Blogust 2018: The Series, Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: News Culture Could Be Playing a Role with Your Anxiety. (8/4/18)

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Hey, guys, welcome back to TNTH.

I wanted to write this post because I believe this affects a lot of people in our generation; not just those who suffer from anxiety disorders. I’ve recently been watching a lot of people online and in my neighborhood discuss various things that have happened within the last month, and these things have been happening since the year started, to be honest. We could all pretty much admit that the first major thing in the year that had everyone’s eyes wide open was the mass shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida at Stoneman Douglas High School back in February. Since then, things have piled on top of each other since then. The latest event that has everyone in complete shock is the fact that a four-year-old girl got ran over by a car who didn’t even think twice to turning back to see what they had hit, while the mother of the child was simply tieing her shoe. Also, it’s been said that the person who ran over the kid has a family member who is in authority, and threatened the mother to call ICE on her if she pressed charges. Whether it is true or not, it’s still a goddamn scenario that could easily be played out.

One thing that hit close to home was of the incident that happened in The Bronx on June 15th. Fifteen-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz was brutally murdered in front of a bodega by a group of guys with a machete and left him on the sidewalk to die. This 15-year-old kid got himself up, ran down the back where the hospital was, and died inched away from the hospital. On top of that, the entire thing was recorded on cameras outside of the bodega with people passing by, looking at these guys drag this boy outside on the sidewalk. It’s disgusting, and extremely triggering to anyone. 

What sickens me the most about these type of news events is that there is always a video of the violence happening on camera. There are two videos of two different children getting killed all over the internet, and nobody is looking away. 

The news culture has become a place of the grotesque; it’s now a game of “who can report the most gruesome events of the day faster“. We see people getting shot and murdered in videos, we see people getting stabbed to death in videos, and I guess we reached a new low: watching children get killed.

As a person who constantly thinks of the “what-if” scenarios on a day-to-day basis, these type of things are extremely triggering to my well-being. Those kids in that high-school shooting didn’t know their Valentine’s Day was going to end up the way it did. Junior did not think he wasn’t going to see the next day when dropping off bus fare to a friend down the block from where he lives. That mother did not know she was going to lose her child when she put the laundry together and took her to do laundry with her. These people did not know their last days would be like the way they ended up being, and I know I am not any different. Events like this make people not want to send their children to public schools because they’re afraid that their child isn’t going to return home from school at 3pm and instead receive a phone call from the police asking to identify a child they found dead. In all honesty, people are more afraid to go out to fun events (especially after the Manchester shooting in England after Ariana Grande’s concert) because these fun events could come with a price of your life. I’m not saying things like this haven’t happened in the past, I honestly believe it’s the way news outlets report these type of things.

Let’s take the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013 for instance:

After reporting the Boston Marathon news for almost a week, most news outlets interrupted their regular programming to report live at a literal hide and seek game between the bombers and the SWAT team. They tracked the guys down and followed them, found them, surrounded them, and killed one of them in an entire day. It was literally like watching a scene from an action movie. To this day, I never understood why it was necessary to report minute by minute on a tragedy that affected hundreds and their families. Yeah, it’s news (and important news) at that, but showing such triggering an unsettling footage isn’t “letting the news be known”. It’s (to an extent) glorifying the event. It’s why so many recent mass shooters who stay alive after the incidents claim they are inspired by past mass shooters who had their name known for weeks on end and now for the rest of everyone’s lives.

Our news culture is extremely unhealthy for everyone, especially those who suffer from constant thoughts of these worst-case scenarios actually happening.

I’ve been terrified to go to certain places in my life because of the stories I hear and see on a day-to-day basis. I avoid certain areas in my own borough in NYC because of all the crazy and violent things that I hear happening there. While there are people who are able to watch these kinds of things and still live on with their lives, there are people who live in fear because of them, and it causes us to develop conditions that you wouldn’t even think of happening a couple of years ago.

I mean, I was told that I could be a possible agoraphobic. 

Now, I’m not saying that you should be oblivious to the outside world and not care what goes on; that just shows your ignorance and avoidance to some really serious issues going on in the world. Plus, it’s impossible to avoid the news in this day and age where the news is on every platform and screen you interact with. Sadly, it’s something you can’t just avoid and to all intensive purposes, you shouldn’t.

What I’m saying is that if you deal with constant thoughts of worst-case scenarios and you function the way you do because of these scenarios, take some time to breathe and recollect yourself. You don’t have to read pages and pages of breaking news. You don’t need to watch these videos of the violence on every social platform. You don’t need to know, hear, and see everything about a very triggering event, and that’s completely okay. Knowing every little detail and having knowledge about an event are two different things. Inform yourself, don’t harm yourself.

As to those who still get very affected by these events and don’t live with these “what-if” scenarios constantly on your mind, just turning away from the media once in awhile is good for your mental health. Take time for yourself during these moments of negativity. Also, know that you can’t live your life completely avoiding the world, and we as people can only hope that we are able to live on to see our dreams and futures potentially playing out in reality.

As for those like me, we’ll be alright.

-Liz. (:

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