Losing reality

Elly_NJ(NJ z6)July 20, 2013

You may have noticed that I post less and less here. The news I read has depressed me. There is no good news. I'm tired of the fires, the drought, the killings, the bloated politicians, the neglect of the economy and the mistreatment of life on this planet- humans and otherwise.

Honestly, at this point all I watch is The Walking Dead, Orphan Black, Breaking Bad...none of the dark shows I watch are as bleak as our current state. For relief I watch New Girl, Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. And I love So You Think You Can Dance and Project Runway.

I know I should be reading.

What do you do to "get away" from reality?

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Post on Hot Topics? Just kidding.

I'm pretty much a news junkie, and I do try to read at least one novel a week. But I also love Project runway and most shows on the Food Channel or HGTV (Property Brothers are yummy!), PBS shows, Call the Midwife, and many others. Yes, the news is often grim, but that's what life is most of the time.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

I don't need More Grim.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:02AM
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I concur... our world IS depressing, and it becomes more so as time passes. There's a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, of dejection and despair when one takes in the bigger picture of reality. If you let it get to you, it can take you on a downward slide into depression.

I live one day at a time. And I gain a good balance by reading, mostly fiction... by gardening and working with my houseplants... by engaging in some of my favorite crafting hobbies, like beading... by watching good movies, like James Bond or other action films... by interacting with my dogs and the other animals here, including horses and goats, barn cats and other dogs... but most importantly, by engaging with my family, my husband and children, my grandchildren, our friends... and I even enjoy the solitude of walking through the gardens, taking pictures of the various landscapes and individual flowers, watching birds, listening to the sounds of nature... and at night, by looking up at the stars, and just wondering about a lot of things.

I find it helps to gain perspective by coming here to see what the opinions and ideas of others are, and because I like the majority of people here. It's a good group.

I try not to let the world's problems settle on my shoulders. I do what I can to help, and leave most of it in the hands of karma...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:02AM
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The partisan politicing on all of the issues you listed, and more is what doesn't interest me.

Gardening is my first choice option for getting away from what passes for reality. I am taking an online class about Global Warming and Public Health to occupy my brain with thoughts of something other than political factions, although political nonsense was covered briefly. Other than that, just the usual general interest reading online and books, art, crafts, repainting the house, repairing the concrete steps, and other summer things.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:05AM
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I do things that are fun and relieve stress. I get out on on the water most every day from ice out, to first ice, workout frequently, participate in sports, ride motorcycles, cruise etc.

I see bad stuff on pretty much a daily basis.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:11AM
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"Weltschmerz" claims another victim in elly. Seriously, it's another fabulous word the German language is famous for and couldn't be more descriptive of being bogged down by the world and its affairs.

I don't read as much as I should. I garden and putter in the gardens and perfect my long since gone father's art of rake leaning in the gardens. I casually go through the house to pare down on all the now "burdensome" things I acquired on my own or inherited and thought I'd store away for a rainy day. That rainy day has come and gone.

I'll admit to liking jigsaw puzzles - don't buy them anymore, but stumbled on a great site for free puzzles. If interested look at the link for puzzle of the day and an archive of thousands. Nothing to join or be timed against others; good for killing even more time while on the web...

Here is a link that might be useful: free jigsaw puzzles site

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:38AM
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Yes, Elly, I know.

I used to know just about every senator and congressman, starting back in the 80s. My grandmother was a politics junkie and I spent a lot of time with her--I remember being glued to the television during Chappaquiddick, and then the conventions every four years.

About eight years ago, after the 2004 election and all of the acrimony, I backed off watching and reading so much, and these past two years I seldom even turn on the news on television. Mornings are quiet now, no television until late in the afternoon on most days.

I can tell you that I am much happier not knowing the names of every senator (although I still do more than most people I know) and proposed bill. I read enough, and update on the internet enough, and talk with several friends regularly that are the news and political junkies I used to be so I stay informed enough.

As far as getting away from reality, I choose not to try not to worry about something I cannot change or help. I used to--I'd wake up and empathize with the parents of a murdered child, I'd put myself in the place of a person locked in the trunk, I'd talk about, get upset. I'd spend half a day feeling bad for a dead raccoon on the side of the road.

You know what? It didn't help, and it was stealing precious, precious moments from my life and more important--from the lives of people who had to listen to me complain about bad thing, about politics, whatever. I now feel so guilty about that. No one wants to hear someone complain about how bad things are, even if they are.

After DH died and I spent almost three years privately wrestling and concentrating on what was lost, or not right with life, instead of what had been right and what was right now, and could be. World and local events still affect me the same way; the difference is I now just refuse to dwell on them and find other thoughts and activities, which is what you asked.

I step out in the mornings to enjoy nature--soil, flowers, trees, water, fresh air, heat, cold, wind, rain.
I also, if I have time and I happen to be here at the house that day, do the same thing about 1 o'clock pm. It's quiet, the time of the day just feels special. Same right about sunset. Of course there are days that I don't get to do that at all, but nature if a very important part of my life and a great stress reliever. Stopping to consider a flower, watch ants go about their duties, or enjoy the breeze across my skin makes me feel one with the universe and reminds me of a greater plan, no matter how depressing and sad the events around us are.

I exercise, which I think is very important to avoid depression and stress. Weight training twice a week, zumba twice a week, walks, boxing with my punching bag in the garage, a little pilates/yoga/stretching, all clear the mind and help the mind to stay positive.

I like to do things for other people and that gives me a sense of control to balance the negative around me. I might not be able to stop someone from kidnapping a child today, but I can help a family with a sick child, I can tell a little girl in the store whose mother is fussing at her that she is pretty or smile, I can pick up an elderly friend and drive her to town to lunch, to get new shoes, to run errands, I can help a friend plan a party and give advice about her young son. I can cook for people that are sick or injured. These are not very important things to many people and certainly years ago I would have rolled my eyes because there were more important things for me to do with my life, in my estimation. However, the smallest job on earth is still important. It helps to know you can balance with good, and teach others that there is good in life and that there are people that care.

Music feeds my soul, listening and playing.

I also like to eat potato chips and drink Cokes when things get really bad but that's something I avoid doing if possible.

I also talk with and spend time with a lot of friends and they can help us and we can help them when we're down. When life gets overwhelming I tend to contact the more upbeat friends, which usually I am too. It's a terrible thing to say but there are some people that you just can't help and will bring you down constantly with their mood no matter your efforts. I guess you can say proactively, in situations like you describe, I avoid several friends that are Debbie Downers that constantly complain that the world is terrible, people are terrible, everyone is bad, nothing is good, nothing is fair, nothing is going to work out, the future is bleak. I just get sick and aggravated typing it.

We have it so good here and life is so rich, you just have to realize it is not going to be perfect, the bad comes with the good. It is that very fact that makes life precious.

If everything in life was perfect and there were no problems, what would be the point? The good things in life would not be special or fleeting, and therefore not precious. When we consider the obstacles that people have overcome in their lives, it truly is life affirming and can uplift your spirits.

Aside from the bad in life, the good is there--in people, in the world, in our past, our present and our future. It's everywhere if we embrace it.

I wish for you peace in your soul.
Your friends animals love you and appreciate you.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 10:02AM
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What wonderful thoughts Demi!
A very beautiful post- thank you.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 10:36AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Music, gardening, and right now, the Tour de France!

Find something that makes your heart sing. Chances are, that won't be found on tv-with the exception of the Tour! ;)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:11AM
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gmatx zone 6

Wow Demi....what an absolutely beautiful posting. Truly uplifting. While you and I are on different sides of the aisle on most issues, I agree with everything you said. I give you a tremendous round of applause and acknowledgement of appreciation for your insight, encouragement and inspiration in your posting. Sometimes all of us need to stop and take another look at what shapes our lives and outlook and how we possibly can change some of those things. Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Ditto what others said Demi ... :)

I read and play puzzles and enjoy walking.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:44AM
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To escape reality I run along the river, go to the gym, read spy thrillers and political junky books with the occasional trashy historical romance thrown in for good measure.

I watch golf which is the most relaxing tv there is for me (except when Tiger swears after a poor hit which he did on the second hole this morning.- can't stand the guy and if he's winning I turn off the tv because his behaviour gets my blood pressure up). I watch less and less tv because of the crap on it and I'm afraid of getting to vested in a show knowing it will probably be cancelled. But I love and lose myself in NCIS, Bones, Perception, Crossing Lines, and all things Star Trek.

I have raised two news junkies and although many of our discussions are based 'in reality' they bring a great breath-of-fresh-air young persons perspective to the discussion. One of my favourite times of the week is to talk with my sons.

I go for walks with my nieces and their very young children and again, what a joy to spend time with them and watch them develop into wonderful, caring, interesting young women. One has an 18 month old and the other has a 3 month old and spending time with the innocence of babies definitely has recuperative powers for the stresses of life.

I have a low-key quiet but personally fulfilling social life - coffee with girlfriends, running partners, dinner with my husband and friends. They are not political unless hockey is considered a political party and, actually in Canada, it probably is and creates bigger headlines than any economic or political story.

Truth is my own reality is pretty privileged. I don;t mean money wise but in terms of health, family, safety, love, support, - is it perfect? - no, but it's perfect for me.

demi - thanks for sharing a part of you - a beautiful read.

markjames - I hope you find and see good stuff on a daily basis as well.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:04PM
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Great post demi.
I'm from the Will Rogers school of thought. " A man is as happy as he chooses to be." And I just choose to be happy. I've reached an age where I'm content with who I am. I garden, I read, I'm a political junkie, I paint, the grandson that I am raising makes me feel young. I love cheering him on at basketball games and baseball games, and get so excited whether they win or lose.

My sisters and I get together and laugh at and with one another. I have a best friend who is my confidant, we can talk mopheads and doggies and have a perfectly good time. If I could change one thing about my life...I wouldn't.

And though we get hot and divisive on most threads on this forum. There are actually times when I like each and every one of you.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:04PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I am with althea , Summer time is my garden fun time. I have a group of friends that we do a lot of cookouts, shopping for plants and talking plants, talk about personal life and political issues, travel etc. It is not hard to discuss HT with like educated, social economic and people in the same region with similar life experience as yourself. The disagreements are actually fun.

I try to live a full and happy life and can understand how HT here could disrupt your life if you get to much of this divisiveness. So I understand Elly.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Demi, I'm coming over now! :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 5:09PM
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I'm more of a skeptic, critical of the world around me... but I'd much rather look at it all through the eyes of truth and reality, and see it for what it is... than view it through the clouded tint of rose colored glasses, or pretend that none of its problems exist.

Our world is what it is... it is what we, humankind, have made of it.

All is not lost, though... we CAN change it. Everything begins with "me", in a local sense.

"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me..."

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 5:24PM
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"Honestly, at this point all I watch is The Walking Dead, Orphan Black, Breaking Bad...none of the dark shows I watch are as bleak as our current state. "

I LOVE The Walking Dead too, so you and I are watching it *together* when it's on. You can be my TWD Hot Topics buddy. :-)

TWD is apocalyptic and I don't think reality is anywhere near that bad. Reality is generally good, as is life.

Hey, if you like apocalyptic movies, try "The Road", but only if you don't mind the fact that Cormac McCarthy NEVER ever resolves any story. Nor does he provide any factual background on how the conditions arose (although I have a theory), but it was still a rather engaging movie in a dreary, yet ultimately hopeful, sort of way...if you like that kind of thing (I do, which is weird because I'm such a freakin' optimist about life in general).

For entertainment I have a playstation and love to play games, especially shooter and strategy games (and I've never had the urge to kill anyone in real life). I also like to do research for fun, especially genealogy but also anything to do with statistics. Pretty boring.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:13PM
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I still work full time, so I don't have time to dwell on negatives too much. I used to want to know more of what's behind the news, rather than just the news itself-

Most of the pundits and columnists just repeat themselves, rarely is there real thinking going on- or problem solving.

I try to keep up with the news, mainly to see how it's 'projecting' itself. National Public Radio/ Television is pretty tame - but most national news is worse. So if it gets me down I turn it off, or listen or read something more honest.

The New York Review of Books, the U.K. Guardian, I find fascinating and not down at all. Bill Moyers always seems more uplifting than "Democracy Now!":- I wish Amy Goodman would smile more!

I haven't followed the Tour De France very closely this year, - haven't had the time and the doping fracas of the past has sort of jaded me, but really, what a sport-- or endeavor! Unbelievable endurance, tactics and scenery!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:09AM
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I too find news events recently to be terribly depressing. Tornadoes , floods, droughts, deaths, terrorist attacks,massacre of little kids, ...I never turn TV on during the day. I check the news online to make sure I'm not missing something important . Actually found on Facebook that there was a danger last night of an oil tank a few miles away exploding from a lightning strike. People were evacuated but not us and all is well today. I read books on the best seller list, about two a week, garden when it's NOT 100 degrees like it's been for a week, watch TV, go to the gym, and walk the dogs . Dogs and I walk every day regardless which accounted for our midnight walks in the heat this week. Daughter doesn't want me to, but it was kinda peaceful walking in a town that was asleep.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:01AM
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We get depressed by the grim global news - imagine the people (relatively few in reality, thankfully) who live it. It is so beyond the pale that we can't imagine it, and so we tout our depression about instead. I think it's a form of subconscious guilt, or "survivor" guilt.

Focussing on news also tends to bring the mis-impression that there is nothing an individual can do to change the overall grim picture. Except that it's an illusion, the overall picture is far more complex - sublime even. We all have a part, do we not?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 7:34AM
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markjames - I hope you find and see good stuff on a daily basis as well.

Most days I do, however I often have to create the good stuff.

Due to the nature of my work I'm swamped with other people's financial, mechanical and personal problems.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:01AM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

alexr, I work full time too. Not sure how that would assuage the impact of bad news.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:52AM
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I hear ya, Elly. I find my escapes in many of the ways demi described: just walking around the city down to the rivers, noting the flaming oleanders in brilliant bloom, or discovering yet another tropical flower or bush I'd never seen before. I listen to my classical music collection while writing in my journal, evenings, with a glass of wine.

Simple pleasures: reading,exercise, meditation, walking, riding my bicycle. I go to city art galleries and museums. I do believe wisdom comes with aging. As much as I complain about America and wish I had returned to Europe to live, I am so grateful to have been born in this country.

I watch very little television. Once in a while, I enjoy the camaraderie and laughs on cooking shows like "The Chew", and Whoopi on "The View."

I used to obsess a lot about all the tragedy and stupidity in the world, but decided it was a waste of time. Now, I take pen to paper and write out my thoughts and feelings in my journal or in what I call "meditations." I can only try to bloom where I was planted, in my microcosm of the planet.

"Be the change you wish to see."

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:43AM
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I watch news and read the papers which are full of things not pleasant. I just don't dwell on that stuff. There is way too much else to occupy my mind. I market garden, breed gold fish, take care of the animals, and cut a lot of wood. My shooting sports takes my mind off things and is relaxing. Reloading and shooting requires concentration and research, no time to be thinking depressing thoughts.Attending the produce auctions, even when the prices I receive are depressed is a uplifting experience, all that beautiful food!! Life is just too full of good things to allow oneself to dwell on the ugliness.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:06AM
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elly, I guess I meant, that when I'm working I'm so focused on my work that it takes me out of any thoughts I might usually have that are depressing. Then on the commute train, I am usually reading a book, or just observing the various other unique Bart riders and wondering about their lives a bit.

This morning, on the radio, NPR; there was an interview with a woman firefighter. They spoke about having to deal with loss and tragedy with a sense of wisdom and purpose.. That sense of purpose and wisdom rubs off on me a little and helps me make it through my day.

When Obama says something off script and funny or with a certain amount of candor (as he did the other day concerning Trevor Martin, or last month when he dropped the comment about Snowden's story likely becoming the movie of the week)- I am somewhat refreshed and blessed that their is a human in the White House. Because I too am so worn with politics as usual.

Mindless t.v. helps for about 20 minutes for me. I suppose it's like someone coming home and having a martini .... then I have to get out or call someone.

Being bombarded with bad news also just shell shocks me because I can't recognize the help and problem solving that might be going on in the background. I try to put it in a historical context.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:25AM
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So sorry you're feeling down, Elly. Depression is triggered by loss. Loss of people, pets, health, places, things, situations, hope, etc.

If I recall correctly, you got through a job loss or severe reduction in hours and income a while back. And it went on for quite a while. Whatever it is that's getting to you today (and it's not always obvious or easy to figure out) you are obviously a strong person. Hang in there and remember you landed on your feet before. What helped you then?

You work with animals, right? Is there some way you could share your love of animals with folks who could use some TLC? I once worked in an alternative school where students were taken to an animal shelter to walk the dogs and care for the other animals. It was good for everybody. If you don't have something like that in your community, it might be something worth looking into. Maybe you could help start a program like that.

Here's an article that caught my attention yesterday from the Oregonian. Looks like something someone with your experience and compassion might be really good at doing. I read the article and thought to myself "What a wonderful idea!" It was especially meaningful to me because my 18 year old cat has bone cancer and we will have to say good bye to him very soon. I'm hoping to have the vet come to my home to euthanize him when it's time. I don't want him stressed by that last trip to the vet.

I'll bet there are lots of people who would be happy to pay someone to make dignified arrangements for their beloved pets. Is this a service that's already available in your community? Let me know what you think about the article.

Here is a link that might be useful: helping pet owners with loss

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Very, very nice elly and demi.

Dawn is my favorite time of day. I just love to sit in the quiet peace and admire nature. Try to ID birds by their songs and calls. Gardening is my therapy, it feeds my soul.

Learning new things is fun. Mostly science type stuff (like plants communicating) and how the human body functions. Facinating stuff. Gets me giddy.

I raise black swallowtail butterflies and I think I'm in over my head this year. I may have to start foraging for food for all these cats!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:38PM
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