The news these last few days have been unbelievably chaotic. The world watched in horror as armed terrorists overran the U.S. Capitol Building. While we talk about our personal dark tales, there have been few days where the nation’s tale was as dark as it was this past Wednesday. And of course, this news comes on the heels of a deeply divided election, which itself came on the heels of a year of major disasters such as a massive wildfire in Australia and a global pandemic. And with all of this going on, it is important to question how we keep the anxiety of the world from impacting our personal battles with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
For some, it means turning off the news, turning off social media, and limiting their exposure to what are admittedly very disturbing scenes. It isn’t a matter of being uninformed about the state of the world, but rather it is about self-care, knowing what will not be productive for one’s recovery.
For me, it means being mindful of my feelings. This means a couple of things. First of all, it means giving myself time to process when I need it. This means putting my work aside for a moment or two so I can focus not only on the news, but also on how I am reacting to it. And when I go back to work, I put the news aside, giving myself a break to focus on something I can control, as opposed to the news of the day, which I can’t control. It also means journaling, giving myself a physical space where I can pour my thoughts onto a page and literally close the book, allowing me to process it on my own time.
However, you manage the anxiety of the world vs your own mental health recovery is a choice that will ultimately be up to you. Every mental illness is a little bit different, and how you manage a specific condition might be different than the ones discussed here. What is most important though, is that you allow yourself to feel whatever your feelings might be, and also recognize that however you react to it isn’t a question of strength or weakness, but rather a question of what is best for you. As such, I hope these suggestions help, and I hope wherever you are that you can manage your own recovery as the nation and the world try to recover from these dark days.
Until next time, be safe and be well.