How do you react when you first learn about horrific events in the news such as this week’s bomb attacks at the finish line of the Boston Marathon?
Do you find yourself retreating?
Or do you find the opposite to be true and immediately turn to social media or others for additional information or support?
When I first learned of this horrible act of violence, I was busily tweeting away about the BRCA1 and 2 Gene Patent Case which was finally making its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Then I saw that first tweet about the bombings pass through the Twitter feed. It was merely minutes after the bombings had occurred – so swift, so incredibly soon.
After that first tweet, of course, many more immediately followed. The questioning, the seeking of more additional information and the speculating quickly began.
My reaction was quick as well.
I immediately stopped tweeting, while also perhaps selfishly realizing, that the gene patent Supreme Court hearings of that day would most definitely not be (and rightfully so) a prime time news story, or any story at all that day, nor any day soon.
The next thing I realized was that reading heart-wrenching tweets about such a tragic event entangled with other tweets, many about insignificant matters, suddenly felt very strange and then down-right impossible for me to do.
After a period of time, my reaction was to step away.
That was my reaction on December 14th as well; the day we all learned of the brutal shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That day, too, after a time I turned off all social media. I turned off my computer. I “turned off interaction” with others, perhaps attempting to separate myself from the noise and heartache of it all.
This is my pattern. When I learn about disturbing news and have absorbed what I can, I pull back. I retreat for a time.
Though not at all the same thing or anywhere even remotely close to the same magnitude, I realize this was also true the day I learned I had cancer. I’m certainly not comparing the situations, but rather my reaction to them.
The day I learned of my diagnosis I was okay with, perhaps even preferred, to be alone with the quiet for a time. I needed to absorb and process by myself first.
I’m certainly not saying this is the right way, but it does seem to be my way.
I’m writing about this because it’s something worth thinking about. It’s perhaps important to think about how you initially handle highly distressing news of any kind. At the very least, it’s perhaps thought-provoking to reflect a bit on how you react or do not react. It’s helpful, or might be, to figure out what coping mechanisms work best for you.
Do you retreat for a period of time (like I seem to do) when you learn of horrible news? Or do you tend to do the exact opposite and immediately turn outward to as many others as you possibly can?
It seems I prefer the quiet.
What about you?