There’s so much sad, awful and depressing stuff happening in the world at the moment. I watch the news at 7pm and glance at the SMH but I often find I skim down to Daily Life or the entertainment stories and feel a twinge of guilt that I didn’t want to read about the latest atrocity happening in the world. I often think about that line in Crowded House’s Don’t dream it’s over – “in the paper today / tales of war and of waste / but you turn right over to the TV page”. But I think really, sometimes, it’s just a coping mechanism.
I know the world is messed up. I know the stuff we read/hear/see about it is only a fraction of what actually goes on. I know sometimes we need to be jolted out of our comfortable lives to feel compassion for people in situations vastly different to ours. But how much before it is so overwhelming that you can’t even take it in anymore? Is it helpful for the news these days to show bodies shrouded in sheets, or wounded people staggering away from bomb sites, or blood stains on the concrete? They never used to show that much graphic detail and now it’s par for the course.
Sometimes the volume of negative stuff makes you crave a bit of light heartedness. I don’t mean that to lessen the concern I have for world events and suchlike, but, especially for someone prone to anxiety and depression, it’s often not very helpful to dwell on it. It was a revelation when Georgina said to me once when world news was making me feel particularly upset, “you don’t have to watch the news. Just don’t watch it. If something important is happening, you will find out about it.”
It spills over into social media too, as Jess said this morning. Nathan also wrote a thoughtful post about it (particularly in relation to what’s happening to Christians in Iraq). The main reason I don’t change my FB profile pic to support people/things that are happening is I’m not too comfortable with the clash between having something serious in my profile pic next to an inane post about my cat. Yes, it’s part of who I am (ie, I care about people in the world and I like cats) but it just doesn’t seem the right juxtaposition (that’s just me, by the way; please don’t hear it as a criticism of those who do change their pics to support causes).
I think it’s still important to talk about important stuff, no matter what the avenue – so occasionally I do post things about current events on FB or twitter, or rant on my blog. But sometimes the volume of it all is overwhelming and I need to…turn right over to the TV page.