When fear takes over

What terrifies me most about the times we are living in is how many of us feel alone, angry and afraid.

I have felt like that for most of my life, but now I see it magnified all around me. The biggest echo chamber of all is the world, and to somebody with depression it can feel like everything inside you is being reflected out there.

I have struggled in the past twelve months to keep myself from becoming overwhelmed. I started NHS psychotherapy last summer for depression and PTSD and that, quite frankly, is enough for anybody. It’s tougher than I ever thought it would be.

Then I turn on the television or check my Facebook. I get frightened and anxious about the future, and I seem to exist in a state of horror at the present.

Brexit. Trump. Fake news. Loss of human rights. It all makes me sad, angry and despairing.

I suppose I keep watching because I want to be connected to what is going on. I can’t ever see a time when I disengage from current affairs.

But it’s okay to step back, especially when you’re fragile. If my brain can’t interpret what is happening out there without putting a big fat negative filter on everything, then perhaps it’s time to turn down the volume.

Media outlets go for the frightening, the alarmist, precisely because it’s that type of news which gets a reaction. Our human ancestors would travel the deserts and forests, always watchful, always ready. News editors prey on that instinct.

But do we have to be like that all the time?

When can we switch off?

What can we do to reassure ourselves, and each other?

 

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