This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Political Junkie Syndrome and Emotional Self-Care...Where's the Limit?

political junkie


I am a black woman; I am black, and I am also a woman.

I feel I've reached an impasse on whether my near avoidance of current political, socioeconomic, and racial matters hurts or helps me. I feel at peace, but is that a fair exchange for knowledge? My personal centeredness may eventually morph into ignorance, and I'm not sure that I'm okay with it.

I am an average social media user, and there's not a single cat meme or cat video that I won't click, and patiently wait to load and then giggle uncontrollably. However, my thumbs, almost with a mind of their own will scroll right past news articles and think pieces like it's a sworn duty. Group text messages that veer towards more serious topics of sexism and racism make me put my phone down and the idea of reading books along the same lines is enticing but something I can't handle. At first, I was okay with my new found avoidance because I AM happier, but I began to question my choices late last night while sitting outside of a local diner ironically named "Chubby's."

In my avoidance of certain topics, I always referred to them as "too heavy", and they are. However, for the first time, I actually provided more context for what that meant to me personally. Like a blockbuster movie sequence, I had a momentary flashback to four years ago when race relations in America once again boiled over. During that time I read every article and their comments, I studied every stat, and I engaged in every discussion. I argued with vehement racists. I followed every reputable publication available. I attended protests.

I was a woman on edge.

You could've given me a pack of pencils, and I would've snapped each in half with one hand. I was overloaded with information, I was drowning in my anger, and as a result my relationships suffered. Yet, the political and racial climate was intoxicating. I felt like it was my duty to participate; I was merely doing my part, but at what cost?

I wasn't alone by any means. I recall seeing many people take breaks from social media and sighting emotional fatigue as the reason. Soon, the topic of mental self-care started to emerge. Still, I marched on, but not for long. What I didn't know was that the stress of it all would eventually force me to walk away with whatever sanity I had left, which is how I reached the point where I am now.

I am a black woman; I am black but I'm also a woman, and the intersectionality of race and sexism in this world means that there's an endless amount of negative experiences for me. Sexism and racism both affect me, and there's no shortage of national topics being discussed. It's my personal experiences that make the headlines so much more real and emotion evoking. I avoid these heavy topics because they're too painful and because my experiences as a member of these societal groups are educational in their own right. Therefore, I mull over how ignorant can I really become through my media avoidance?

You may be reading this and thinking that I just went off the deep end and am not taking a moderate approach on the matter. You are right. I went from one extreme of full exposure and participation to the other of near complete avoidance. I'm here because I'm admitting that I'm not comfortable with either. However, the crux of the issue is that I don't know HOW to find the balance between staying current and self-care. I have an underlying fear of backsliding, especially now that I've experienced the bliss of ignorance.

I'm open to any suggestions...