Why I Stopped Watching the News

It has been over 8 months since I have watched the news. Honestly, I hadn’t ever kept up with current events until the pandemic hit. I started watching the daily updates that Governor Andy Beshear was giving regarding the COVID-19 cases in Kentucky.

As 2020 progressed and the pandemic was growing, massive riots were happening in my hometown, wildfires spread across the world, and murder hornets became a thing. I decided watching the news was not beneficial for me.

I stopped consuming the news in all forms; no more reading headlines as I scrolled through social media, I even stopped watching shows like Last Week Tonight and Late Night With Seth Meyers. It’s not like I had any kind of plan to quit watching the news altogether. One day I decided that I had enough stress going on in my own life, so why bother adding to it?

Stress and narcolepsy

Living with narcolepsy means my daily life can be affected by stress or anxiety. Higher stress causes me to have more brain fog, which affects my performance at school and work. Even though I take Xywav, a twice-nightly medication to help me sleep, I noticed that it takes longer for me to fall asleep when I am going through periods of high stress.

Also, you don’t have to have narcolepsy to agree that stress causes most people to feel more exhausted during the day. My EDS (excessive daytime sleepiness) grows significantly higher when I am faced with overwhelming situations or background anxiety.

What happened after I turned off the news?

So, how have I felt since I stopped consuming the media?

My anxiety has dropped significantly

This may be a little obvious, but I wasn’t expecting to feel such a drastic change in my overall well-being. The hum of background anxiety has slowly drifted away. I don’t feel like I’m being followed by a dark cloud any longer.

I have a more positive outlook

As well as the decreased anxiety, I have also noticed that I am more upbeat than I was when I was watching the news. When stress comes my way, I feel able to handle it and think critically in overwhelming situations.

I can focus more on me

I would be lying if I said I felt as connected to this world as I did before. When hurricane Ida hit Louisiana, the only reason I knew it happened was because my professor mentioned it to me in passing. Things like this sometimes make me feel “out of the loop.” However, the benefits I have mentioned are reason enough to continue this change in my life.

Living in the now

Some people might judge me and think I am being ignorant, and maybe I am. All I know is that I have been able to focus on what is going on in my life. It has caused me to be more mindful and “live in the now.”

No longer do I feel trapped in a space filled with questions like, “Why is this happening?” and, “Is there nothing we can do to fix this?” Without consuming the news, I am able to live in a space where I am safe and happy.

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