I posted this a year ago on Xmas Eve. I rediscover it now as still applicable, if not more so (and I'm in no mood to capitalize on poor Madison Cawthorn's divorce):
Is there a better word for 2020? Doomscrolling (noun) -- the act of consuming an endless procession of negative online news, to the detriment of the scroller's mental wellness.
Yeah, that's me.
Every morning, scrolling headlines and taglines and come-ons and click-bait, my mind sinking deeper and deeper into a black pool. Just this blooming morning: "Highest Levels of Microplastics Found in Molluscs, New Study Says"; "Portugal outrage after Spanish hunters massacre 500 wild animals"; "Trump’s last-minute outburst throws pandemic relief effort into chaos"; "Could Trump declare martial law to try to steal the election?"; "Trump vowed to drain the swamp. Then he granted clemency to three former congressmen convicted of federal crimes"; "A President Unhappy, Unleashed and Unpredictable."
We're doomed, folks.
I wrote a Christmas letter. First time in years. I got calls from all over the country -- especially from Texas -- asking either directly whether I might be suicidal, or implying it by tiptoeing around the topic. I ain't that. I ain't suicidal. Sometimes I yell at the TV. Sometimes I yell at myself. Not out loud. Not yet, that. I've not become the guy who goes through the grocery store muttering angrily (though for social distancing, it ain't a slouch of a motivator).
Fact is, I don't go to the grocery store. Because of the risk of infection, natch. That's an oppressive topic that didn't make the first national headlines I saw this morning. My expanded scrolling to North Carolina yields this: "NC COVID hospitalizations hit another new high as deaths top 6,300." The virus darkens every corner of life, doesn't it? No need to ask really, with so many of us at home alone rather than with extended families. The virus is ever present and, just incidentally, deadly to people like me and mine.
“Doomscrolling can be a harmful habit, and detrimental to your mental and even physical health.”
--Stephanie J. Wong, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist