people in the past.
I’ve really found it difficult to focus on any one thing. I’ve barely been able to write.
I recall after Newtown, I was just as aghast as the rest of the world. But I was so hyper-focused on certain issues that I over-reacted horribly. I tried to engage Piers Morgan on Twitter, and did engage several other people – badly, I might add – and actually ended up locked out of Twitter for about half an hour.
It was humorous to me at the time, but it’s embarrassing to admit now.
It was something of a wakeup call, too, opening my eyes to the importance of stepping away from the keyboard at times like this.
You don’t have to watch all of the coverage.
You don’t have to answer all the posts.
You don’t have to write all the tweets.
You don’t have to correct every mistake on the internet. Besides, you can’t. I tried once.
Scientists have said for years now that consuming too much media coverage of major crises is probably a bad thing, and can prolong the trauma. It’s especially confusing to young children who see the same images over and over. They might not understand that they’re seeing a replay of an event, and not a whole bunch of planes crashing into a whole bunch of buildings.
What can you do?
- Take breaks. Get away from the screen, the keyboard, and the phone. Turn off the TV.
- If you want music, avoid terrestrial radio. Stick instead with your own stuff, or something like Pandora that doesn’t do news coverage.
- Go for a walk, or do some exercise that lets you get your mind on something else.
- Read a book. Watch a movie. Go practice your guitar or piano.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to mute someone on Twitter, or unfriend or unfollow them on Facebook if their postings are bothering you. You don’t even owe them an apology. Your wellbeing comes first.
- Reach out to friends or family who might be traumatized over the event. You can help each other cope.
The important thing is to practice moderation. Don’t let the traumatic event consume you. If you find yourself writing or saying things you wouldn’t normally say, that’s a sign that you need a break.
Do you have suggestions for self-care? Share them in the comments.