Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Musing: Do I have to trade not being depressed for being well-informed?

I'm under stress* and that probably makes me more likely to be depressive anyway, and also to be jaded and pessimistic, but I keep running up against this question. Watching and reading the news gives me panic attacks and stomach aches--I don't need to know the exact details of how crappy the world situation is to understand that it's crappy. But when I outright avoid the news for my own sanity, I miss the important world events that everyone is talking about, the things that actually do apply to me in some way other than just, say, making me horrified to be human.

And have you noticed, the people who are the best informed are also usually bitter--or angry all the time over everything--or half-crazy with drastic ideas on how to fix it? I don't want to be any of those things, and I have a tendency to at least the last one already, and it's a bad space for my mind to be in.

So I'm left with this: am i obligated to sacrifice mental balance to know what's going on around me? Because that's what the whole news system feels like it's telling me--if I'm happy, it's just because I didn't know that there was this new genocide, this new environmental collapse sign, this new political threat.

And I don't buy that. I don't think the purpose of the news is to scare people, though that seems to be exactly what they're aiming to do these days. I don't think I should have to daily consume exactly what I know will drive me off the wall when I'm already barely keeping it together with my own life. I don't think that internalizing someone else's biases is good for me.

But when I don't, it's like I've missed out on a huge chunk of the country's shared consciousness.

How do you solve this problem?

*We're moving. Again. And the babysitting hours are getting longer, which makes them harder. And I still have very little income and less and less in my bank account. And I'm getting over a cold. And I'm coming up on the deadline for my next fifty pages.
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