We Live In Draining Times

What with COVID and elections I had become a bit of a news junkie in recent months whereas, prior to that, I really only paid passing interest to the headlines. What has struck me in recent weeks is the draining effect of watching the news on a regular basis. I’ve found it has had a negative impact on my mental health to the extent where I am now making a conscious effort to spend less time watching and reading about what is happening in the world.

Some of you may think I’m sticking my head in the sand, my fingers in my ears and whistling until it all goes away. I can understand why you might think that way. We need to have an awareness as to what is happening in the world and educate ourselves about matters relevant to our lives. Ignorance is not an excuse and I have seen enough of the former in 2020 to last me a lifetime. I admire people who are making the effort to learn so they can improve as human beings in these troubled times.

I think the major damage I’m inflicting upon myself is reading people’s reaction to the news, scrolling down the comments screen as keyboard warriors and self-appointed experts set the world to rights. Largely via the use of multiple capital letters, exclamation marks and angry face emojis. Oh, and swearing. Lots of swearing. Because that’s big and adult and clever and sure to have people aligned to your point of view in no time at all.

I’ve even been on the receiving end of negative comments myself. Some unhinged, others snarky and then the deeply unnerving passive-aggressive ones that probably freak me out the most. I’ve considered posting less, not posting about certain topics, even not posting at all and packing in the blog. But, that would be three years of hard work down the drain. All because of a minority who probably wouldn’t even notice I was gone. So, here I am. Writing the words. But I’ll be watching less news and reading less comments, that’s for sure.

How drained are you by life at the moment?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

45 thoughts on “We Live In Draining Times

  1. I’ve had to limit myself, too, to maintain my sanity. The last thing I need is for your blog to go away!

    I’ve also learned that those responding with all those emojis and vitriol aren’t the ones you want to read or engage with so I stopped reading them a long time ago. You invite thoughtful discourse and your followers provide that with only a few exceptions from time to time.

    Thanks for always meaningful and relevant topics.

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  2. I leave Mrs H to trawl through all the bad news and update me with a summary (some of which I hear!) It’s not that I don’t care but, as you say, it’s the ‘same old, same old’ seemingly every day. And I always think that anyone who has to swear has not got a good grip of the English (or whatever) language. So I always feel quite superior! Lastly, I’m sorry NI lost last night! 😥

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  3. I look at the news for a total of five minutes a day. I have done this for many years. It really doesn’t deserve much more than that and it’s a shame, because I know some excellent journos.

    Of course, I read the well informed article here and there.

    The other issue is, I have been in public life for a long time, so I have been on the inside of a lot of issues, so to speak. My information is much reliable 😂🤔😉

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  4. Hi Fractured,
    I literally just posted this on my Facebook page on the 11th, lol; Adios amigos! Apparently that singular message was just a little too vague and somewhat alarming. I’ve made the decision to take a break from this social media platform 🤮. I will only be visiting on the 15th of each month. So be prepared for some crazy on those days 😂. Until then be kind to each other and yourselves, 🤗. Damn the 15th is only three days away, ugh 🤣. Much like yourself, I am torn with this decision though. After listening to NPR while at work this past evening I was struck by the vast amount of misinformation still spewing from an array of different sources. I truly feel for your concern that to others it may seem that, I this vocal and outspoken individual for justice and doing the next right thing has decided to stick my head in the sand, But there I agree it’s a combination of the time, venom and energy that is being taken from me to fight the good fight. And at the end of the day if I am not in a good space mentally and randomly posting and ranting than am I really being of use to other or for myself? It’s a fine line. I wish you well on your receding intake of garbage. And we should all remember, as they say garbage in garbage out. Take care of you and yours.
    Sincerely,
    Duane L

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  5. I take a periodic “news diet” myself, for just that reason. There is only so much trauma our brains can take.

    Likewise, I am exhausted by the deliberate, delighted ignorance that has been on display for the last four years, which seems to have been weaponized this year. I feel you.

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  6. I am also taking time off from the news, or trying to do so. I also agree that the comments are some of the worst things i have ever seen written. Anonymity seems to breed crazy. I refrain from commenting, unless I have something good to say or something encouraging. It’s like the whole world has gone mad, and with the virus surging here in AMerica, over 100000 cases a day and more than a 1000 deaths, I am astounded that what seems to matter most is Trump losing the election for so many people. So. yes, I have to back off as well for my sanity. I am so thankful for Britbox and Vera bingeing.

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  7. I’m with you. The news is 95% doom and gloom. Reading that on a daily basis wears you down. Its like when you surround yourself with negative people they drag you down with them. I’ve just been reading people’s comments to news articles on twitter. Most just read the headline and not the article and make a massive judgement which is mostly incorrect. So much negativity and people jumping to conclusions without facts, it’s a grim place at the minute. Ian

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  8. Thanks, Stephen, you nailed it. I abandoned my screens for a week and considered shutting down my FB and WP. We must remember that addicts can addict to anything whether it be good vibes or bad news. I am slimming down on nightly news broadcasts, planning to read more great literature and to continue writing. I still love your site and would seriously miss it.

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  9. Living as I do in the seemingly idyllic NW corner of Montana – one would think we could be somewhat free of the social unrest, pandemic, and political news overload. On the contrary – MT had one of the most contested and ad blitzed campaigns in history and was #1 in political advertising per capita in US this year. We are a pandemic red zone – our hospitals are overflowing and our cases doubling every day. Masks and the protest of them is front-page news every day and our elected officials are washing their hands of the matter – pressing for personal responsibility as they hold maskless rallies for their cause. My degree is in Communications and Political Science so naturally, I am like a moth to a flame when election season rolls around. I cannot get enough news – that was until this year. I live alone and always have NPR on in the background or else I am listening to political podcasts while I run or walk the dog, etc. I started to realize in September that my spirit was becoming morose. But that was just when things started getting interesting and so I dove deeper.

    Two weeks ago, I suffered a severe stress fracture to my foot that upended my morning runs and evening walks when I tuned in to the news. I started doing chair cardio on Youtube and have been for the last 2 weeks. Hence my daily diet of news (aside from what I read online) was cut to my drive time and morning prep. I started to notice a dramatic change in my mood. This last Saturday ( The day Biden was declared Pres-elect) I was ensconced in sermon writing and listening to symphony after symphony (writing music) from 10 am until well past 8:00pm that night. I missed EVERYTHING! And you know what – That is OK!! I am still breathing! I know as much today about the state of the world as anyone else who was watching 24/7! My focus on God and a message of hope that day did wonders for my mind and mood!

    We are being fed views reconstituted as news ad nauseum. I remember when we had 2 hours max of news each day – from 3 major networks. That was all we needed. And it was NEWS. Now we get to pick the news that aligns with our views from everywhere at any hour. What good is it doing any of us? Does it give us any more control of things? NO! It just makes us angry, frustrated, and depressed.

    I thank God for mediums such as yours that allow me to step away from the cold hard “facts” of the day and enjoy views of a much more intimate and humane perspective – our wonderful, imperfect, amazing, difficult, daring, and deeply moving lives. Thank you for sharing yours!

    Stay healthy. Stay hopeful. Remember what matters!
    Erika

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  10. I do not think you are putting your head in the sand. You are saving your sanity. I have been an avid newspaper reader/news watcher all my life and I no longer watch it. Sometimes, my husband and I watch the first two minutes to see the headlines. Nothing but COVID and the US election (here in the US). We watch a show instead. I usually just check a news service online in the morning to see if there are any major stories. That’s it. It feels like we have enough information about COVID for the time being. Life is moving along just fine, even more smoothly, without the news. Hang in there.

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  11. You’re completely right. I’ve refused to watch the news for the most part. And because I have to be on social media, I’ve found the snooze button quite helpful. If I see negativity, even a belief I hold being proclaimed in a negative or hurtful way, I snooze the person for thirty days to keep the negative out of my news feed. It really does weigh one down emotionally and mentally.

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  12. I’m watching the news lots, mostly because things are rapidly declining in my small town. Things are changing, even my opinion has shifted from thinking that the media was completely overblowing things to now realizing that our local hospital is in deep trouble. But good on you for turning off the news. Sometimes it just needs to be done.

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      1. Yup. We’re a small city and have made national news… right now our numbers are 10X higher than the rest of Canada and 2X higher than our capital city hotspot. So many of our nurses have had to isolate because of an outbreak in an entire floor. Still, people were dumb enough to hold a anti mask protest here last week 😱

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