Information–I used to love you, but I want to kill you

27 Mar

11:05 am

I am not sure if anyone understands just how much Too Much Information triggers me. Maybe it’s a legitimate pressure–if I can’t keep up, then I should bow out of this profession. Maybe I’m simply addicted to information? I should go online and search for a support group: Information-aholics Anonymous?

Today, I’m supposed to be Taking The Day Off: that means, for ONCE, no working. And, by no working, I mean, not just no story pitching, writing, or “job searching” (which, I admit, is part of the freelance game; I’ve had several job applications turn into freelance work); but also no sorting through scientific press releases; no stressing out about finding an outlet for a story that I wrote but that was subsequently rejected by the magazine that I thought I had it matched with; no checking journals, blogs, and the other quintillion sources of science news. And, it means, no other news, which I tend to do AFTER I “breeze” through the science and health news–radio stations that I like, talk shows, mainstream news, magazines here, there, and everywhere.

You get the picture. Information is endless these days, and if you’re not careful, it could blow your mind.

And then there’s social media. Dun dun dun. I was just commenting on someone’s blog about how back when I first started blacking out and getting angry, I would always take it out on my phones and my laptops–I am embarrassed to say that I have thrown oh, about 10 to 15 phones to the ground in drunken rages, and banged the shit out of at least three or four laptops (yes, my drinking was a lot more expensive than just the cost of the wine). And, I knew back then that I was missing real connection, and I was sick to death of the fake stuff: connecting to people through phones and through computers (via chat, email, and Facebook).

I’m learning balance these days, but it’s hard. If your profession is literally, dealing with information, then you can’t quite say, Fuck it, I’m quitting Facebook and never reading the news. If you want to be in this profession, I’m finding, you have got to find balance, which means, learning how and when to get just enough information to “keep up,” but not enough to drive yourself to drink.

Sigh. It’s my day off, and I’m already feeling that feeling I get–tight chest, upset stomach, a feeling of defeat washing over my brain. And I haven’t even gotten my social media fix yet! You know, I hate Facebook these days, not so much because of the rather “ill” interactions it encourages–I don’t really post anymore–but because I Just Can’t Keep Up. With all the information. And, it stresses me out. It doesn’t necessarily make me want to drink, but…it does something. Let’s not even talk about Twitter (which I use sparingly, mainly because I basically think it’s nonessential to my career at this point, and for lack of a better word, masturbatory–like, the same people re-tweet and post about each other, and then, they all convince themselves that that news piece or idea or meme is “important” or “hot”).

Yet, before I even got out of bed this morning, I was on my phone, checking the science news press releases. And then, after popping out of bed, and making it (ahh, diversion!)…I was on my laptop, checking work email, reminding myself to go to one of the big science journal’s web sites to see what came out today, and, then, to my blog to check on all y’all–which, I have to say, is NOT part of the cycle and is something I really enjoy and don’t consider stressful!

Oh, well. It’s all part of my story, right? We all have different triggers, things that bug us to our cores and make us want to numb out; mine happens to be this information thing, getting older and not being able to parse it all as enthusiastically as before, and not really giving a shit as much as I care about other stuff (inner knowledge, silence, listening to the birds and wind draw patterns on the inside of my brain, for example).

Most of the time, I don’t allow myself to consider this a real stressor–I mean, it’s not like I’m chasing kids, or commuting three hours one way (I did that once, for 18 months, remember?), or taking pictures in a war zone, or triaging AIDS patients in some poor African country? But sometimes, I think all of that would be preferable to playing with information all day.

At least I have the day “off,” right?

9 Responses to “Information–I used to love you, but I want to kill you”

  1. Just Some Woman March 27, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Hey, I’m right there with you. I’m so anal that when I go out on my boat to “relax” I bring my cell phone and laptop. It makes me feel like a total dumb ass. My excuse? I’m a Realtor/Property Manager and people NEED me. Yeah, right. If their shitter is stopped up they can use a plunger and call me later!!
    Of course, it doesn’t always work that way. I do need to be attentive but not to the level I take it. It’s another form of addiction for me, which is why I try to stay off of Facebook (but sometimes I can’t help myself). My main issue is email. I use it constantly. Truth be told, I seriously think it is a way for me to avoid talking to people. It’s just so EASY to hit “send” and be done with it instead of being on the phone with some long-winded asshole that will take up 30 minutes telling me about their personal problems, etc. when I’m just trying to conduct business!!!
    Oh well. Maybe I’ll do better this summer as I try to “relax”. It certainly would cut out a lot of stress.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl March 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

      Yes, it takes work to relax! Thank you for this–feels great to have your support! And, I think we should all just get off Facebook–it does nothing but bother me and overload me with useless information! Hugs, my friend…thanks for being here. πŸ™‚

  2. erics1100paces March 27, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    I feel you on all this stuff so much, DDG. For me it’s among many other things, foreign policy. I get 4 different email update newsletter things in my email every day, just from Foreign Policy Magazine: Mideast Brief, Southeast Asia, Morning Brief (general), and Situation Report (breaking). I’ve started just throwing them all directly into the trash. Should I read them? I guess. It helps with work, sometimes. But it just makes me mad, usually. Just like all my libertarian stuff. All in the trash it goes.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl March 28, 2014 at 11:52 am #

      Yeah…I mean, these days, I almost feel helpless to prevent some information from simply falling into the trash–I literally cannot hold on. It’s like, I feel under a literal avalanche, and it’s falling on me, and I can’t breathe. Ugh. Deep breath… πŸ™‚ Thanks for this! I hope you’re doing well…

  3. Rebecca A. Watson March 28, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    OH lord do I feel your pain. I think what you’re describing is exactly why i had to leave the journalism game. It’s like no matter what, you’re supposed to be up on every little thing and on your day “off” you’re worrying about missing something or alternately, being overwhelmed. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that.

    I’ve only just started reading your blog in the past months so I’m sorry if you’ve been over this already, but what kinda stuff do you like to do for fun? Y’know, like when you were a kid? πŸ˜‰ I know that I didn’t really have any hobbies when I was working for newspapers, aside from drinking and smoking. So take those away and I got bored. Maybe consider picking up something that will busy your hands or your brain in some way? Knitting, drawing, painting, gardening? Just a thought πŸ™‚

    • Drunky Drunk Girl March 28, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      Thank you for this–it helps knowing that someone else gets this…stress! And, yes, all I did when I was a working full-time journalist was, well, journalism and drinking. That was my life. Hobbies are key, and not easy to find or maintain… Thank you for this… xx

  4. soberjournalist March 29, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Ha ha I get this. In journalism it really can feel like you HAVE to know everything sometimes! When I first started blogging I used to get stressed if I didn’t read ALL the posts in my reader. I felt like I wasn’t doing my sober homework properly, and you know, I was a grade A student so I take homework very seriously. But I have chilled out a bit recently and I enjoy reading them more as a result (even if I come to them a day or so late…)

  5. Kat April 10, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    Information overload and why we binge have blown me away. to misquote the beatles: i am you and you are me and we are all together. i’m not sober–yet, or maybe never, or maybe soon–but am struggling with all these issues–as a journalist, a wine drinker (not to mention whisky!) and drunky binge-eater, thank you for putting it more eloquently than I ever could. As I just petted my purring cat, i got more satisfaction from that than I have all evening of facebook chatting, stressing over the paperback launch of my book and how many people will ADMIRE me because of it… bleech. The stress-heartburn, all of it… all my own doing, tho not my “fault,” and I know the solutions, and reading you and your readers’ helps me get closer to it. So. Thank you. : )


  1. Day 12 – Still Sober | Lucy's New Life - May 5, 2014

    […] experience. At these times I both love and loathe the internet. Looking forward to digging in to this post from DrunkyDrunkGirl about information overload, I so […]

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