I have no scientific research on this because I am too busy watching extremely depressing videos of places I’ve never been to and where I probably will never go where devastating events are happening, not only terrible natural disasters, but worse yet, human-to-human violent acts that are hard to speak of or consider or think about or talk of but that are happening now and have been happening for eons.
I mentioned this to my equally bipolar sister (birth sister) the other day, of how I am sucked into this downward spiral of soaking up all of this knowledge of horrible events and awfulness happening around the world through news broadcasts and books and alternative news stations and videos on youtube and wherever, and I mentioned that this happens when I get depressed; I wrap myself into this blanket of awfulness, working to avoid the depressive state of my own affairs and seeking to cover myself with the depressive state of others’ affairs. And I expressed that I couldn’t really understand why I do this, because it’s completely counterintuitive toward getting well (although, much can be said about that as there are LOTS of things we do to ourselves when we are depressed that we know FOR A FACT are not helping but we do them anyway as that is sort of the evilness that is mental illness.)
Anyway, she pointed out to me that perhaps it was because that when we are in these pained states, these highly sensitive states, it is one of the only times when we are actually able to come closer to understanding what others are going through; it is one of the few times that we can relate to a portion of the feelings of devastation or sadness or pain or pure torture that other people in various parts of the world are existing in.
I don’t know if she is right or wrong. I see these atrocities when the feelings crushing me inside, the ones that make me hate myself and want to die, lead me down the road towards a different kind of pain, the pain of others. Do I watch/read/absorb these things because I want to be more depressed? Or is it to remind myself that I am privileged, safe, and not in any immediate danger for my life? Do I do it because it is the only time I can feel the sorrow and sadness at a depth that seems more attune to plight and devastation?
And how sad for the state of us all that I and other humans can absorb these things and yet still do nothing to stop it? I already have heavy feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness – why do I allow myself to view events that are even more charged with those same feelings? Does misery really love company? Is it as simple as that? I don’t think so.
We were never promised a life without suffering. We were never promised it; in fact, we were promised that there WOULD be suffering, that we WILL endure hardship and pain and discomfort of all different kinds. And that from those calamities, if we show patience and endurance and continue to display kindness and love and spread peace, that we will have ease and be rewarded in this life and the next. And the reason is because without suffering we cannot build strength. Without pain and hardship, we would never become strong.
I can’t tie this all together, but I also feel that I don’t need to. Peace.