Today, the news is bad for my mental health

As I write this, there’s a tense hostage drama unfolding in Paris. Gunmen (and maybe gunwomen) believed to be affiliated with the Charlie Hebdo attack have taken over a factory and a kosher supermarket, and are holding hostages.

As somebody who cares about what’s going on in the world, I turned on CNN. As somebody who cares about my mental health, I turned off CNN after about 30 minutes. That’s because, from what I saw, there was nothing but endless speculation. The reporters all admitted that the situations were unfolding and they really didn’t know much about details. And as far as my mental health is concerned, it’s not good for me to listen to endless speculation.

I’m not blaming CNN. We live in a 24-hour news world now, and they have space to fill when events unfold. To fill that space, reporters have to keep talking. It’s understandable that they revert to speculation.

But speculation is a big trigger for me. It blurs the lines between what is true and what isn’t. And since my depression is already good at blurring those lines, I don’t want to give it company. I feel weird saying this, because I have a journalism background. But right now, watching the news is the last thing I want to do.

I’m still a concerned citizen, though. I hope and pray for those involved in this hostage drama. It’s just that I will wait until actual facts are known, and go from there. I care about our world. But I also have to care about myself.


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