We’re living in strange times in the world right now. Politicians seem hell bent on pitting everyone against each other and people are craving change from the old system. So much so that they are voting for things that you would never expect to happen or for people that you wouldn’t expect to be nominated, never mind elected.
Before I go on, this is not a political post. I won’t be extolling the virtues of one party or political way, or even two. The purpose of this post is to explore how current events affect people in their attitude and mental health.
There has been a rise in the past few years of intolerance in society against many different things and this has led to a more charged society. When I owned the cafe, I had people feel entitled to share racist, bigoted and quite unpalatable views, more than I have heard in the past in a polite situation. I’m not talking about your standard BNP stereotype, more older women and men who seem to think that the recent anti-immigration policy is a chance to air their views on ordinary people going about their lives.
There was one guy who said that the answer to the Middle East issues was to nuke them and he was being serious. He really thought that was a solution. The almost 80 year old who wanted the Turks to be sent back as they were ‘probably all involved in people trafficking’, again in full seriousness. The bitter female pensioner who ranted one day about immigrants to my staff, two of whom were sisters of Italian parentage, spoke 6 languages and one went on to work in human rights. Pity I wasn’t there as from there reaction to the sickening nature of this outburst, I would have asked her to leave and not return.
What makes people believe that this is reasonable behaviour to rant and vent in public against other humans? Is there something wrong in their lives that they think killing and deportation is the answer? Do they think that the world should be segregated?
I like to believe that I am a fair minded person and a thinker, trying to research events to see if what the story contains, rather than the editorial we are almost always fed by a media with a view to sell, a spin to promote. All this does contribute to people being under constant stress and some being permanently angry, disenfranchised as well as being constantly pissed off.
For me, it does get me down, a bit like the drip torture I mentioned in a previous post that overwhelms and contributes to my mood being low. We are in a state of near chaos politically and socially, something that I feel can’t possibly end well, with no real leader or person with sense in charge, anywhere. I’m still looking for a leader across the globe and not many stand out as states people worthy of the office they hold, yet there they are in the hot seat with the consent of the people.
Although I do keep up with news, I try not read newspapers or the big media online, although it is good to understand what propaganda is being spread, in this era where everyone is shouting ‘Fake News!’ at every publication. I have my views, my sources and follow them to keep up with events but too much can have my head reeling, my mood spiraling downwards, something I need to avoid.
I have tried to keep out of online ‘debates’, for want of a better expression. Usually, these exchanges start and end with people not listening or exploring, just trading escalating insults which is ridiculous. I have been the better for not engaging in these exchanges and has had a decent effect, as I don’t ruminate on those posts or the subject. Too many people are too ready to shout and close their ears, without engaging their brain. If they did, they might challenge their own ideas and beliefs, which should be a vital test in daily life on self improvement and intellectually ensuring that your beliefs stack up or not. I firmly believe that we should all do this but most don’t understand, simply picking a view then defending it with their lives.
Good mental health for me now means to avoid the conflict and drama, get on with the positives and try to see the good in the environment / people that some are determined to exploit, as well as alienate, discriminate against for a variety of reasons.
I can’t control change in others, only influence it and I can control what I do, manage the space around me through my actions to give my mental health the best chance of recovery and try to be happy.
Day to day, that’s all I can do for myself. An act of kindness and understanding for me, by me. Being kind to myself, finally.