Monday, July 11, 2016

A New Spin on TMI

It’s been a tough week for a lot of people.  There were two officer-involved shootings that garnered national media attention, as well as a sniper shooting of law enforcement officers at a Black Lives Matter event.  Several people on my Facebook page have stated that they need a break from social media.  I was so happy for those people.  You can’t address a problem you aren’t acknowledging.  
Some people need to feel like they’re plugged in, and well informed.  Go for it!  Some people can handle limited amounts of information, and only at certain time.  Awesome sauce!  Others need time away from media and need to be in control of where, when, and how they get their news.  High five!  Each person has to make the best decision they can for themselves.  TMI indeed stands for “Too Much Information.” 
In this case though, we’re not talking about aunt Sally’s sex swing and feather boa collection.  TMI refers to knowing when you’ve had enough.  Maybe it’s because you’ve started having nightmares.  Perhaps you’re thinking, or even talking, about the event so much, it’s interfering with your ability to do your job, or get your homework done.  It could be that you’re starting to have survivor’s guilt.  Whatever the case may be, it’s okay to turn off CNN, walk away from your laptop, or suggest to your friend that she change the subject when it comes up.  
It doesn’t mean you’re avoiding the topic, as long as you’re doing enough to keep yourself informed to the point you are safe.  For example, if you can’t bring yourself to check traffic in a part of town that’s prone to freeway shutdowns (hi Bay Area!), you’re putting yourself at risk of being caught in a protest that may end up exacerbating underlying anxiety.  Be aware of your reactions and responses when you’re getting information.  Try to get to know yourself enough to keep yourself mentally safe.  Always, and probably most importantly, if you start getting into trouble, have a plan for how you’re going to get out of it.  Safety first, friends!  Remember to put your own oxygen mask on first. 

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