I recently decided to take a break from Facebook, and only stalk certain people on Twitter. This was, in large part, for the sake of my sanity because the news of what Donald Trump is doing to this nation is anxiety-provoking enough without the added filtering of real news vs. news “based on a true story”. Conservatives have more out-right fake news (Ex. “Donald Trump won the popular vote”, “Voter Fraud is a huge problem”, “Climate Change isn’t real”, “Vaccines cause autism” etc). But Liberals are almost worse because their news is often based on a true news story but then they sneak some falsehoods in or stretch the truth. It’s like when I looked up the story behind Texas Chainsaw Massacre that was supposedly “based on a true story” and found it was merely “inspired by” a serial killer in Wisconsin who didn’t even use a chainsaw, and wasn’t part of a supportive cannibalistic family/community. In fact, the 2 parts based on truths were, he lived on a farm and he did have a mask made of human skin (as well as some furniture and other clothing). Likewise, I have read stories like “Donald Trump removed LGBTQ page from White House website immediately after taking office”. That was based on a truth- the LGBTQ site and all the other sites from Obama’s time in office were moved to an archive site to allow Trump to build his own site, as has been done since the White House had a website every time the POTUS changed, but it was not strategically removed/singled out as an attack on LGBTQ rights. The problem with stories like that is they dilute the effect of real news stories because it is hard to tell what is real and what we really need to fight against. I’m not saying the LGBTQ community should feel safe under the Trump administration at all, but that particular instance was not an attack on anyone.
Getting my news from NPR and other trusted, balanced news sites and ignoring social media news, I find myself less anxious. Not because I am becoming complacent or feel Trump’s actual actions are ok, but because I know what is real and what causes I need to fight for. Being anxious helps no one. Taking action, whether by donating, protesting, marching, writing/calling congress, or volunteering for at-risk programs and people, are the only ways to fight the loose cannon that is now POTUS.
I’m not necessarily saying we all need to quit using social media. If you have the energy to do the necessary fact-checking required to sift through fake news and “based on a true story” news to find the truth, keep going. For me and my mental health, I need a break.
To help you in finding reputable news sources, This graphic helps me. I recommend keeping away from partisan news, even if it is reputable for your sanity’s sake and to make you a better debater with opposing views. Try to aim for the grey circle.
And, if any of you reading this are fellow sufferers of mental illness and really just need a break from the news in general to keep your head above water, there is no shame in that. You have to take care of your own mental health before you can take action. Be in the present. It will take a while for orders from Washington DC to affect your day-to-day life, and a lot can happen to change or at least minimize the effects of those orders before then. So if you need to be absent from the political conversation completely because your mental health depends on it, please do. When you’re ready to join the fight and take action, you can start small.
End Note: Not all my posts will be political, but seeing as the leave from social media lent me time to write, I could not help but explain exactly why I had to leave social media behind for now.