Listening to news stories from around the world, especially about the beheadings by Isis terrorists and the killer Ebola virus, just puts me in to a state of fearfulness. Now, Ebola has made its way to the United States and when I hear the stories of how many people may be infected and how this man was allowed to come in to our country, it also makes me fearful of traveling. I feel pretty safe in my own community, but we are at a place in life where we want to travel. How can I deal with this fear? Can I trust that the government is doing all it can to protect our citizens?
First, thank you to my followers for listening to my personal story in Part 1 of how, in my opinion, our local governance has let our community down in relation to public health and how it makes me fearful. I recognize it was a strong commentary (not that many of my blogs are not?!), and while I don’t want to feed in to fear, I do feel that when citizens feel their best interests are not being protected, they need to speak up. In part 2 of this blog, I will more directly address your question, “How can I deal with this fear?”.
It’s hard not to watch the televised news, listen to radio talk shows, and read about world events without feeling anxious. The reality is that a lot of news reporting has become commentary and editorializing. In its extreme, the editorializing borders on fear mongering and conspiracy theories, both of which ratchet up the fear…but also the ratings. Ratings sell advertising and make more money. You get the picture.
As news consumers, we need to separate the facts from the fiction, and the truth in journalism from the entertainment-style news reporting that boosts ratings. This is not an easy task given all the information that we are bombarded with.
Here’s some common sense thinking. Read and listen carefully. Do your research. Consider the source of your news. Look to the most knowledgeable people for advice and information. For example, pay more attention to what the Doctors from the CDC and the Doctors Without Borders group are telling you about Ebola, versus some radio or television talk host.
Be on the look out for the red flags of “news reporting” where there is more political bashing than there is news. Also, be on the lookout for fear mongering. As I work in talk radio, I could give you the names of three talk radio hosts who have exhibited signs of paranoia with their radio ranting’s. Paranoia is a mental illness, which is defined as “an unrelenting mistrust and suspicion of others, even when there is no reason to be suspicious”. Don’t let a paranoid personality feed your fear.
With the facts you have gleaned, make informed decisions on where you feel safe to travel and what you can do to protect yourself from Ebola. If your fearfulness is getting the best of you, give yourself a break from the news. If you feel that your government is not doing all it can to protect you, take action.
Finally, I leave you with a word on the cultural differences between countries that we don’t always understand, yet add to our fear. I was encouraged to add this information to my blog by a knowledgeable person on this subject. While we were horrified that the U.S. citizen was beheaded, 19 people in Saudi Arabia were beheaded during the same time frame as part of their judicial process.
Try these things to calm your fears, and please feel free to lend your thoughts and comments to this blog. We learn from each other!
A personal note: As a registered nurse, I stand with the brave nurses and health care workers who are taking care of infected patients. I am thankful for the information put out by the nurses union which outlined their safety concerns. This came from the nurses who cared for the first infected patient to reach the U.S. As of this writing, two of those nurses have contracted Ebola. More are expected. Nurses need the support of their employers to perform their jobs safely. I’m sending these nurses my prayers and thanks for courageously fighting this disease for all of us!
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