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Casey Mullins of moosh in indy is widely known for her unintentional authenticity and honesty on topics ranging from antenatal depression, parenting, pregnancy, and nipple hair. Her ability to relate to others through difficult feelings, situations, emotions and experiences earned her the #19 spot on Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers last year. As the mom of two little girls, Addie, born in 2004, and Vivi, born in 2011, Casey finds some of her greatest inspiration, hope, fodder, and embarrassment courtesy of these two wild and precious little people. More than anything, Casey believes in the healing properties of sunshine, the power of naps, the wonder of babies, the magic of birthday cake, and the pure awesome that are cats.

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Triggers and the Media: Why I Don’t Watch the News

By caseymullins |

Flowers in the gardenI was pregnant with my second baby when I watched a video of a van running over and through a street full of people in Egypt.

I can still remember the screams and the sound of bodies as they hit the front of the van and rolled under the tires. I can remember exactly what Saddam Hussein’s face looked like as he died at the end of a rope. I can recall the grainy security footage from the Trolley Square shooting as though it happened yesterday and I still remember exactly where I was when the twin towers fell and Columbine was no longer just the name of a flower.

When the news came on this morning about Aurora, Colorado I left the room. The rough cell phone camera footage, the panic and the screams let me know that it was not something I wanted to hang around and listen to. My dad gets angry with me that I turn away from it, but he doesn’t understand what it does to me. I internalize visual terror and it rots me from the inside out, pulverizing my heart and tricking my brain into horrible scenarios.

I used to watch Law and Order SVU loyally. It wasn’t until I began fantasizing ways of killing my family and getting away with it that I realized I needed to find a new show (and a new medication.) I do not watch rated R movies and sometimes even PG-13 is too much for me. I do not watch violent television shows and I most certainly do not watch the news. It is not that I’m a naive prude, it is that my brain just cannot process violence and terror. If I were to eat a bad cheeseburger my body would find a way to expel the rotten food from my body, it wouldn’t be pretty, but after about 48 hours it would be gone. My brain works in pictures and sounds but unlike my stomach, once a visual or sound is internalized? There is no way to flush it out. There is no way to unsee what I’ve seen, so I’ve found the best way to keep my brain free and clear of violence? Is to avoid it, which is as simple as turning off the TV, closing a book or shutting down my computer.

Yes, I want to know what is going on with the world. But rather than knowing everything that is going wrong with it, I want to know how I can help. I want to use my talents for furthering the good and drowning out the evil. I want to use my voice to amplify the stories of courage, heroism and lives well lived, not continue the same rhetoric of violence and ill. What happened last night is unfathomable, and now is the time we must find whatever good we can in society, use it to lift others and squeeze it until it squeaks.

I heard there were young children killed and injured in Colorado, but the way I see it, they were all children. At one time a parent rocked every single person who died last night through teething, growing pains and colic. Losing a human at any age is terrible, whether the child is three months or 30 years. Death has a far reaching, and painful ripple effect, one I have experienced and found my own way of working through. Tragedies like the one in Colorado make the process of mourning even more complex for the thousands of people knit together by the unspeakable.

I cannot, and do not watch the news. While I discuss with my children that horrible things can and do happen, there is no need for them to know what death looks like, or hear what terror and fear sound like. What may be entertainment or informative to some can be damaging and far reaching to others. Respect those around you who may be especially sensitive to visual or emotional stimuli, especially regarding your children.

If you find yourself struggling and internalizing bad news, violence or tragic events – take a step back. Make your home a safe and quiet place from all the noise and anger that is out in the world. Violence in movies and sensationalized news stories can be triggers, and many times people don’t even realize that it is the influence of the media that is causing them a deep sense of sadness and hopelessness.

 

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About caseymullins

caseymullins

caseymullins

Casey Mullins is a writer, photographer, and nice person living in Indianapolis with her two little girls, husband, and a one eyed cat. She writes regularly at her personal blog moosh in indy and can be found trolling local bakeries and napping whenever possible. Read bio and latest posts → Read Casey's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “Triggers and the Media: Why I Don’t Watch the News

  1. Tsh Oxenreider says:

    Amen, Casey! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  2. crystal says:

    I watched a little bit of it last night just b/c I was exhausted and my husband had it on. I was disgusted at the media and their remarks and questions during interviews. These are PEOPLE –like you said, someone’s ‘baby’– NOT some juicy tidbit with which to further your own career. And viewers eat it up because it’s “exciting” or whatever. Just sick. I don’t watch the news, either.

  3. S. says:

    Wow, someone else who is just.like.me. about the news. Glad to read your words on this, as I don’t think my hubby understands why I cannot and do not watch any violence.

  4. AMY says:

    There is a lot of truth in this that can be related to other aspects of life.
    For these same reasons, I can’t watch sad movies.
    I hear ya, Casey

  5. ciaran says:

    Right there with you. I am the same way. There is no brain cleanse on the market. I avoid violent and sad films like I avoid wheat, knowing what it does to me. It’s not that I don’t want to know what is going on, but I don’t see the point of internalizing something awful via imagery for all of eternity. Images and film do that to me too. But I think for other people it’s not the same. I think they have, or are trying for a bit of a inoculation effect. Small doses make them more immune. I just wonder if immunity really is better than having an allergic reaction, when it comes to violence!

  6. Kelly says:

    I’m sooo with you on this one. I can’t unsee scary things and like you they stay stuck in my brain and then I find myself feeling super paranoid and over anxious. I don’t watch the news and I’ve always felt a little bit bad about it, like I’m not being a real grown up because grown ups know what’s going on. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I don’t (can’t) watch scary movies or TV shows and I even have my husband change the channel or mute it when there are previews on for them because even that is too much sometimes.

  7. Roberta says:

    I’m right with you. I guess I don’t think my life is going to be improved or that I’m going to be enlightened by reading or watching an account of something horrific. I always regret reading/watching, and just feel sickened, sometimes for days. We’re bombarded daily, hourly by so much awfulness from all over the world; years ago, we’d never have heard about these things, because we didn’t have such lightning-fast media/communications/dispersal. I’m not sure any human is psychologically equipped to handle this stuff. I don’t think it’s bad to tune it out – I think it’s necessary, in fact.

  8. Lori Anderson says:

    Thanks for writing this. This is how I have felt about the news for a long time. I quit watching the news a few years ago and have to say that I have not missed it a bit. I watch occasionally, but end up turning it off once the weather report is over. I just can’t stomach it anymore! I was also finding myself being dragged down by the daily deluge of evil. So some may think I come across as not caring or cold-hearted when things like the shootings this last weekend happen. The truth is, I don’t talk about it much or watch the news on it much because I don’t want to get too caught up in the grief of it because it is not good for me emotionally. So glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

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