Is it just me…or does it seem like the world is going to heck in a hand-basket? Earthquakes, nuclear explosions, tsunamis, idiots in government. I hear even that sweet, young man, Charlie Sheen, is having issues.
Everything that is going on in the world today is enough to overwhelm anyone if they really let it sink in. And I feel like, as widows, when we let something sink in…it sinks. We’ve had ringside seats to the fragility of life and that little mental picture is something that will never go away.
When we see disaster, we’re picturing the family members who are lost and the others who will somehow have to carry on without them. When we watch how the government is functioning (or not, as the case may be), we feel for everyone who is affected and wonder how we will keep going. Even when we see Charlie Sheen, most of us are feeling true sympathy for the children who, let’s face it, have lost a father.
Bad news. It’s EVERYWHERE. We can’t escape it for the simple reason that it sells. Gloom and Doom bring in more advertising bucks than “Modern Family” ever will. Even if the news is good, it seems like there’s always some “Fox News” reporter eagerly waiting his or her turn for the spotlight to criticize whatever is going on (has Bill O’Reilly ever agreed with anyone?).
Even my old safety net, “The View,” has let me down. I know it’s up to them to talk about Hot Topics, but the other day I watched it and was severely depressed. I just can’t take it when Whoopi gets sad.
So now I’m down to watching “Fashion Police” on “E!” Joan Rivers will never let me down and speak about the medical outcome of a nuclear explosion while she’s bagging on what Justin Bieber wore to the Oscars.
Then again…Justin Bieber depresses me too. I’ve been on the verge of a mid-life crises since I found out that his parents are my age.
Watching the news as a widow…well…I’m just going to say it. It’s not a good idea. With the prevalence of sad stories, chances are you’re not going to see something that will make you turn off the TV with a sigh of contentment.
We are all so vulnerable while we’re grieving, sometimes watching what’s going on in the world just makes us feel helpless. It makes us feel like it’s us against a planet that’s falling apart. Even people who haven’t gone through what we’ve been through feel that way. But being alone (especially as a new widow)…it’s just too much.
Now, I know I’m going to get some push-back from people who are going to tell me that it’s not a good idea to bury your head in the sand. And I agree. But if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with life and “the big picture,” it’s time to turn off your cable and pop in “Pride and Prejudice” or something.
I’ll give you an example of how this works.
Right around the time my husband died, the recession happened. Every night, the news about the economy grew scarier and scarier. The entire country was on the brink of financial ruin. And I was sitting in my house every night with my three young children, petrified about how I could possibly get through this without my husband.
Bring on the anxiety attacks.
I finally got to the point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. Everything about the economy, new outbreaks of viruses, violence in schools…I didn’t even want to leave my house. So I did a very powerful thing to help myself.
I know some people don’t agree with the phrase “ignorance is bliss.” But partial ignorance isn’t always a bad thing. We can feel empathy for those suffering in Japan and donate or volunteer to help without seeing the same unfortunate man floating by on the top of his house over and over again. We can send prayers to families who have lost loved ones in accidents or tragedies in our own country without seeing the gruesome scene on the news 5 nights in a row. We can be helpful contributors to society without listening to someone who doesn’t even know us tell us what we should be thinking.
We can know what’s going on in the world without seeking out the bad news.
For those of you who are feeling just exhausted with the world, I have a suggestion. Turn off. Log out. Give your mind and your heart a break. Read news that feeds your soul and makes you want to get up in the morning. Seek out positive places to find things that will occupy your mind. Read the Arts & Entertainment section and recycle the rest.
Give yourself a bad news break.
And please…whatever you do…do not buy tickets to attend Charlie Sheen’s live show. I can’t imagine anything more depressing than that.
Catherine Tidd 2011