The Unpolitical Blog about Politics and Your Health
Written by guest blogger CarrieAnn Grayson, an Army veteran who served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. After being medically discharged from the Army in 2008, she became a middle school technology teacher and now lives in Colorado.
No, this is NOT a political blog. Rather, this article is about recognizing how politics affect the mental health of everyone and how disengaging from such posts on social media is ok.
The average person checks Facebook 30 times a day. I have to admit, I probably check twice that many times, though some of that is because it’s part of my job. Lately, though, I’ve been clicking the UNFOLLOW and HIDE ALL FROM buttons on a lot of my own friends’ newsfeeds. I’ve even realized it’s okay to UNFRIEND someone or even disconnect completely from social media from time to time for mental health purposes.
Many controversial posts can be triggering for veterans with PTSD, especially with all the political posts going on from all sides. Hot topics are coming full circle with VA care, and veterans are on their toes about who is going to run what in this country.
You’ve got to know when you need to disconnect from social media for the good of your health. I’m not saying you should avoid social media completely. I’m just saying sometimes it’s best to step away for a while, or at least step away from the posts that are triggering you. Right about now, you might be thinking, “and how on earth do I do that?”
If you still can’t seem to pull yourself away completely from all the trainwrecks going on lately with social media and politics, you can at least try filtering keywords that may be triggers for you and your PTSD. There are several new add-ons you can apply to your browser to block specific types of posts. Try those. Or you can do what I’ve been doing lately on Facebook, clicking the Unfollow button or Hide All From button or even the Unfriend button on Facebook. If you “unfollow” someone, they still remain your friend but you won’t see their newsfeed. If you “Hide All From,” it blocks a page from showing up on your own newsfeed. And I think you probably know what it means to “unfriend” someone on Facebook.
Filtering keywords or simply taking a break from social media has actually been shown to improve your mental health. I’m actually really glad I don’t have cable and live where an HDTV antenna is obsolete. Ignorance truly is bliss. No, you can’t ignore the world all together, but you do need that time to recenter for your own sake.