Special interest is also my biggest anxiety trigger?

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Bepidrix
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27 Oct 2022, 5:36 pm

Disclaimer: I don't want this to be about politics in and of itself. Rather, this should be about anxiety caused by politics. As such, it would mean a lot to me if you avoided direct commentary, regardless of your opinion.

I've been a news junky ever since middle school. Now, politics is almost kind of my special interest. Unfortunately, I also have pretty bad generalized anxiety, and politics is one of the chief "triggers." In particular, I get very distressed when things suddenly take a worse for what I will simply call "my side," when longstanding norms are overturned, and when prominent institutions or figures in established media issue dire predictions or warnings. (Conversely, when things are decisively going my way, I have the strong urge to be a sore winner... but that's tomorrow's problem.)

Anyone else deal with this? If so, how do you handle, ahem, events you *really* don't like, and how do you try and mitigate the issue, especially when things are uncertain or really not going your way? Do you have any tools in particular you use to try and stop yourself from checking news/polls/etc.?

EDIT: I probably should've spelled it out more explicitly, but the other half of the problem is that the urge to check can be overpowering. Sorry for not making that clear.



Last edited by Bepidrix on 27 Oct 2022, 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mountain Goat
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27 Oct 2022, 5:40 pm

Maybe avoid watching the news as a way of blotting things out?


Hope none of what I said was directed. Apologise of it is.Shortened my reply just incase.



naturalplastic
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27 Oct 2022, 6:44 pm

Give up politics.

And take up knitting.

But seriously we all need breaks from listening to the news every now and then these days (whether were actively political or not).

There are just too many crises in the world lining up at the check out for one's attention. Just send a few to the express line, and then take a break from the news.

Like I just saw a headline in the paper about a vicious new ISIS uprising in an African country thats not even majority Muslim, and some other bad trend somewhere- I forget.



ToughDiamond
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27 Oct 2022, 6:50 pm

Politics is more of a "depression" trigger than an anxiety trigger for me. Not that it's ever made me clinically depressed, just that most news seems to be bad news, which is enough to put a damper on anybody's mood. It also gives me compassion fatigue hearing about all these obscure places getting ripped up by war and pestilence.

But I can't claim that politics is exactly a special interest of mine. It has some of the features of a special interest, but I have no special love of politics like I do for music, for example. Music is much better for my mental health. I've sometimes spent years paying little or no attention to politics or the mass media, and I haven't missed it. I might not bother with it at all if I didn't feel it was important to get an early warning of changes to my environment. And I like to keep my propaganda-spotting skills up to scratch.

I tend to peek into the "politics, philosophy and religion" forum from time to time, and that has some value in sharpening my thinking on politics, and I like to give my 2 cents on issues that interest me, and to question what I see as muddled thinking, but a lot of the topics there just bore me, and a lot of the content seems to be more about one-upmanship than it is about maturely and scientifically trying to find the truth together. It's a great place to get misunderstood. So if I catch myself spending too much time there I start suspecting I should give it up and get a life.



Bepidrix
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27 Oct 2022, 7:09 pm

Mountain Goat wrote:
Maybe avoid watching the news as a way of blotting things out?


Hope none of what I said was directed. Apologise of it is.Shortened my reply just incase.


Thank you + Naturalplastic for the feedback. Unfortunately hasn't been that easy. In some ways, it is less special interest than it is addiction, perhaps. Sometimes I can resist the urge to check, but sometimes I can't - or don't. I've often installed blockers and filters on my own things, and they have been invaluable, but they can't completely stop me, especially around the time of an election. And even if I go a while without looking, there is still this sense that I "ought" to know/care, depending on the perceived stakes.

I used to believe that the world of current events was actually more important than anything in my individual experience, and that it was superficial and shortsighted to think otherwise. Therapy has helped me get past that intellectually, but it's still sort of there emotionally.



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28 Oct 2022, 4:39 am

I limit the input I get about stuff that triggers me (and lots of things are triggering) I choose what I see and listen to and read very carefully and don't allow random input to continually bombard me. Media is aimed at producing strong emotions. Instead I belong to a couple of news sites online and I can go check out what is happening and be informed every day or two. These political fights have been around as long as mankind has been here and they won't go away. If the earth stops turning or something major happens I am sure I'll find out soon enough. The rest is just people being people ( a competitive, quarrelsome, warlike species who behave mostly like the animals we all are). I try to concentrate on things that give me peace or pleasure and let things I have no control over do what they will. I vote, and the rest is up to other humans I can no control. It has taken some practice to do this but my mental/emotional state is much better than it was just a couple of years ago when my guts and my brain reeled from one media or political crisis to the next. I'm over it now. Hope you can find peace and do some great self care.


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Gammeldans
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30 Oct 2022, 9:46 am

Bepidrix wrote:
Disclaimer: I don't want this to be about politics in and of itself. Rather, this should be about anxiety caused by politics. As such, it would mean a lot to me if you avoided direct commentary, regardless of your opinion.

I've been a news junky ever since middle school. Now, politics is almost kind of my special interest. Unfortunately, I also have pretty bad generalized anxiety, and politics is one of the chief "triggers." In particular, I get very distressed when things suddenly take a worse for what I will simply call "my side," when longstanding norms are overturned, and when prominent institutions or figures in established media issue dire predictions or warnings. (Conversely, when things are decisively going my way, I have the strong urge to be a sore winner... but that's tomorrow's problem.)

Anyone else deal with this? If so, how do you handle, ahem, events you *really* don't like, and how do you try and mitigate the issue, especially when things are uncertain or really not going your way? Do you have any tools in particular you use to try and stop yourself from checking news/polls/etc.?

EDIT: I probably should've spelled it out more explicitly, but the other half of the problem is that the urge to check can be overpowering. Sorry for not making that clear.

Singing makes me frustrated but it is also the most lovely thing to do.

I never liked the fact that people talk about special interests without mentioning how frustrating it can be.

What helped me is going to professionals who are very good at dealing with my difficulties and seeing my strenghts.



Gammeldans
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30 Oct 2022, 9:50 am

naturalplastic wrote:
Give up politics.

And take up knitting.

But seriously we all need breaks from listening to the news every now and then these days (whether were actively political or not).

There are just too many crises in the world lining up at the check out for one's attention. Just send a few to the express line, and then take a break from the news.

Like I just saw a headline in the paper about a vicious new ISIS uprising in an African country thats not even majority Muslim, and some other bad trend somewhere- I forget.

Why not just find a good group for people who want or need to discuss such things?



Bepidrix
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01 Nov 2022, 11:52 pm

Gammeldans wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
Give up politics.

And take up knitting.

But seriously we all need breaks from listening to the news every now and then these days (whether were actively political or not).

There are just too many crises in the world lining up at the check out for one's attention. Just send a few to the express line, and then take a break from the news.

Like I just saw a headline in the paper about a vicious new ISIS uprising in an African country thats not even majority Muslim, and some other bad trend somewhere- I forget.

Why not just find a good group for people who want or need to discuss such things?


Unfortunately I have found no such group. The thing is, it also can't be full of, ahem, defeatism, because that will just transfer onto me, and I will amplify it.



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03 Nov 2022, 10:51 pm

I am also a lifelong news junkie. And it has become extremely depressing in the past few years. I have changed my online diet. I stopped doing social media. I do still read the Washington Post daily but I dilute it with equal portions of YouTube (videos of late night comedy shows) and a specific hobby forum. This hobby is also the thing I try to focus my mind on when I’m stuck in an anxiety spiral or wake up suddenly with anxiety.