Recently I met a woman who started to recite a sad story she had heard on the news earlier that day. Cutting her off, perhaps impolitely, with a palm to her face and a grimace on mine, I pleaded with her not to share. She asked why and, there I was again, stating what I thought might be obvious (but obviously was not); that I have voluntarily shut myself off from all the bad news.
A confessed former news-junkie, previously employed by a national news network, in a position demanding that I stay constantly informed of global news (nay, ahead of the news), this self-imposed news strike has been nothing short of cathartic. Undoubtedly, my mental health has benefited from not being sucked into the quagmire of bad, worse and yet more devastating news reports.
Don’t tell me it doesn’t suck the breath out of you sometimes…
Ever since my accident, I’m not interested in reading about shootings and train wrecks, corrupt politicians and civil wars. I can’t stomach hearing about deaths from cancer or kids gone missing. With a constant barrage of flashbacks and violent imagery already taking its toll on my psyche (all PTSD-related, I understand), I refuse to carve out room for more. If the world economy is still in the doldrums, if more soldiers are dying in Iraq and if the swine flu is spiraling out of control, so be it. I adamantly choose to remain uncharacteristically oblivious for now, relying on relatives and close friends to inform me of the absolute essentials.
So for the foreseeable future, I will live in my news-free protective bubble. And since I prefer to mark the positive and celebrate milestones, I’ll restrict myself to these sources for now:
1. The front page of http://www.nytimes-se.com/
2. The Good News Now network at http://gnn.com/, or
3. Google’s home page – because I am pretty sure that those quirky reminders appearing on their colourful site – Sesame Street’s 40th birthday, the discovery of water on the moon – won’t ever crush my day.