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Question of the Week: Do You Watch the Evening News?

Posted Jan 10 2011 10:25am
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I know this might seem like a strange question.

Let me start by saying that my answer to this question is "No." and fibromyalgia is the reason.

Like many others, I experience cognitive symptoms related to fibromyalgia. One such symptom is finding myself getting overstimulated by the sights, sounds and events in my environment. Examples are
  • the stereo or TV being turned up too loud
  • the plethora of merchandise on the grocery store shelves
  • groups of people together in one place
  • traffic on the streets during rush hour
  • bright sunlight
  • police and fire department sirens and lights
  • loud, unexpected noises, like a car backfiring
When faced with these situations, it's like my brain gets overwhelmed by all the input and loses some of it's ability to filter things out, prioritize what is important, assess the danger level and an appropriate response and determine what needs to be the focus of my attention. Instead of ignoring some of the stimuli, my brain tries to focus on everything and becomes overloaded in the process.

Unfortunately, the evening news on the TV also falls into this category.

Now I'm not sure exact how many stories get covered in the average newscast, but it is definitely enough to get my brain overwhelmed and overloaded. Plus the emphasis on reporting so much bad news, much of it violent and disturbing in nature, has the effect of revving me up when I should be trying to relax and wind down from the day.

So a few years back, my hubby and I cut the news out of our TV watching.

Sadly, the tragic events in Arizona over the weekend reminded me once again why skipping the news is a good idea for me. Watching an early broadcast on Sunday evening, with so many reporters covering every tragic aspect of the story, reminded me how intense and brain saturating the news can be. The repetition of the story,
over and over again, just made my brain go haywire.

My heart goes out to everyone involved. However, for my sake and health, I don't need to know every little detail and get caught up in the news media tornado generated in response to these kind of events. The bottom line: it is all just too much for my brain to handle.

Have you stopped watching the TV news too?
I invite you to share your experiences with brain over-stimulation and sensory overload related to your chronic illness. Feel free to leave your comments here or over at the Oh My Aches and Pains Facebook page .

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