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Life / Society

Anyone else feeling numb yet?

Anyone else feeling numb yet?

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m numb. There’s just…too much.

Maybe it started with the Columbine shooting. Maybe it was 9/11. They seemed to compound from there. There was a loss of this generation’s cultural innocence in those early days when we saw that bad things don’t just happen to other countries but they happen here. When the September 11th attacks occurred, we were all in a state of shock. How could this happen in AMERICA?  Then Katrina made us feel completely inadequate. Those first few tragedies seemed to be separate events, unrelated. I had time to digest the news and figure out how to deal. But now it’s all compounding.

Just school shooting based, the US tops the next leading competitor of China by 20 mass attacks. All of these events felt that they are coming faster and faster–Suddenly 2016 hit:

  • Gun-related incidents:
    • 259 mass shootings
    • 1,469 officer involved shootings suspect shot or killed
    • Number of children/teens killed or injured 2,840
    • Brussels, Orlando, Nice, Berlin
    • ISIS, al-Qaeda
    • Pulse Nightclub
  • Brexit
  • Syria
  • Zika outbreak
  • Sniper attacks in Dallas
  • Aleppo

And we all knew 2017 would be worse. Just at this moment I’m terrified for:

  • Mexico, earthquakes
  • Racial Profiling
  • Cops killing people
  • Hurricane(s) Harvey, Irma, etc.
  • Actual nuclear warfare with North Korea
  • The Refugee crisis
  • Climate change and our inability to effect it
  • Espionage and Russia (this is a thing–we’re not living in a James Bond movie!)
  • Creepy clowns
  • Millions of bees dying
  • Nazis are a thing now
  • That peaceful protesters are considered felons
  • People losing healthcare
  • Incompetence in political parties
  • Parents are being shot in their cars for no reason.
  • People emboldened by the current climate to feel good about hating others
  • Actual political campaigns of “Make America White Again”
  • Puerto Rico and our impotence to help

And now Las Vegas. The deadliest mass shooting in American history.

Yah. This is fine. Nothing to see here folks.

I’m constantly waiting for The Doctor from Doctor Who to show up and erase the last 2 years, tell me that we’ve all been under some alien spell and he’s got it fixed cause he has a sonic screwdriver. (Watching David tenant as The Doctor telling me we’ll be alright actually made me feel just a little better.)

I started writing this after the second earthquake in Mexico, and since then we’ve seen Puerto Rico and now Las Vegas. I am spent. I don’t know how to care about anything anymore. I feel like I have been worn thin and I can only spread my care so far. I have a family. We’re broke (silly us following the common youthful indiscretion of having “dreams” and getting arts degrees or working in education). Healthcare and student loans are ever-present issues and I have friends and relations directly affected by the recent events…and I seem completely unable to feel. How do I care about my day to day requirements and survive while also being pulled to help in every direction?

I would say #prayforLasVegas…but we’ve been praying for people for a long time. If there’s something I learned from the parables, it’s that you can’t just sit–you have to take action too. But how do I when I feel so powerless? So numb?

I get sucked into the internet every time I log in, no matter who you voted for there is bad news to be read (whether you believe it or not). There are too many causes, too many people being treated with cruelty. It’s like water torture…each event one more blip on my forehead reminding me that I am not doing enough to help. I’m one of those who can honestly say I fell victim to political anxiety in the last year—completely unable to focus some days.

I know that every generation feels it’s the “end of days”…and let’s be clear—I’m not saying that the rapture is imminent. I know the frustration and loss I feel doesn’t compare to those who have lost their homes, loved ones, or lives. For perspective I know that previous generations have lived through enormous tragedies. I’m sure in 1940’s Germany the local people felt this was it, the world will end. Or during the great depression and dustbowl days in the US—people knew we would never survive. But we did.

Right now, though, is the time that I’m living. The time I’m experiencing this devastation…and maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought that after the 250th mass shooting we’d do SOMETHING about gun control. That perhaps we’d come to realize that people shouldn’t have to debate going to the doctor or paying their rent. But they do. I do too.

I guess I’m just trying to write to get it all out. To say it somewhere and maybe get guidance on how to help and yet maintain my sanity. I have emotional exhaustion. Right now I want to care, I really do. But somehow I just can’t anymore.

This posts reflects the views of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Or, if you’d like to hear some overall thoughts from THRED on why terrible things happen, you can find those over here.

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  1. I read a poem today in Image Journal that pierced the numbness a bit. I hope it helps. It’s called “A True Story” and it was written by Jennifer Maier.

    An old man was dying in the hospital,
    —-my friend the doctor told me.

    He was eighty-nine, his whole life a tailor in a shop
    —-below the room where he was born.

    He had no one, so a kind aide from Ghana
    —-sat with him, one hand in his

    the other holding her sandwich. The waves
    —-on the monitor slowed. His heart

    was a small red boat on the long tide
    —-going out. At the end he opened

    his eyes. Cool air, Cool air, he said, and because it
    —-was the twelfth floor, the windows sealed,

    the aide leans over and exhales softly on the top of
    —-his head, to ruffle his hair a bit,

    and they stay like that for a few minutes until
    —-he dies, his face turned to the breeze.

    That was a long time ago. My friend is gone;
    —-the hospital’s become a vacant lot.

    Some nights I wake with those words in my ear,
    —-unsure if they’re the plea of the old Jew

    or the answering breath of the African woman,
    —-or the beautiful lie that binds them,

    like a dart and a seam; the cold clarity of glass
    —-and the wide blue draft beyond.

    • Oh man, I just read that poem through a few times. It definitely makes you feel, doesn’t it?

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