Mental Health

Apologies in advance, this post has nothing to do with IF, I just need an outlet to vent…

The past 3-4 months with the Lockdown have not been favourable for me; particularly social media.

If ever there was a situation where people could convince me through their actions and justifications, and general online commentaries, that they can’t put other people’s safety above their own need for fresh air and a picnic in the park it’s been the Lockdown.

Twitter is particularly bad, to the extent that I’m going to delete my account because it’s just an unholy combination of echo-chambers and assholes. Facebook is almost as bad. The saving grace with Facebook is that I can stick to my hobby groups, but occasionally I’ve fell into the rabbit hole of political or Coronavirus posts and the results are never good.

It’s just insanity. What on earth people think, who God bless them have lost a loved one to the virus, when they read posts from some sanctimonious armchair expert droning on about “masks are more dangerous than the virus”, “it’s like a communist state”, “you can’t trust the WHO or the government”. It must be absolutely crushing for them, and also similarly for anyone working on the health service frontline. I particularly love “do the research”; as having just told me that I shouldn’t believe the scientists they then expect me to believe some random asshat on Reddit!!

What must they think of their fellow humans who won’t stay inside for 3 months to help save lives. Yes, 3 months, what a horrible oppressive world we live in… Give me a break! People have died fighting for freedoms and they’re bitching about staying home for 3 months!!

I’ve actually never felt more distanced from people than I currently do, I just can’t begin to work out how their minds work that they’d rather risk people’s health and safety than follow guidelines.

I’m now going to delete my Twitter account and edit the settings on Facebook. From here on its IF, Raspberry Pi, Retro Computers or nothing.

Adam

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To be fair, fresh air and picnics in the park are allowed activities, as long as they’re maintaining physical distancing from other people outside their bubble. And fresh air and exercise are still important to maintain health.

(Although I’m personally a troglodyte, so have happily stayed inside almost all the time anyway.)

Other activities, like standing shoulder-to-shoulder at mass protests, not so much.

They’ve been doing it for months though, all through the worst part of the peak for infection, and deliberately (and belligerently).

I agree completely. I’ve mostly tried to stay away from social media lately for these exact reasons. I’m not trying to bury my head in the sand because there are really important things going on that everyone should take notice of (like the riots/protests, for example). But it’s a bit too much sometimes. It’s almost literally everywhere you look, and the people with the least informed opinions are the ones that shout them from the rooftops and demand that they are facts.

Not to make it about me, but it does suck for me personally because I only ever used Twitter as entertainment, not news. l’ve mentioned it before, but I follow a lot of music idols and celebrities on Twitter because that is the only platform they use to release their info, as well as providing the function of a personal blog.

But the issue is that since it functions as a blog, real life stuff bleeds through. When you have pop stars in Japan posting in Japanese about the riots in Minneapolis, you know things are serious.

Anyway… This is a rambling response. Sorry. I just wanted to say I understand. Also, you should try blocking words on Twitter instead of deleting your account. I noticed that my stress level using the site decreased dramatically just by blocking the word “trump” even though I don’t follow any political accounts.

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Thanks :slightly_smiling_face: My post was rambling too, don’t worry about it.

I didn’t know about the keyword block, thanks, I’ll look into that. Twitter has always been a bit hit and miss for me anyways, Facebook tends to provide me with interaction whereas Twitter can often feel one-way.

I’m just going to stay off them as much as possible for a while, maybe a lot longer.

Thanks for the reply.

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No problem. :slightly_smiling_face:

If you do decide to try blocking words, I’ll tell you how to get to them. Its location is not very intuitive and so I didn’t realize they existed until someone told me either.

The location is:

settings & privacy > notifications > muted > muted words

It makes no sense that it’s under notifications to me, but there it is.

And I agree about Twitter being one-way, but that’s basically what I use it for (idol news and such), so I don’t mind that. I only follow family and RL friends on Facebook… and so I don’t use Facebook much. :expressionless: Most of my actual online chatting is here (which isn’t much), IRC, and Discord.

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This thing is just too big and complex and depressing and frustrating for one human mind and heart to deal with.

I have never used social media except when I am forced to, usually by a hobby group or work. I’m only on Twitter now to follow IF and archive.org and Open Library, but I still get more than I want coming through. I only use CDC and WHO to get my facts. They provide numbers and data visualization objectively at least.

Time to go immerse myself in Inform 7 code to make myself feel better again :).

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I’ve been looking for a particular quote to post here, and I’ve found it. My girlfriend first put me on to Alain de Botton and I think what he says here is particularly apt:

“Though anger seems a pessimistic response to a situation, it is at root a symptom of hope: the hope that the world can be better than it is. The man who shouts every time he loses his house keys is betraying a beautiful but rash faith in a universe in which keys never go astray. The woman who grows furious every time a politician breaks an election promise reveals a precariously utopian belief that elections do not involve deceit.
The news shouldn’t eliminate angry responses; but it should help us to be angry for the right reasons, to the right degree, for the right length of time – and as part of a constructive project.
And whenever this isn’t possible, then the news should help us with mourning the twisted nature of man and reconciling us to the difficulty of being able to imagine perfection while still not managing to secure it – for a range of stupid but nevertheless unbudgeable reasons.”

Like you, I feel very angry when people flout the lockdown rules. I’m self-isolating alone. My brother and sister live up in Leicester, 100 miles away, and my girlfriend lives in Hastings, 70 miles away. I haven’t seen any of them since before the lockdown began. Of course we do Zoom and talk on the phone. I’m lucky to have nice neighbours, and in the last couple of weeks I’ve been able to meet up for social distance walks with a friend from north London, but I’m still lonely. But I also care about containing the virus and saving lives, so I follow the guidelines and make the sacrifices. This makes it particularly galling when other people don’t. As de Botton implies, an optimist expects the best from people, and feels angry when others don’t make the same efforts that we do. And I think there’s something rather lovely about always expecting the best from people, about never giving up hope. We’d never have had Star Trek if Gene Roddenberry hadn’t been able to imagine a future in which humanity has overcome many of our current troubles, and Star Trek has inspired a generation of scientists.

Something else I read really brought me up short. I can’t remember which news website I copied this from but I found it surprising enough to copy and paste it into my notepad:

“Realize that social distancing in this way takes an incredible amount of self-control, and it is hard psychological work. Empathy and self-control can be exhausting. It takes a massive amount of creativity to constantly imagine that we are infected with an invisible pathogen when we go out for groceries…”

It was the last part that got me, about imagining the invisible pathogen. For me it’s effortless. If I were to imagine that everyone had six foot lizard tails, I would almost be able to see them, swishing about as people turned, knocking things over, getting trapped in doors. I honestly thought everyone could do that! But every day I meet people who seem to forget about keeping that 2 metre distance.

Think about it though - we’re people who create and play text adventures. We’re able to picture spaces in our minds - rooms that interconnect in complex ways, and within those rooms imaginary treasure chests containing extraordinary objects, and all in the medium of text! We see these spaces in our mind’s eye. Not everybody has that ability. Imagination is a super-power. It’s imagination that enables us to envisage that invisible pathogen, and it’s imagination that allows us to feel empathy, to put ourselves in someone else’s position. To remember those vulnerable people whose lives we may be endangering, people we don’t know, people we’ve never met. Because it’s second nature to us, it’s easy to forget that it doesn’t come easy to everyone. All we can do is try to have a little patience.

I’ve gone on a bit here, and as usual I have doused everything liberally with hyperbole but I hope there’s something useful in what I’ve said. Take care.

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My close family takes the virus seriously. My extended family, not so much. I can’t change their minds, so there’s probably zero chance of anyone changing random strangers’ minds.

I have several risk factors for complications from COVID-19, so we have maintained strict quarantine since early March. I can tell it wears on my wife and kids, but to me it’s no big deal. My wife has even said that I was “born for quarantine”. Perhaps it is because I once spent three months in traction in a hospital bed, unable to sit up or even roll over (try spending even one whole day staring at the same room from the same angle and see how boring that is). Compared to that, roaming around the house is all the freedom anyone could ever need. Then again, it’s probably just my personality. I’ve never been a germophobe, but I find it very easy to imagine everything outside the house is contaminated and take strict steps to decontaminate everything we come into contact with, and avoid all contact with other people, or even with places they’ve been recently. We never even go outside to pick up deliveries until time has passed to lessen the chance of lingering aerosol infection. Overkill? Perhaps, perhaps not. My neighbors have been having what seems like one continuous block party since Easter.

I don’t use any social media at all, but my wife does. It seems to make her feel even worse. I don’t understand why anyone uses it at all, although again I’m probably not the best judge. If I’ve learned one thing during this pandemic, it’s that there are a lot more asshats in the world than I ever suspected, and my opinion of people was already pretty low to begin with.

To me the current spread of the coronavirus seemed obvious by mid-January. I even told my sister in early February that if we (the U.S) did everything perfectly. we’d have 100,000 deaths by the end of the year and a million or more otherwise. That seems to have been eerily accurate. I have no idea what’s wrong with people who claim we weren’t aware of it in time, or think that ‘it’s over’ now that many legal lockdown orders have been lifted. Apparently people can’t count for themselves.

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I wanted to add that it was obvious how people who never wanted lockdowns in the first place would argue against them:

  • Too many deaths = The lockdowns didn’t help and were never necessary!
  • Too few deaths = The risk was overblown and the lockdowns were never necessary!

It’s hard to argue a hypothetical, even one backed by lots of science. People in general don’t understand or respect science.

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