General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Is anyone else struggling to balance staying informed with staying sane?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5663points) December 15th, 2016

Okay, not that I think the news can literally drive someone insane per se. But if it ever could, it could now.

Ever since the election coverage started in 2015, my partner has been a network news junkie and he’s not getting better since Trump’s victory. Sometimes I have to beg him to turn it off because I just can’t take it anymore or my eyes will roll out of my head. He just says “I like to watch the shit show.”

Obviously, I’m using hyperbole to demonstrate my point. But has anyone ever sacrificed being informed for being happy? I’m starting to wonder if ignorance might really be bliss.

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52 Answers

janbb's avatar

I’ve been thinking of asking something similar. I never watch the news but I do get the New York Times daily and listen to NPR (and go on Facebook.) I literally cannot bear some of what I am reading. I feel a responsibility to stay aware and to take action when I can but I also want to be happy and enjoy life. I go back and forth between the two poles and haven’t found the balance yet but maybe going in and out is the balance.

canidmajor's avatar

Every. Damned. Day. I am trying to do more on a global scale, a shift from my previous attitude of primarily community charity. And I despair.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Stand up to it guys! Bitch louder if necessary but never submit to despair. You gotta tough it out. Stand up now and go find fault. Join me in pinning the blame on someone else, ANYONE else.

Coloma's avatar

Not I, I could care less. haha
I was shocked that Trump was elected but kicking and screaming gets you nowhere, my stress and shock lasted a few days but I have now put it to rest.
None of this shit matters in the grand scheme of things. It is what it is what it is.

Focus on what you can do in your own little kingdom to make a difference and unhook from the slow fear drip of media and political drama.

Unhealthy obsessions come in many shapes and forms and being addicted to media is just another way to distract yourself from yourself, bottom line. I checked out of all media after 9/11 and only read the occasional online articles.

Mariah's avatar

Oh absolutely! I feel guilty on the days that I choose to bury my head in the sand. I know I need to be involved in the fight to keep my rights. But I can’t do it every day, it’s too much.

janbb's avatar

@Coloma Lucky you to be so enlightened and above the fray.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb Not lucky, it was a choice I made years ago. We have to pick what we attach to, I prefer to create my own reality and shun the what I have no control over. :-)

Mariah's avatar

…....It’s a little lucky, @Coloma. You’re lucky to not have medical bills so high that this election and now Trump’s future actions might determine whether you can continue to live in this country or not. It doesn’t matter how zen their inner mindset is, disabled people could still actually die as a result of this election.

Coloma's avatar

@Mariah I understand but, we still have a choice to not make ourselves sick with worry and stress over things beyond our control, speaking of health.

Mariah's avatar

Never said I was making myself sick with worry, but I am choosing to do things rather than not do anything. If there’s anything I can do (in the form of protest, raising funds or awareness, and obviously voting) to protect the ACA and those that it protects, I must take those steps. That is my civic responsibility. Obviously we disagree, that’s okay.

canidmajor's avatar

@Coloma, the question is about balance. You seem to be missing that important distinction when you use phrases like “unhealthy obsessions” and “sick with worry”. But that’s OK, I’m sure the people in Alleppo aren’t any more concerned with you than you are with them.

Coloma's avatar

@canidmajor My choice of words pertain to the OPs description of her partners obsession, yes, obsession, not healthy, and fine with me, I don’t want to be the focus of anyones obsession. haha Balance is hard to find for many that have been bitten by rabid political attatchments, sadly so.

janbb's avatar

@Coloma Or maybe are just aware that there are many people other than oneself in the world; people who are suffering greatly.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb Just how did you get that I have no compassion for the suffering of humanity from simply stating that I checked out of media years ago because I recognized it was an unheathy pursuit? I have compassion in spades but choose to not carry the weight of the world on my back.

Coloma's avatar

P.S. I also will add that I have suffered greatly after being financially ruined in the recession a few years ago and went without health coverage for 3 years. Yes, the state of affairs of this country and the world are at critical mass on so many levels it is overwhelming for many but…we still have a choice of not wallowing in the fear, misery and anger that is constantly projected by the media. I don’t and I am one that has been directly effected yet my ability to detatch from the drama still remains as strong as it always has been.

cinnamonk's avatar

I can see both sides of the argument here. We have to choose our battles carefully and there is no point in worrying about something you can’t change. At the same time, you have to acknowledge that to not have a personal stake in the outcome of the election, to be secure in your health and financial well-being regardless of whether Trump takes office or not, is a privilege. Being able to not worry is a privilege.

Mariah's avatar

I mean, there is a purpose to my worry. In the very real possibility that he dismantles the ACA and insurance companies are allowed to reinstate lifetime caps, I will have to leave this country. I have to make those contingency plans. This is not me being unreasonable or hysterical, this is all a very real possibility for my future. If I chose to ignore my concerns for what the future may hold, I could end up in a really bad situation.

Also, while I realize there is probably very little chance that anything I personally can do can influence anything that happens, for my conscience I have to try. At least I can say I tried my best, when all is said and done.

Coloma's avatar

@AnonymousAccount8 No, it is not a privilege, it is a choice. Being obsessed with the media and politics and living with a constant undercurrent of anxiety is an extremely unhealthy way to live. not live.
It’s over. Trump was elected, he is the president, he will do what he’s going to do, and this too shall pass, into history.

cinnamonk's avatar

@Coloma some people don’t have a choice.

Mariah's avatar

All I’m saying is it’s really damn easy for you to say “he will do what he’s going to do, and this too shall pass” when him doing what he’s going to do doesn’t result in you having to choose between leaving the country and dying. That is a privilege you have. If these problems were abstract and theoretical for me as they are for you it’d be a lot easier for me to put aside, but they are in my face all day every day because my future is very fundamentally affected by what happens next. This is not me lacking a certain mental willpower, this is me reasonably wondering which of the two very divergent paths my future may be about to take.

Others in this thread are debating the morality of choosing to put aside the worries. Surely you can see why some of us would want to protest evil rather than quietly letting it happen? That doesn’t make us unwise either.

janbb's avatar

@Coloma There is another option besides blissful ignorance or constant worry and stress. That is to continue to enjoy one’s life and relationships while being aware of the grave danger that the world and the environment and real people are facing and taking actions to try to stave these off. One can march, one can petition, one can donate money to rescue organizations that are trying to get babies out of Aleppo. It is truly a balancing act but speaking for myself personally, I could not live with myself if I opted to live only for myself. And if this is not really how you feel you are, then realize that this is often the way you come across here.

cinnamonk's avatar

Also I would argue that staying informed is taking action. To stay informed is to arm yourself with knowledge and to be vigilant in protecting your rights.

Sneki95's avatar

I almost never read the news, not because I don’t care, but simply because almost every news article is some sort of a propaganda or a straight out lie. I don’t trust them, and I don’t waste my time on it. I only inform myself of the most important things. Sometimes I read something I find informative, but rarely do I get upset over news.

Coloma's avatar

@AnonymousAccount8 To not be consumed with worry is always a choice.

@Mariah I never called anyone unwise only that to be obsessed with media and politics every-waking-moment-of-the-day is unhealthy.

@janbb Yes, and one can be informed by reading or listening to a 2 minute article or media presentation maybe once a month. I have spent the better part of my life championing causes, my passion lies in conservation, preserving wildlife and habitat and rescue animals. The rest of the ills and evils of the world are going to be there tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and the day after that. Why are you being so snarky and assuming/presuming I have no worldly passions of my own?

The contributions I have made/make are hands on contributions like nursing a wounded goose back to heath so it can be released back into the wild and adopting wild mustangs and burros and supporting our wild lands/ wet lands and wildlife conservation and preserving the wild horse and burro populations,
You go ahead and donate to the children of Aleppo and I will support my interests or do my interests not meet with your approval?
I really don’t know how this discussion has become so convoluted in simply addressing the OP’s politically/media obsessed partner. the question is what is the balance between staying informed and staying sane.

My answer holds, if you find you are becoming too obsessed with ANYTHING, time to take a big step back. You guys are really, really, going out on a neurotic limb here assigning all sorts of non-existent motives to my simple sharing and personal statement that I have eliminated 99% of media from my life.

Mariah's avatar

OK, maybe I didn’t phrase it well, but your insistence that it’s all a choice is making it sound like I’m just choosing to be miserable or something when the circumstances of my life very much necessitate that I stay informed on health insurance law and make these (at times very depressing) contingency plans. Like I said, this is all in my face, I can’t just choose to look away, making that choice would result in my death.

canidmajor's avatar

@Coloma, reread @AnonymousAccount8‘s posts. Having a choice is a privilege. Your first post was flippant and inappropriate.

cinnamonk's avatar

@Coloma I understand your points but it seems a little callous, to me, to say that it is a choice to worry when people are worrying because their lives are literally at risk.

You wouldn’t say that a mother whose child has been missing for 48 hours is exercising choice when she is pulling her hair out, hyperventilating, and dry-heaving from the stress of worrying about her kid…this situation is kind of like that.

Coloma's avatar

@Mariah I understand where you’re coming from I really do, just saying that once you have been informed to the best of your ability to worry relentlessly is counter productive.

@canidmajor Flippant, inappropriate, really? haha No, that is your perception only.
There is a saying, “pain happens, suffering is optional.” We do, indeed, absolutely have a choice to not worry about things beyond our control. How are my personal sentiments inappropriate? They simply are.

I have been rendered to near poverty level after losing it all in the recession. Work, home, life savings and I still CHOOSE to not obsess over things beyond my control. I’d say that’s a pretty smart move and certainly in the best interest of my peace of mind. Anyone that is spending hours a day glued to their media sources and unable to detatch from a steady stream of media input has a serious problem. period, end of story.

Mariah's avatar

I actually find that it is much more helpful to my state of mind to feel like I’m doing something about the root source of my worry than to try to put it out of my mind or ignore it. I think I would feel much more unwell right now if I were avoiding all news and doing nothing in the way of speaking out for ACA. I’d just feel like I was waiting for my funeral.

canidmajor's avatar

“Not I, I could care less. Haha.”
Flippant and inappropriate considering the topic.

Coloma's avatar

@Mariah Yes, doing something is one thing but just spinning your wheels with worry is another. It’s not doing anything productive to just absorb all the negativity and become anxiety ridden yet unable to drag yourself away from the source.


Speaking ones own truth is never flippant or inappropriate and my sharing ties in perfectly with the topic. I don’t care, truth and it is a fact that subjecting oneself to a constant negative barrage of information/input, of any kind, is obsessive and unhealthy. Now, speaking of negativity, I’m outta here.
I posited a personal truth and a valid POV, too much media and political rabidity is unhealthy, and one can stay informed on about 1 10,0000th of what many gorge on daily.
That not being flippant, that a fact.

@LeavesNoTrace partners unhealthy behavior is causing problems in their relationship and yes, IMO the guy has a problem with being addicted to the drama of it all. Many do.

filmfann's avatar

It’s not easy. Since the election, I have been spending a lot more time doing jigsaw puzzles while listening to 40’s songs.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, @Coloma, do learn about context.

Coloma's avatar

@canidmajor So now I’m in your dog house for context? haha
Thanks for the laugh. You can take what I said in any context you like, clearly you’re just looking for a bone to pick and mine just happened to whet your appetite for whatever bone picking craving you are experiencing.

Seek's avatar

I haven’t read any of the above responses.

Since the election, we’ve officially entered a point in American politics where there’s fuck-all I can do about anything for the next two years. Thus, I have chosen to withdraw from most forms of “information”.

The people who are in a position of power to affect the situation will have to carry things. There’s nothing I can do anymore, and it’s goddamn depressing.

The morning after the election I had my first true suicidal thoughts. They were a lot more graphic than I ever expected them to be, and the echo of them resonates through my brain. I’ve been running from the memory of those thoughts ever since.

Now that it turns out my sister in law’s cancer has to be treated before it’s even operable (meaning: she’s in a much worse state than we originally thought) it’s hard enough to avoid despair without focussing on national and international politics.

Aethelwine's avatar

I quit paying attention to the media the week of the election. I was hooked for a year and actually posted (obsessively) to Facebook. I believe it was all reactionary to what I was reading from other friends because I was never vocal before this election. I used to roll my eyes at political posts on Facebook.

I watch local news and that’s it. I have too much going on in my personal life to be bombarded by the media. It’s just too much for me. I can’t take the negativity.

@Coloma your experience on this question is a perfect example of why I don’t bother with this site anymore. If it’s not you it’s J Leslie, and if it’s not her then it’s HC. Who will be told how wrong their way of thinking is next week? Stay tuned. – - the condenscing attitudes are high schoolish and border on bullying.- -

Coloma's avatar

@jonsblond Agreed, and yes, I don’t need or want the negativity either and yep, I know the snarky shark types here pretty well but they still can take you by surprise as I have found out today. Once bitten twice shy, I’ll just swim away when I see the fins break the surface next time. Not my problem if others want to spin out over such nonsense.

JLeslie's avatar

I reduced my intake of politics significantly about 5 years ago. It made my life much better. Whenever elections are nearing I ramp it up again, but try to still keep it reasonable. The obsession with political “news” shows is ruining people. I think it negatively affects people more than they think.

I’m less informed, but I don’t care. It would matter if I actually do things to try to make a change, but currently I’m not protesting anywhere, nor writing my congressman. It’s just simply my reality right now. I wish I was more active in politics and justice, but I’m not right now.

As far as other world news, In my heart I feel I should know more about current events, because I care about what is happening to people around the world, but even there I keep myself relatively ignorant.

I also stopped listening to talk radio about ten years ago. Thank goodness. I catch a show once in a very blue moon.

YARNLADY's avatar

No need to read the above answers – my answer is it makes absolutely no difference what-so-ever. If you go months or years without watching the news, reading a newspaper or any other form of keeping “informed” nothing will change, except perhaps your anxiety level.
Substitute volunteering your talents where they would best be used and never mind anything else.

Coloma's avatar

@YARNLADY Well said, my sentiments exactly.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Bad news is the price we pay for cognizance. And no one here is going to pretend the “advantages” of ignorance outweigh the blues generated when a working mind collides with malevolent absurdities. Cows grazing in a pasture may appear anxiety free, but I’d still rather “see than be one”. And if the remedy to anxiety or depression consists of the lobotomy I previously believed required to miss the glaring unsuitability of Trump, I’ll settle for the blues, and advise the rest of you to cheer up, because we are either going to be proven happily mistaken in our judgement or have an enormous excess of company to love in our misery.

janbb's avatar

@stanleybmanly Well a few here were pretending that.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb No, once again you are making assumptions that choosing to not be hooked up to the IV of media night and day is somehow synonymous with ignorance. With media sources in our face 24/7 it is impossible to remain ignorant, but it is possible to choose a healthier diet than political obsession and angst. Big difference between choosing ignorance vs. choosing to not get yourself in a lather over things beyond your control. Again, choosing to not give attention to things beyond ones control is the issue and a healthy detatchment from media and political obsession is a sound choice.

janbb's avatar

@Coloma Again we are talking about balance – not obsession. I think we all realize the need to balance between worry and functionality and that was what the OP was asking about. But I do understand your point and have no need to argue.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb Thank You. Likewise. However, the Q. is about the OPs obsessional partner and I do feel very strongly that this is a serious problem for many. I had to distance from someone during the election because of their obsessive political pursuits, it was bad, and I do think it is better to be under informed than over the top, out of control, rabidly attached to political drama.

janbb's avatar

@Coloma I actually thought the question was more about how she should react and she was bringing up her partner’s habits as an example not as the main issue. I do think that many of go into phases where we are more hooked in when things are happening and then need to disengage more. But enough.

Strauss's avatar

@AnonymousAccount8 said it. We have to choose our battles carefully and there is no point in worrying about something you can’t change.

We work to change what we can, accept what we can’t, and learn to know the difference.

We’re a fluke of the Universe. We have no right to be here, and whether we know it or not, the Universe is laughing behind our backs.

Coloma's avatar

@Strauss My philosophy completely and, the mantra that “there is no new news under the sun.”
It’s all the same news just served up on a new plate in a different time.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I flip the channels whenever I get upset.

flutherother's avatar

I can’t bear to give him his proper title and sometimes I can’t bear to watch Trump on television. At other times I watch him and listen to what he says and I wonder for whom this buffoon speaks. He haunts my waking moments even when the television is switched off.

janbb's avatar

@flutherother I never listen to his speeches but I do absorb the news. I am trying still to find the balance between responsible engagement and sanity.

flutherother's avatar

@janbb I like to keep informed also even if I feel I’ve slipped into a parallel universe sometimes.

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