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How do you cope with reality?

(9 Posts)
adrift Sun 02-Jan-05 11:18:50

I need to know how everyone else is coping with all this terrible news. Sounds pathetic, in the light of what other people are going through right now, but it's getting on top of me. I don't know what the correct response should be anymore.
I've given money, I've cried and cried, I've woken up in the night with my head full of terrible images, and then I've cried some more. And all I'm left with is helplessness and a terrible fear/guilt/insecurity about the world I'm bringing my children up in. I'm talking not just about the tsunami, but the usual charity pushes at this time of year: Aids orphans in Africa, the Bam anniversary. It feels like an onslaught, and i don't know how to get through it at the moment.
What is the appropriate response? How deeply are we meant to 'feel', or not feel? I don't understand.
is it OK to turn away from it at a certain point, for self-protection? And how do you justify that to yourself?

Gobbledigook Sun 02-Jan-05 11:33:48

Personally, I can only spend so much time and energy worrying about the terrible things going on around the world. When the tsunami first happened, it really affected me and was on my mind a lot for the first couple of days and I donated to the British Red Cross. Now, I still hear about it on the TV and it really saddens me but I'm getting on with other things. What else can I do? I can donate money and help in that way but everything else is down to the experts - the people who are trained to deal with such disasters and help the people rebuild their lives.

Selfish as it may sound, my number one priority is my own family and life is going on here. I've a mountain of work to do, 3 small children to look after and I'm moving house in 3 days - my energy has to be directed to these things at the moment because that is the reality of my life. I can stand back from it now and then and do my bit to help others but I can't live my life for everyone else in the world.

What should I do with my time today? Sit around crying and worrying or get on with my work, take the kids swimming - have fun with them? For one thing, there is only so much I can do for the people in Asia from here and for another, the happiness and wellbeing of my own children is my first priority.

I hope I make sense. I will do everything I can to help others but I can't/won't dedicate my whole existence to it because it just isn't possible.

And yes, I think there is an element of self-protection. What good does it do anyone - yourself or your family - to continue wallowing in this sadness? I know that if I sat and thought about it too much I could end up seriously depressed as it would lead me to analyse much more my own mortality and that of my children - it's just the kind of person I am - and it would not be helpful to anyone.

adrift Sun 02-Jan-05 11:45:40

You do make sense. Thanks.

KBear Sun 02-Jan-05 12:28:18

GG I agree with you completely. After crying my eyes out down the phone to my mum the other night I vowed to back off watching the news. It was turning me into a blubbering wreck and like the rest of us I have my life to get on with too. I've donated money and will continue to do so as soon as I can, I'm going to do a fund-raiser at my DD's school if I get permission and pray (which I don't do often) for the poor souls caught up in this horror.

Gobbledigook Sun 02-Jan-05 12:31:29

Thank goodness for that! Thought people might think I was heartless! I've donated money and am happy to hold a fundraising coffee/cake event with Twiglett et al, but I don't feel I can do much more and in the meantime I have to turn my attention back to the reality of my own life.

hattynewyear Sun 02-Jan-05 12:34:40

hi Adrift,

I would say that yes some people do need to "turn away" from it for self protection. But the alternative is to turn your feelings into something positive - ie get involved in voluntary work or fundraising - not just at Christmas but make it a feature of your life all year round. There are lots of things you could do which could, feasibly be fitted in with children, but if you really feel you can't why not spend the odd evening on the internet, look at some campaigning sites and rattle off a few letters to the PM, George Bush etc (Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, Oxfam sites will all give sugestions of useful letters you could write from home). Then there are things you can do practically like recycling, walking instead of driving, buying fairtrade products etc. It all helps you cope when things like this happen.

WideWebWitch Sun 02-Jan-05 15:09:36

I don't watch the news, ever. I only read one paper, and I read it cover to cover, once a week. That's my news fix and yes, I regularly get agitated/angry/upset by things I read in that paper. Via all the other things I read though (Ecologist, Economist, Private Eye, a million women's mags, Mumsnet) I hear what's going on in the world and decide on my response to it. Although I have cried at various tragedies at various times I don't have a head full of awful images because I don't watch them. So IMO yes, it is OK to turn away to a certain extent a lot of the time, for self protection. I don't feel impotent, I give to charity sometimes and I act where I feel I can make a difference sometimes. But it would be impossible to think about all these things all of the time and it wouldn't be healthy or any good to anyone. The whole 'how to be good' question is a very interesting one though I think. I agree with that quote "all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing" so I don't think trying to change things is pointless but I don't think we can all be trying to change bad things in the world all of the time.

Donbean Sun 02-Jan-05 15:25:58

Since i had DS i have been unable to cope with any bad news..full stop.
I mean emotionally i cannot cope and so i do not allow it in.
This bury my head in the sand is the only way i can prevent serious mental health problems.
For example, a few weeks ago there was a woman posting on here about her grandson who she has custody of. she was describing some of the things that had occured prior to her gaining custody of the child and it affected me to such an extreme that i could not sleep, could not get this child out of my head and had a nauseous feeling in my stomach every time i thought of this little boy.
Do you see what i mean, i just cannot cope with the thoughts and stories so i dont let them in.
As i said, its only since DS came along, prior to that not much affected me.

dietingdottee Sun 02-Jan-05 15:31:41

What about turning negative into positive, if you're able to?

The Tsunami disaster is on my mind and I'm currently trying to arrange a fund-raiser at my dd's school to get some cash over there. I thought of a coffee morning (an inspiration from MN) and a teacher friend has suggested a jumble sale too.

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