Overshared And Overwhelmed


It’s a good week to be in Canada, and an even better week to be Canadian, they’re just loving themselves sick right now at the Olympics. But it hasn’t been a week of uplifting news in Australia. And I’m not sure if our stone age brains are capable of the collective sorrow and anger that comes on mass. It seems that so many of us take it all on board and begin to carry the burdens of the world. Shared and over-shared, raged and outraged.  I understand that it’s important to share and therapeutic to write, but I’m not sure how therapeutic it is to read stories of pain again and again. We’ve all experienced the verbal dump, been the confidant, the friend with the generous ear. There’s a reason therapists seek therapy.

I took myself offline yesterday. G looked over at me in the morning “what’s wrong?” he was alarmed by the look on my face. The answer was I couldn’t read one more story of pain and sorrow, or more to the point, one more opinion piece of someone else’s pain and sorrow. Remember when you read a newspaper with a tragic headline followed by an impartial news report, the facts were told, and you were left to get on with the day to process the news? 

I have friends who refuse to watch or read depressing movies or books, believing that they will experience their own moments of great pain without having to indulge in the pain of others. “Why would I put myself through it unnecessarily”. My mother’s the same, as she’s become older she’s insisted that life can be depressing enough without the help of a heavy book. “I want to read something light, something funny and uplifting”.

I know there are many clever ones out there, those of you who don’t get the alerts, who log in once a week, catch up and walk away. I need to be more like that. Take the apps off of my phone (again). Set a timer so I don’t accidentally trip like Alice into a rabbit hole of spiraling links, gifs and memes. I need to remember that the internet requires the same careful choices as the television set. I don’t watch reality tv or celebrity dribble, so why would I bother with a newspaper or website which broadcasts in the same fashion? My new mantra is to stick to the informative, the entertaining, the thoughtful. Stay away from the opinionated drivel.

In the words of Stephen Fry. “It’s not called social change or heavy debate, it’s called Twitter.”

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