When You Need to Take a Break From the News: How Sensitive Souls Deal With Tragedy

Finally, I realized that I was grieving. Waking up to yet another National Tragedy on Monday morning was heart-breaking. Waking up to a National Tragedy that did not have to happen was beyond heart-breaking. I had already been tearful on Sunday after reading and watching reports about Puerto Rico. I have lived on the southeastern coast of Georgia, so I know how devastating a hurricane can be. When I read the news reports I can imagine the fear and destruction. When I watch the news reports, I can feel the desperation. I wish with all my heart I could fix all the pain and problems of those hit by a trifecta of hurricanes. But I can’t. I just can’t. All I can really do is give money and pray and check in with friends who have family in the affected areas. Even though that doesn’t seem near enough in the face of such suffering. And then the tragedy in Las Vegas happened. I still can’t even really talk about it. It is too much for my brain and body to process much less form words about. When I heard the news reports on the radio that morning, I knew I was going to have to pull back. My already stressed out system was not going to be able to process the emerging details of another national tragedy. It is not that I don’t care. It is that I care so much and feel so much if I plunge head long into the details of the tragedy I will begin to shut down.  

So I starting passing on reading the morning paper. 

I began listening to playlists instead of the radio (Pearl Jam if you must know).

And I walked away from any television broadcasting news on the shooting.


Because I could feel myself coming to the edge of that abyss that is depression and anxiety and I did not want to fall in yet again.

  After a couple of days I could bring myself to read an article or two in the paper. Because part of me really does want to know what happened and WHY? But skimming Facebook is still dangerous. I cannot look at an unexpected picture of bloody cowboy boots popping up in my feed without feeling the wrench of my stomach and sting of tears. But it is not that I don’t care. It is that I care SO MUCH. And feel SO MUCH. So I have kept to myself a lot this week. I have walked and drank tea and held my dogs. And when I find the strength, I pray. Pray for the bloody mess of it all. Of us all. And when I can’t find the words to pray, I breath and sigh and know that God hears me and has me even when I am faced with something that leaves me with tears but no words. So if you too need to take a break from the news I am here telling you that it is okay. It is not that you don’t care. It is that you care too much. In time we will be able to process even this tragedy. In time we will find words. Maybe even in time we will be able to come up with some wisdom that will help prevent such a horrible thing from ever happening again. But until then, be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. And once you have filled yourself with enough kindness you will have a little extra to share with your neighbor and then enough to share with more of the world. But that takes time. And care. So be gentle with yourselves. And know that you are all in my prayers and we are all in God’s hands.          ]]>

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4 thoughts on “When You Need to Take a Break From the News: How Sensitive Souls Deal With Tragedy”

  1. Thank you for speaking this and putting it out in the world! I have been on this edge for a while – I just lost my younger sister (45) to years of alcoholism and mental health issues(her body couldn’t take it anymore), after being in the hospital struggling for her life for the past 2 1/5 months AND me and my older sister caring for my elderly father through all of it (driving back and forth to SC), and helping my kids through losing their sweet aunt, AND helping my significant other through a hellacious incident that left him torn apart as well. The past couple of weeks of news of natural and person-led disasters have pushed me past my limits. I am crying all the time and in pain and saddened beyond words. Yes, I don’t know what to do with my feelings. SOOOO, as I am in tears reading this, you give me hope that someone understands. Someone understands that we grieve for those suffering from near and afar, for people we don’t know. But bigger than that we grieve for fellow humankind and the perilousness of life at times. Thank you, Dena, for putting into words what I am drowning in,… and what others must be too.

  2. So needed! Here we have been grieving over our government’s decisions – “Brexit”, which is so unnecessary – besides all the rest of the world-wide stuff – like you I am tired and weary and I realise that a lot of it is about politics, about the wanton destruction of the lovely country this used to be – I mean things like compassion, generosity, honesty in business, community, anything like that. Replaced with greed of various kinds., and fear (for example of immigrants), and distrust and hostility and violence. People are unhappy the world over. So somehow we have to distract ourselves sometimes. Because we care.

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