Are You Feeling Uncomfortable?
It’s been a heavy few weeks for us all, hasn’t it? Social media has been extra intense, the lines between opinions and facts blurring. It’s difficult to know what to think, where to draw lines, when to talk, how to react. It’s an uncomfortable time. But that’s all it is for a lot of us – uncomfortable. As we sit here in general safety, giving our opinions, virtue-signalling, feeling discomfort, we are not experiencing the true horror of war, of death, of survival.
I have, in the past, suggested for people to take breaks from social media if it’s affecting your mental health. I have suggested not watching the news for similar reasons. And while this is good practice, it is not the same as choosing to opt out because you feel uncomfortable. The discomfort we’re all feeling isn’t a personal mental health issue, it’s a subconscious understanding of reality – while people are being slaughtered elsewhere, we exist here, freely, and most of us (myself included) feel discomfort because we can choose whether to care about it or not. We don’t have to deal with the emotional fallout because it is not affecting us or our loved ones directly.
And so, as I sit here this evening writing, I wonder about this. The truth is, anyone who lives in our Western countries has this privilege of choice. WE can choose whether to care or not, whether to educate ourselves on what’s going on, whether to try and support or not. None of us have to, which isn’t the reality for the countless people caught up in the conflict of Gaza. We’re privileged in that, if we don’t want to know about what’s going on, we don’t have to.
So, as for social media breaks for mental health, I think we all have, at the very least, a moral obligation to stay in tune, stay informed, and ensure that what’s happening now doesn’t get lost in an ever-turning news cycle. Because our discomfort is not more important than the lives of innocent people. Taking a break for your mental health is vastly different to tuning out because you feel uncomfortable.
This isn’t a place where I often talk about politics, and I’m not going to get into it now either. But in the context of mental health, choosing not to be informed about what’s going on right now is a privilege, and so conveniently taking a mental health break now feels problematic (and you know I hate that word).
I also write a Substack