Updated: Oct 13, 2020
I am angry. A lot lately. There is so much going on in the world that it is easy to join the divisiveness. I can feed this anger any time I want – via Facebook, news channels, Twitter, etc. And keep feeding and feeding and feeding. I don’t feel like I can fix what I read about, so I get angrier and feel better only when I find one more thing to add to the fire.
And I am not alone.
There is a new word in our lexicon, “doomscrolling.” I am a pro.
Like many others, here is my nighttime routine – 1) tuck in, 2) kiss and hug my love goodnight, 3) rollover to opposite sides of the bed, 4) argue with myself about picking up my phone, 5) grab my phone, 6) and scroll through my Facebook feed, then Twitter, then the news, back to Twitter in case I missed something crazy, then maybe Pinterest to put my mind at ease. I grab my phone when I wake up at 2:30 a.m. First thing in the morning, I repeat the process and begin hourly check-ins throughout the day.
The first step in an addiction process is acknowledging the addiction, so here goes – I am addicted to news, especially information that I agree with on social media. I am embarrassed by that and angry again. And I don’t know what to do about it. Deep breath and give myself some grace. I am sure it is pretty darn normal right now. But I don’t want it anymore.
Today I decided to bring the weight of this to a coach. We are working together through a reciprocal coaching program. (Gwyn, you were a blessing today.) I dumped the mess on her. She helped me untangle the knots in my gut and all of the different parts of the chaos.
The first knot – “Covid sucks.” I have lost a lot during this time. Most of us have lost. But minimizing our PAIN because someone else is hurting does not help anyone. Stepping over the emotions does nothing good. I know this, but I keep doing it. “It’s okay, no big deal.” That is not true. I chose to sit in the emotions again today and feel them. Let them roll around and work there way out. Emotions are messages. We need to listen, learn, and let go. Often more than once. So, I did. I had tears for my mom, my daughter, my love, and me.
The second knot – I am ANGRY. Those who deny the science won’t wear a mask, won’t stay home, and won’t take safety precautions to get rid of this virus tick me off. I sat with that emotion too.
The third knot – I am AFRAID. Afraid to disagree with so many of my family members and friends who feel differently. Who post on social media hateful or malicious comments and memes aimed at people who believe differently. I say nothing out of fear for our connection. Or that they will think badly of me. My desire to please others and be the “good girl.” I had to breathe through this feeling for a while.
I know that it is more important to be my BEST SELF than the good girl image I have tried to build and maintain. I am learning to do that by saying what I believe, standing for it, and acting. I will keep an open mind and heart to learn. I will admit when I am wrong.
But I am overwhelmed. Breathe.
The final knot – I don’t need to do it all or take it all in. It is okay to pick my family, friends, and tribe. To surround myself with those who warm my heart and feed my soul. I don’t need to include everyone. I get to choose—what a glorious feeling. So, I am done. I am taking a break. I will bolster my tribe and prepare for future learning. Fall and winter are for nesting after all.
I committed to making changes now, as you do with coaching. I deleted my personal Twitter account right after I hung up. I deleted my news apps on my phone. I replied to an angry message on Facebook that was weighing on me. Then I unfollowed the person. These actions are the right thing for me today.
I want to leave you with two things – spending time with a coach is about self-discovery and moving forward. For months or one call. Whatever you need.
And if you want to know more about doomscrolling, I found the following articles. I’ll start a support group if you need it – just let me know. I’ll set up zoom, we can order food, put on good music, and lock our phones. ;)
“Your 'Doomscrolling' Breeds Anxiety. Here's How To Stop The Cycle.” NPR, Lulu Garcia-Navarro
“Doomscrolling Is Slowly Eroding Your Mental Health” Wired, Angela Watercutter
“Doomscrolling’ During COVID-19: What It Does to You and How You Can Avoid It” Healthline, by Christopher Curley