Be Careful What You Watch: Are You Scaring Yourself From Living Life?

January 2, 2013  |  

I hate to admit this, but I’m sort of sensitive when it comes to heavy news stories.  I didn’t realize this about myself until my best friend from high school joined the Marines and was shipped off to Iraq during the war.  She spent two years in Fallujah, in the heart of the action.  Her Army-enlisted brother was in Afghanistan and so was my oldest sister.  I used to love watching the news, but whenever they would reveal names of people who died overseas my heart would drop every time.  It just became too much, so I stopped watching the news.  When they all came back I decided to start back keeping abreast of what was going on in the world.  But then it just seemed like there were so many news stories of how horrible people are.  People killing and beating children, racially motivated crimes, men setting their ex-girlfriends on fire.  Just thinking about it all, even now, has me feeling extremely tense and there’s a vein in my eyelid that is pulsating right now.  It’s just too much.

During spring semester of my final year of college, a year after the Virginia Tech shooting happened, I was zoning out in my dorm watching E! when they did this program:  “Going Postal:  15 Shocking Acts of Violence.”  Now, for someone who is so sensitive to these things, I still don’t know why I watched it.  I like to contribute my viewing to the fact that it was in list order, because for some reason, I love watching countdown shows, I don’t know why, but I do.  So I laid in my bed watching as they counted down from one senseless act after another.  By the end I was sitting full upright on my bed, eyes wide and I think I was even sweating.  After they revealed that number one was the VT shooting I became even more paranoid.

Before the Virginia Tech tragedy, if I was in a library and someone came in wearing a black trench coat, I would immediately leave.  But after that if I was in a class and someone opened the door to peek in to see if the class was still in, I would get so mentally freaked out.  Silently praying while simultaneously planning my escape route if something happened.  One of my friends finally called me on my paranoia, and in a hushed tone, I whispered to her about how ridiculous people had gotten.  I told her story after story from the countdown, like the guy who drove his truck through a McDonald’s and just started shooting people, or the guy who began shooting in a mall, and the “Barbie and Ken” couple that would kidnap young girls, rape them, and then kill them.  My friend had a look of worry on her face, not because of all of the sickos out there, but for me.  She became worried that I allowing my fear to invade my normal life, and she was right, it had.  Everyone became potential murders, stalkers, pyrotechnics that wanted to try lighting someone on fire.

Things didn’t help when I came across the show “I Survived,” and saw how many people were betrayed by people they knew.  A guy dated a girl for over a year just to satisfy his urge to kill someone close to him, or the lady who was raped and stabbed multiple times by her neighbor’s 16 year old son.

I finally decided that my friend was right.  My fear was beginning to consume me.  I wouldn’t allow myself to fully enjoy a place I was until I could spot where all the escape exits were, and while I smiled and laughed with my friends my mind continued to go over the contingency escape plans in case someone comes in with malicious intent.   I began to avoid watching anymore “tragic” countdown shows, avoided “I Survived,” and I was beginning to feel more comfortable …until Sandy Hook.

Being a mother, that was difficult to watch and understand how something like that can happen.  I feel like I can’t discuss it, but from that moment my old fears not only came back, but heightened because it was no longer my life on the line, it was my child’s.  It wasn’t until I began to realize that keeping my daughter in the house everyday wouldn’t be good for her.  I’m not saying that I’m fully over everything, but I decided that I couldn’t let my fear stop me from living my life, or from my daughter living hers.  As people in the world continue to prove that there should be a mental ward on each street corner, I ask that you continue to live and enjoy your life, but always be careful.  Also, be careful with what you mentally feed yourself, because that could compound your fears as well.

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  • AfricanBambi

    i absolutely LOVE this! Because you are saying everything i felt or still feel…but i agree with the commenters that you must strengthen your relationship with the Lord and understand he will protect you through everything. The closer you get to the Lord the easier each day will me. But i can totally relate to this article…i thought no one else felt this way but me.

  • pickneychile

    I realized as I get closer to God, I can’t tolerate a lot of the stuff I once could. This includes anything from vulgarity, to certain movies, to the news. These days news reporters are nothing but prophets of doom. I don’t want to put garbage in my head because I don’t want to be living in fear, so I’d rather not even hear it/watch it.

  • Monica

    Very good article the word of God does say that we are to think on all lovely things, Phil 4: 8 and studies have shown that mentally and emotionally the worst thing to do is go to bed at night after watching the news, we all know we rarely see anything positive on the media I myself couldn’t even watch the coverage on sandy hook, I choose to just pray. God Bless you and your family. a

  • Meyaka

    I watched the investigation discovery channel,nuff said.


  • Tantan78

    That “I Survived” show made me a bad employee. I would go off on anyone who did not seem to understand that church programs and newsletters were not that important in the grand scheme of things. I have a Kindergartner and a second-grader. All we can really do is pray, and if you’re old school, get the olive oil and plead the blood of Jesus over your loved ones.