Turn Down The Volume On The World When You Need To


There’s too much noise in the world these days. Some of it is the constant stream of news reporting on the latest attack on justice and civil liberties by the current administration, some of it is the raised voices of people protesting the encroachment of an increasingly fascist government, and some of it is just people yelling nonsense. The attack is overwhelming, nonstop, relentless. I get sensory overload just thinking about it.

I thought that I could deal with it, but it’s a lie. Earlier this year I began to withdraw from social media precisely because the noise was too much to deal with. A month ago I all but left Facebook because the noise was too much. Although each time I have decreased the amount of noise I deal with, it hasn’t been enough, as evidenced by the stress and anger I’ve been dealing with. I need to do more.

My problem is that I feel guilty about shutting everything out. There are legitimate atrocities being committed in my country, and while I may not be able to do anything about them directly, being informed is something I can do. People are losing their rights and liberties, I at least have to be aware of it so that the injustice doesn’t go unnoticed! These victims don’t have the luxury of shutting off the world to recharge, so why should I?

The quote above is by Warren Ellis. He tends to close his newsletters with a little motivational message, and this is the one for this week. I found that it spoke to me directly, telling me what I needed to hear right now. I’m breaking the message into five statements and writing on how each of them spoke to me, and how I want to improve my situation as a result.

Much like with the oxygen mask example, it all comes down to taking care of myself in the short term so that I can help others and continue on for longer. I’m no help to anyone in the emotional state I’ve been, and in order to reset, to recharge, I do need to shut down the world for a little while. What that looks like changes, but I can tell you that it does mean an even greater decrease in social media use, along with a week-long vacation coming up in July.

The great thing if the volume dial analogy is that you can turn down the volume on the world as much as you need to, from just a couple notches when needed this or that day, all the way to zero if that’s what it takes. Then you can dial it back up in increments once you’re in a better space.

I’m looking forward to some silence, if only for a little while.

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