As I was dipping my toe back into the world after a self-imposed news blackout, I was immediately confronted with the altogether unsurprising reality that humanity sucks. Ray Rice is a wife-beater, Adrian Peterson is a child abuser, misogyny in gaming is still alive and well, the cops in Ferguson, Missouri lost their damn minds, and college guys are whining about how taking Rape Culture seriously is killing the mood.
And that’s just in the U.S.!
Wars, drug and human trafficking, Israel and Palestine still hate each other, LGBTQ folks around the world are still walking around with targets on our backs, and a North Korean dictator showing off just how out of touch he is about his peoples’ actual lives.
But let us not forget about the natural disasters making things even worse.
West Africa is dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history (and that’s on top of the already depressing HIV/AIDS epidemic ravaging the people of the continent), a volcano in the Philippines has forced the evacuation of thousands, an earthquake in Tokyo, and wildfires in California.
And then a jeep, driven by a texting teen, smashed into the side of my apartment building on Sunday.
It’s little wonder why I’m depressed over the state of the world. I think the biggest question I have is: How am I not agoraphobic yet?
I know some of these stories mentioned above are old news to many people but, in my mind, that’s the most disturbing part. This shit ain’t new!
And it’s that thought that sends me down a depression spiral every time that I dare turn on the news or read the paper; we are still awful to each other and Mother Nature is still making us work for our continued survival. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Because I cling to the hope that I will find more stories of people actually being kind to each other and standing up for what’s right.
Unfortunately, to preserve what precious little sanity I have, I often retreat into myself and engage in fantasizing about a world that does not yet exist. I have often read or been told by people that I shouldn’t spend so much time away from reality. But if I didn’t do this, how could I imagine the ways in which I can help to make the world a better place? Yes, I am a dreamer but, as John Lennon so accurately put it, “I’m not the only one.”
This is only one way in which I try to mitigate the damage done by the parade of awfulness that is the news, but it is the biggest one that allows me to replenish my desire to be of genuine service to my fellow humans, despite how the news tells me we just don’t seem to be worth it.
How do you keep your spirits up when life brings you down?