How do you cope/deal with the horrors we hear on the news everyday?

(50 Posts)
Playboxpony Mon 23-Sep-13 12:39:19

Sorry for such a morbid thread! But lately I've been really, really affected by recent news stories (particularly any involving abuse or the death of vulnerable children - Daniel Pelka, the little boy found mummified in his cot, and some of the horrific stories coming out of Syria). Some of these cases are just too horrific for words.

I'm pregnant, and already a mum to a little boy, so obviously I know that has something to do with my reaction to these stories. I'm definitely not depressed or anything like that, but I'm just finding it hard to process how so much hurt can be inflicted on other human beings. I've tried to convince myself that there MUST be more good people in the world than not, and that the majority of us are sane, with an in-built ethical or moral obligation to protect the vulnerable. I'm just not sure how much I am really convincing myself though. The world feels like it is going a bit crazy! :-(

I just wanted to know how you cope when you hear these sort of news stories. I am not religious, never have been, never will be (in my opinion, too much pain has been brought about by organised religion) but I find myself looking for some kind of explanation or answers from somewhere ...

Does anybody else feel the same or are these the mad ramblings of a hormonal, pregnant lady? Anyway I guess it would be of some kind of comfort to hear if others are feeling the same way!

PeterParkerSays Mon 23-Sep-13 12:48:06

I turn the radio off. I have a 4 year old boy, so have had to cut myself off from the stories of parents starving / attacking their 4 year old boys that have appeared recently. I couldn't have done anything to prevent these cases, so for now I just have to close my ears to them.

My son has blond hair, so is very similar to the photos of Daniel Pelka, and I remember him being a little blond 18 months old and remembering Baby P.

You just wouldn't function if you kept absorbing these cases; I find it helps to find good news stories to remind you that most people are decent and caring, and to censor news viewing until you're feeling stronger.

To be honest I try to avoid news reports involving children. I suffer from anxiety and those kinds of stories act as a trigger and make me far worse.

For the rest... I remind myself that there are a lot of good, kind people in the world. I give to charity appeals when I can afford to.

You don't watch and you don't listen.

I recommend to any of my clients with anxiety or depression that they stay away from current affairs when they're feeling sensitive.

I'm currently not watching the news as I've heard what's going on and I've too many things going on myself today to focus on others.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Mon 23-Sep-13 12:57:50

I stopped watching. I read the titles so I know vaguely what is going on occasionally read more deeply if interesting. And that is it! happier like that.
Being constantly bombarded with dreadful news is not healthy (like my parents who have to watch the entire news program TWICE a day and any update on breaking news during the day), just dragging you down making you fearful too.

Pootles2010 Mon 23-Sep-13 12:58:14

Agree, i'd try to stay away. I know they're awful, but I think the amount of news coverage on one or two cases make you think they're more common than they are, iykwim?

How many awful cases have you heard of this year? One or two? How many happy little children do you know that are loved, safe and cared for? I think you have to focus on that.

All you can do it is process it and keep going. I found the April Jones case very hard to hear about. My youngest is April's age.

Btw - I AM religious and believe me faith doesn't make this any easier to cope with. It's a fallacy to assume that people with faith will look at whatever horror is going on and say 'Oh well God will sort it all out in Heaven'. Sin is a symbol of a fallen world, of a separation from God. Nothing in my faith helps me to process what happened to April or to Daniel Pelka. I take no comfort from that except in believing that there is something beyond this world so that for those precious souls there is something else. Would that comfort me if it were my child? Well yes but not in such a way as to remove the pain.

yummymumtobe Mon 23-Sep-13 13:03:54

I feel the same as you - I have to turn the news off as well and I agree that it's definitely affecting me more as I've just had a second baby. However, what we all need to do is to be the best people that we can be. If there's anything you can do to help in your local community then do your bit. Eg we collect for a food bank at work. Even just being nice to people on the bus can help you feel better. I used to get annoyed when people spoke to my daughter on the bus but then I think maybe they are lonely or don't have grandchildren and seeing a little girl singing and chatting makes them feel happy. With charities, if you want to donate to Syria make sure you donate to a reputable charity such as Save the Children or the Red Cross. They are experienced and know how to get aid into countries effectively. There are probably lots of well meaning people collecting but you need to ensure you support a charity that is able to do work on the ground.

DancingLady Mon 23-Sep-13 13:05:54

Interesting to read these responses. I'd always felt like I "should" watch/listen, if that makes any sense. My DH can't read stories about abused/killed children as he says it upsets him too much and he can't do anything to help.

I'm quite anxious and have suffered from depression and been treated for it, and I really find distressing news stories (esp. involving children, given that I have a young DD) hard to shake off. They stay with me for days, weeks, and really upset me. So it's reassuring to know that people can, and do, avoid them!

SleepyFish Mon 23-Sep-13 13:12:31

I just don't watch the news. I hear the stories (thanks mum) but I don't want or need to know the details.
I take comfort in the fact that the majority of people do have decent moral standards and that we have laws in place to deal with those who don't.

yummymumtobe Mon 23-Sep-13 13:12:58

I also feel really guilty for not watching/reading stuff. But I am not in denial. I'm sure some people don't watch and think its nothing to do with them. I am aware that terrible stuff happens and want to help so I do stuff locally and also give to reputable charities. The problem is when you don't watch or read and also just live in a bubble where you don't try and do anything to help make changes in the world in whatever small/big ways you can.

rumbelina Mon 23-Sep-13 13:14:51

I thank my lucky stars on a daily basis.

sittinginthesun Mon 23-Sep-13 13:15:10

I also don't watch/read upsetting stories. I find I can detach enough to read the headlines, but then step back if it's too bad.

When I was pregnant with my second, I had a thyroid condition which led to crippling anxiety, and I would sob over everything.

Thistledew Mon 23-Sep-13 13:17:21

By doing what I can to be the change in the world that I want to see. I am fortunate in that my job enables me to actually help people to make significant changes in their lives for the better, and to hopefully and occasionally to make small political changes as well.

But even so, we can all do a bit to help- from volunteering in the community to donating to charities and signing petitions for change. You have to be strict with yourself and recognise that you are powerless to solve the big problems but even as a small cog in the machine you can be a tiny part of the change for the better.

MrsDavidBowie Mon 23-Sep-13 13:17:25

I watch the news twice a day, follow BBC online for updates on all sorts of current affairs.
It doesn't affect me in a negative way..I don't get distressed about it.
I also hear lots of information about abused children through work.

Makes me sound hard and emotionless which I'm not...I have teenagers, not small children.

Likesshinythings Mon 23-Sep-13 13:20:50

I know what you mean DancingLady - it somehow feels like not watching or listening to these reports is opting out and that we have a responsibility to bear witness. But I've come to realise lately that there is nothing wrong with avoiding these reports when you know that they are going to be with you for days.
I also try to remind myself that these things are in the news because they are, mercifully, very rare.

SnoopySnoopyDoggDogg Mon 23-Sep-13 13:22:58

This is a really interesting thread, I have been wondering similar for a while. Ever since becoming pg with dd1 and now with two young dcs I seem to have become hyper sensitive to the huge amount of horric suffering around the world and I find the news so distressing. I can't just not watch though, as I feel like I am turning my back on it then and pretending it's nothing to do with me and then doesn't that make me an enabler in some way?

I try and be a good person, give to charity regularly but it just feels so inadequate. The world is so awful, but there is good to be found too so I guess the answer is to do what you can to help the bad and then try and focus on the good?

JohFlow Mon 23-Sep-13 13:24:36

I think the rule of thumb is; if it affects you in your daily life and you don't like that - just avoid it. I fail to understand why 90odd-percent of the news is bad! There is a lot of good in the world that would boost us and give us a sense of purpose - why is that not as important as the miseries reported? I also agree that having children affects how you receive the news and I think that is do with our responsibilities to protect and nurture. x

citybranch Mon 23-Sep-13 13:27:40

This is me all over. Can't watch the news or read papers, as I tend to obsess over the horror stories (not out of choice) and get upset. I think I have some anxiety which is triggered by these things.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Mon 23-Sep-13 13:30:22

What I said about not watching is not about living in a bubble or not knowing or not caring for that matter. It is about avoiding the constant "news" feeding (more often than not with gruesome details that nobody needs).

flipchart Mon 23-Sep-13 13:31:00

I have been upset about some personal things lately.
Ds2 has started taking the iPad off me and banning me from reading newspaper headlines!! He keeps shaking his head and saying , you are only upsetting yourself even more mum!

TickledOnion Mon 23-Sep-13 13:36:38

I'm the same as you OP. And it's not just news stories. I've read such terrible sad stories in MN where people have posted about their childhood or links to sad stuff online. I feel like a fraud for getting so upset when my life is so nice and untroubled. I have to force myself not to look at stuff or click on links. There are a lot of good people in the world, they just don't make the news.

lljkk Mon 23-Sep-13 13:56:40

It makes me so angry. So many difficult problems in the world that aren't due to malice and if folk only worked together they could fix a lot of them. But then you have people spreading neglect, hate & violence instead of trying to actually make the world a better place. sad

I listen to World Service a lot because they do fairly few horrible stories.

Playboxpony Mon 23-Sep-13 14:28:48

Thanks for all your responses so far - I'm obviously not alone in feeling like this and I know I'm being particularly sensitive at the moment due to being pregnant.

I agree that it'd be healthier (at the moment) to just switch off the radio - but then, like some of you have already said, I do inevitably feel guilty that I have that luxury to do that and just switch it off to return to my fairly easy, happy, safe life (touching all wood surfaces!!!).

I do count my blessings every day for what I have now and like yummymummytobe and others have suggested, I think doing something positive like volunteering would be really helpful.

Flicktheswitch Mon 23-Sep-13 14:35:03

I don't watch the news any more. I also since having children am unable to read the same books I used to enjoy (Patricia Cornwell comes instantly to mind).

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