On a recent episode of Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet, her family was sharing lunch time in the busy city of
Anchorage, Alaska. The Oakley family lives in the remote and rugged area of Canada's Yukon Territory. While the woman were eating, car horns began blowing and the whir of traffic could be heard and seen close by. I was drawn in even more than usual when suddenly one of Dr. Oakley's daughters began yelling at the vehicles blowing and creating the perceived commotion. She intentionally spoke to the bothersome "noise" encountered in this big city. This seemingly pedestrian moment, caused her discomfort to the point where she reprimanded the noise again and then encouraged the others to leave with her. I remember looking at my wife and saying "she can't cope with this drama. It was obvious she didn't live surrounded by the pressure cooker of constant noise, perpetual movement and chaos big cities bring.
I thought to myself, how rare of an individual she must be as the masses blindly subject themselves to non-stop noise, drama and constant activity. In the final analysis, I respected her sensitivities and the fact she didn't violate the call of her soul to embrace solitude, solemnity and calm. Speaking for those in the mental health community, the lack of noise and drama is a welcomed invitation to repel or reject mania or anxiety. One may or may not live in a big bustling city, or be over run by noise, yet solitude and solemnity can be elusive. The mental health community refers to this as "excessive stimulation", which can lead to manic or depressive episodes.
While the minds and souls of some are not affected by big city routine, the social media toxicity can exact a similar negative effect. You may need to vicariously yell at the social media, garner a sense of discipline and walk away. When the totality of the social media is considered, Facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest etc, and the technology to access it, the temptation to over indulge is understandable ...yet at a costly price. Most of us, if we're honest, are prone to rationalize. It is convenient to tell ourselves that one more scroll through that Facebook page is innocuous. As those with a mental health diagnosis, who navigate mental illness waters can vouch for, mania and depression will stalk you and without much warning, grasp and swallow its prey. So called friends can post unwanted articles and offensive innuendo. Coupled with this is the accidental view of an intense and stressful news/media article. Its a snowball effect. I don't always feel the hammer while on the device, its an hour or two later as the realization that I responded incorrectly to someone close to me.
So what is the solution? Is this a caution blog post or is there some helps? I believe there are solutions and helps. Seeing its not possible to recoil and go live under a rock, I want to offer what I call Offsets or Equalizers. I have clearly shown that all of us can expose ourselves too often to social media or even other chaos. When we do this, the danger of depleting the good brain chemistry of serotonin and norepinephrine is possible. The offsets I like to engage in are good book reading, drawing or painting, playing music or listening and watching others perform. Here is something else you can do which is tactile. Tangible and tactile experiences are being drowned in the sea of technology. Sit down away from the computer or tablet, with a warm latte or coffee, and make a list of the positive brain enhancing experiences you can encounter. Be sure to revisit the commitment you made to not get accustomed to noise, chaos and drama.