snooze button panic button

There is a single blog that I read in order to keep relatively up-to-date on things I am interested/invested in: politics, feminism, race relations, education.  Doesn't that sound like a dream blog? All that information all in one place?

I unsubscribed from that blog two weeks ago, because I felt it was crowding up my reader. Then I felt extremely guilty. I have a whole separate file for sewing and craft blogs, and another for read-to-mock lunatics,  but I can't handle a single grown-up blog? I re-subscribed.

But the blog is making me stressed. Ten posts on how the economy is going to hell?  Five posts promising that my kids will probably be fighting in Iraq by the time they are 19? Rape and bigotry 60 years after the Civil Rights movement and Women's lib?

Shit. SHIT.

Forget the stress of resuming teaching in two weeks, is there even going to be a planet in 10 years? (According to said blog, probably not, and if so, will be run by Republican zombies.)

I'm feeling anxious and stressed, and I don't know where the line is. As a human, and especially as an educator, I feel obligated to be relatively well informed about the world around me. I do not want to be yet another ugly blissfull and ignorant American buying luxury goods when people in my own country can't afford groceries.

But I cannot read one more article on how corporate America indirectly supports Rape-culture, or how we are entering another Great Depression (but without the hero-making WWII panacea.) I find myself struggling to sleep at night because haven't you heard? We are all going to be jobless in two months.

So what do I do? Keep reading my happy sewing blogs? Occasionally pick up a Time and hope for the best? Accept my role as a future minion of the well-coiffed* Zombie Republicans?

Talk me through this.

*I bet you can guess who the president is in that scenario, long-term readers.


Mal Mecham said...

AH! I'm completely with you on this! I can't bring myself to read any of the news blogs that I usually read because they have been giving me a panic attack lately. I think the only suggestion is to give up on the world in general and move underground.

NIKOL said...

What, you're too good to get all your news from The Daily Show like normal people?

Jessica @ One Shiny Star said...

I stopped following the news when my Dad was sent to Iraq several years ago, and haven't gone back. I still know what's going on, but 5 minutes on Reddit is enough to know what is going on in the world with out being overwhelmed. The world is already depressing enough with out being bombarded with constant bad news. :(

Rachael said...

Me too! I read a blog like that, and unsubscribed. Now I give myself 30 minutes a day tops on and consider myself informed. BBC because it tends to be slightly less "the economy is going to kill us ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL" than most American news sources. It's probably not ideal, but I can't handle constant bad news.

Fig said...

I don't read that blog, but it (or one just like it) sends me email updates by the several per day. And I am in the same place as you.

I've actually had to step back from activism/humanitarianism briefly for the past few weeks, because I was getting so anxious and depressed. (That sentence makes me sound like the hugest douchebag of pretty much all time. First world problems, anyone?)

Seriously though - it is so overwhelming. I feel you.

Colt said...

Honestly I have the same problem. I glance at my Google News Feed or twice a day and then do my best to think happy thoughts the rest of day while I read sports blogs.

Also, John Stewart has kept me moderately sane.

Emily said...

what blog is this?

Stephanie said...

@Fig: The first world problem part gets me the most...Sheesh.

Eliza R. Snitch said...

Confession: I don't really follow the news. I can't. It's too depressing. I honestly just wind up sobbing.

If something really important happens, you'll hear about it.

So a few months ago, my dad accidentally deleted my gmail account, which means I lost a lot of stuff, including my reader. And after mourning the loss, I was like, hey, I have tons more free time and I'm not so pissed off all the time! So I haven't started a new reader. If I want to read about something upsetting, I have to go looking for it.

Watch The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Informative AND funny. Free on Hulu! Yay!

geoffsn said...

Let me know if you figure out the proper balance.

Here's my uniquely mormon view. The purpose of religion is that all people can have joy. Right? But we need to extend the joy to everyone, because when one person has more than another, the world lieth in sin. We need to know about these problems in the world in order to best help those in need. I always liked the phrase "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." I feel like that's what religion should be all about. Pure religion is to help those in need. So you should feel afflicted when learning about other people suffering, but when it reaches the point that you are also suffering, please be comforted.

Plus, it doesn't take too much reading to know what people are in need and in what ways or through what organizations you can help. So if you get too depressed, go try to help someone; you'll feel much better.

PS, when you blog you make many, many people feel comforted! It's a great service.

Mary said...

Ok, so I'm starting to comment on every post. I'm one of those people.

I know how you feel though! I seriously have a growing list of places I will not go because of ethical reasons. I want to stop learning stuff so I don't run out of stores/restaurants/websites.

But then I hear someone say something like, "There is enough and to spare" as they throw their garbage in inappropriate places or whatever and all my causes come roaring back to life. It's exhausting.

Unknown said...

When I was in the 4th grade, part of the curriculum was how to deal with natural disasters, but since it was the middle of the Cold War, we also learned all about nuclear war. I still remember reading a scenario that went something like this: A little boy (who was probably in one of the "Duck and Cover" shorts) asks, "I just saw a flash and think it was a nuclear bomb going off. What should I do?" The response was basically, "If you were close enough to see the flash, you're dead." For years after that, I was terrified whenever a car drove by my house at night because what if those weren't headlights on my wall? What if the Russians had finally pushed the button and we were all going to die horribly from radiation poisoning?

Sometimes too much information, no matter how well intentioned, is a bad thing.

Had I had the chance in the 4th grade, I most certainly would have passed on developing an irrational fear of nuclear war that, if I'm being perfectly honest, lingers a bit to this day. Luckily I am now an adult, and if I can avoid ulcers and panic attacks and high blood pressure and therapy by controling what information goes into my head, then so be it.

I don't watch the news either because that way lies madness. Yes, I need to be aware of what is going on in the world, but at the same time, I don't need or want to obsess about Republican zombies or stockpiling newspapers to stick in my shoes when they wear through or saving my cardboard boxes just in case Hoovervilles come back into style. I don't need to watch coverage 24/7 to know that the economy is bad and that there is a war raging somewhere in the world. I got it the first time.

I am happy to be an ostrich regarding current events (and what goes on in air traffic control towers and restaurant kitchens), and you are more than welcome to share my sandbank. said...

If you are reading to be informed and current, I would alternate days and sources. Most 'news' is recycled for a few days, so you really wouldn't miss much, just a lot of media posturing and Apocalypse Now stuff.

If you are reading to be humanitarian, just channel your inner Mother Theresa. She saw an immediate need where she was and filled it. She realized she couldn't help everyone, but refused to let that knowledge hinder her in helping someone.

JustMe said...

MCB – don’t try and be a martyr to all things. Stress is extremely bad for your health and why put deliberately put yourself in places that you know will stress you out? You can’t fix the economy; all you can do is prepare yourself as much as possible.

I strongly recommend a daily dose of Paxil – and for severe stress, it never hurts to have a few Xanax on hand for immediate use. I lived with anxiety attacks for a while before I realized I was being stupid. Anxiety attacks are too awful to describe, and why suffer from them if you can take a pill that helps? My daughter is STRONGLY opposed to “drugs” and has issues with my use of anti-anxiety medication. Ask me if I care.

When I am under major stress, I can literally feel the acid pouring into my stomach. I lost 2 pints of blood due to an ulcer and nothing quite stresses you out like the EMTs being unable to get a blood pressure reading.

You will not be less of a liberal, or a feminist if you step back from the daily news for a while. You cannot be very effective at anything if your health is bad.

Wow – this was a total “mama” response – or maybe just the wise words of someone who has lived longer.

Kayce said...

I used to be very informed and had much anxiety about it. Now I'm a stay at home mom and forget to take time to be informed. And I feel anxiety over not being informed. Are we doomed to just feel anxious no matter what?

I am listening to Freakonomics right now, and it is helping me take what media interaction I do have with a grain of salt. Really interesting if you haven't read it.

LovelyLauren said...

I got all these first world problems....

Stephanie said...

@lovelylauren: "My teacher calls my rap lyrics prose!" Bahaha. Thanks for sending that over.

Jean said...

This post and the comments reminded me of La Yen's Bubble post, which I really liked:

I used to feel pressure (from myself?) to "stay informed" and subscribe to blogs that would make me a "real blogger." Then I realized that many of these blogs were filling my head with stuff that I didn't necessarily want or need.

Now I try to use a simple criteria when it comes to ingesting media - does it make me a better person? (More compassionate, more grateful, whatever)
If not, why am I wasting my time on it?

It's good to be aware, but impossible to be aware of everything that's going on in the world. As soon as I start to feel overwhelmed, I unsubscribe. I can always go back and read individual posts if I'm feeling left out.

ChristyLove said...

I know. It's like, there are hungry children in our backyard, but we're upset that our martini has too little gin in it? Gimme a break.

Aunt Spicy said...

drop the blog.

I always recommend to people that they read their local community paper and find was to get involved and make their community better.

we cant control the ridiculousness in the world, but we can have an impact in our neighborhoods!

[maybe you should write a column for your local paper...I would read it!]

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

I read it all. I just have to. I have to believe that being educated is better than being dumb. I have to watch my Kardashians and Real Housewives too, so maybe it equals out in my brain. I'm not sure.

I don't fret about the world ending and the economy collapsing because I have a very zenlike, "I can't control it if it happens" mindset.

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

OK, that made me sound all fancy. I totally fret. But then I get zen about it.

Lettibug said...

I'm late to the party, but I just have to share this with you. This is Martha Beck's article "In Praise of Rose-Colored Glasses" in Sept. 2011's O Magazine. She writes, "As you know, the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Even as I write these words, millions are dying of malnutrition and disease. Entire countries flirt with economic collapse. Wars rage all over the globe--which, by the way, looks to be approaching total system failure as natural ecosystems disappear. Meanwhile, I'm watching a YouTube video of a fuzzy little dog--a cross between a schnauzer and a poodle, called a schnoodle--who likes to sing and play the piano. And I am delighted.

"There was a time when I thought that such small-scale enjoyment, in a world so filled with suffering, was a crime in itself. It was hard to take a bite of my overabundant food, hug my healthy children, or drive one fossil-fueled mile without pangs of guilt. The only moral thing to do, I believed, was to sustain an attentive misery, honoring the pain and danger in this world. But over the years, as I've seen what leads to positive change and what doesn't, I've become a sort of joy hound. I now agree with the poet Jack Gilbert: 'We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.' This isn't narcissistic pleasure-seeking. It's the way to make your own life work and give your best to the world."

I absolutely loved that. Please enjoy your crafting blogs without guilt, because you need them to stay sane!

I actually try to avoid blogs, because they are the time-suck of all time-sucks, but yours is always pure gold. And my husband just started one, so now I have to read his, too. =) Anyway, thank you for all of the fabulous posts. I loved the Gluten-Free one, and the Brutus one. They're all fantastic, who am I kidding? =)