Desperation breeds vulnerability

Everyone is a bit panicked, uncertain, anxious, and some are holding on to their mental health for dear life during this pandemic. And if you are not feeling like this, then a friend or relative you know probably is.

When we feel desperate and stressed, we are at our most vulnerable and tend to make decisions based on fear and not practicality or science. That makes us targets for scams, schemes, making rash decisions, and irrational desperate moves because our thought processes are compromised.

You may have noticed more emails from companies that tell you your account is in peril or cut off. Phishing emails they are called. In an uncertain atmosphere, these scams have a higher probability of working.

Now is not the time to make big decisions

Especially financial ones. Your perspective is likely to be warped and because of the fall of the stock market, you might be more on edge. And if you have to make a financial decision, engage others you trust in that process and take your time. The economic or physical health implications of a disaster can send our mental health off the rails and inspire us to make panic buys.

24/7 News

Certain social media platforms such as twitter are engineered to maximize public panic which keeps you glued to that platform, oversaturating your brain and your judgment. The worst is the 24/7 news channels that were created to cash in on your fear. They thrive on terrorist attacks, school shootings, pandemics–anything that has captured collective public attention.

There is nothing good that comes of showing planes crash into twin towers over a thousand times in one day as it happened on cable news in the nineties. The result was PTSD for many who watched.

It’s the goal of these news channels to keep you tuned in and prey on the emotions of fear, desperation and an insatiable desire to know up-to-the-minute information, often which is not vetted.

Everyone wants to be a survivor

No one wants to be the loser. And many news channels imply that those who are well-informed are likely to be the survivor. But oversaturating rarely makes one more informed but rather more desperate. Take the news of one man who took poison because he heard the president mention that the chemical might be a cure or in a future vaccine. That was a fear-based decision that ended his life.

Please make sure you are getting news from credible sources and not a lot of it. Do your due diligence. If something triggers a strong emotion, wait until you can calm yourself first and talk with those you trust so you make a rational, informed decision.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

2 thoughts on “Desperation breeds vulnerability”

  1. I have cut way back on social media and what little I watch of the news. I look to be informed but beyond that, I have little use for the nonstop news or social media machine. It just plays into the anxiety and fear and does little for me. Instead, I’ve been reading books more, going to the park in a safe manner, and baking/cooking more at home. There’s enough fear and anxiety without all of this and without all the “leaders” making it worse. The best way to regulate I’ve found is to disconnect and switch it off. Stay informed to a point, but take care of yourself and your mental health. Selfcare is so important right now.

    1. I agree. I listen to NPR in the morning for 15 minutes and for me that’s the news for the day. Oversaturation never helped anyone and I love how you focus on your self-care, Don. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

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