• author
    • Debra DeAngelo

    • February 27, 2015 in Columnists

    Addiction, creation, and infecting your quantum field

    So, there I was, one recent random morning, watching the morning news and drinking coffee, psychologically preparing myself to function in the grown-up world, and I realize I’m overwhelmed with gloom. I want to just go back to bed, flip the day into the garbage like a burned roast and call out for pizza. It wasn’t even 7:30, and I was done.

    Depression, you wonder? Nope. Depression’s not my gig. It’s not an internal issue. It’s an external issue… being allowed in. Invited, in fact.

    ISIS had beheaded another journalist. A caged dog was burned alive, and so was a Jordanian pilot. Four teenagers died in a drunk driving accident, there was a fatal shooting somewhere, a child was molested while playing in her front yard, a family lost everything in a fire…


    That coffee you’re drinking — is it killing you? Sure, last week we told you coffee prevents Alzheimer’s, but this week, it causes heart disease! So, you won’t get Alzheimer’s because the heart attack will kill you first!

    And AND!

    Is gym equipment crawling with herpes? But go to the gym every day to stay fit! Besides, there’s an ointment for that (which contains lead and causes liver damage)! Too much sunshine: skin cancer! Not enough sunshine: osteoporosis! Spinach: saturated with salmonella! Eat more spinach! It prevents eye disease! Tuna: laced with mercury! Eat more fish! It’s good for your heart! Except if you drink too much coffee!

    Breaking new: Living leads to death!

    I was full up. Saturated with anxiety and doom. And I hadn’t even gone onto Facebook yet, where all that misery and misfortune will tumble down my newsfeed incessantly.

    My brain wants to cry.

    It wants to know why I invite all this shock, horror and despair inside of it each morning, frying its little neurons with cortisol, basting it in stress and sadness.

    Good question, brain. I’m wondering the same thing. I know watching the news upsets me, but yet, like a heroin addict, I can’t stop. Unlike heroin, however, which is reputed to feel better than a six-hour full-body orgasm, watching the news makes you feel like, well… the opposite of that. Televised news: the Anti-Heroin.

    And yet — I’m hooked. Like all hardcore junkies, my habit started in high school, watching KCRA news when Stan Atkinson was young and handsome. He’s probably sucking strained peas through a straw in a nursing home now.

    Yeah. That long.

    I don’t even like it. Why can’t I stop?

    And then came an epiphany, courtesy of a pizza and movie night with friends last Sunday. We watched “What the Bleep Do We Know,” which, as far as I’m concerned, is required material for anyone whose curiosity extends beyond his/her back fence. I’d seen “Bleep” several times already, but this time, I really picked up on the comments about addiction, and its biochemical effect on the brain.

    I also latched onto commentary about “creating your day” — literally, creating your day, mindfully and willfully, as you want it to be. And also, infecting your quantum field with your own intentions so powerfully that you’ll receive feedback from the universe to validate your intentions, and yes, you’ll have to watch the movie before you understand that. (It’s called a teaser.) Bottom line: You must create your day. You must make it happen. Or it won’t.

    Well, duh, right?

    So, there I was last Monday morning, pouring coffee, pondering the notion of creating my day, and recognizing my compulsion to watch the news first, and it hit me: Compulsion is the antithesis of self-control. Of willful creation. Add to this the biochemistry of addiction, and it hit me: I’m an addict. The proof: The thought of not watching the news generated anxiety.

    I began wondering if the constant drumbeat of televised tragedy and terror creates a particular biochemical response in the brain, and if it’s addictive. We’re clearly unable to stop watching, no matter how horrific the story. We become like Alex at the end of “A Clockwork Orange,” a torrent of unpleasant information being beamed right through our shocked wide-open eyes and into our minds. Except: No one’s forcing us. There aren’t any contraptions pinning our eyelids open and fixing our heads in one place so we can’t look away. We’re willing participants in this torture. Why?

    Is it hypnosis? Ever notice that every televised news report has colorful slowly-moving graphics at the bottom and edges of the screen and behind the news anchors? Do they trigger alpha waves in the brain, so that while horror-generated neurotransmitters are flooding your synapses, your brain is simultaneously being lulled into its happy place? And, is that horrified-hypnotized biochemistry addictive? Does that addiction compel you to return to that show again and again, day after week after year, even though you feel miserable afterwards, just to get that “fix”?

    I thinks so, on all counts. Adding a truly sinister tinge is that I believe it’s a calculated strategy to entrap viewers. They know what they’re doing. The news networks are the pushers and we’re the junkies. We don’t think so, because we aren’t lying in alleys with dirty needles stuck in our veins. We’re merely saturated with stress, despair, fear, anxiety and anger.

    Unless we just stop.

    On Monday, I did. Willfully creating my day cannot begin with choosing addiction. So, I read a book instead. On Tuesday, I drank coffee and relaxed with my cats. Wednesday: dishes. Thursday, Friday, something other than watch the news. And no, it wasn’t easy. It was surprisingly uncomfortable. I still want to race to the damn TV every morning. Even so, just for today, I can feel the compulsion and do something else anyway.

    With a week of “sobriety” under my belt, life already seems more serene. I don’t need to know all that bad stuff. Like the folks in AA say, “One day at a time.”

    Now, I just need to kick the Facebook habit.

    Baby steps, people, baby steps.



      • Madgew

      • February 27, 2015 at 7:37 pm
      • Reply

      I will miss you if you kick facebook. I would have to call you or email you or text you. I am Madge Woods and I am addicted.

      • Oh, I’m not up to kicking Facebook just yet. I have an easy enough time just walking away from that for awhile!

    • I understand your column, I think. Even so, I believe that SOME of us are victims who have had their “eyelids” “pinned” open forever. The tragedy is that we have to understand the problems before we can fix the problems. The awareness is painful, but the opportunities to create a better world are astonishing and exposed right before us because we are electronically linked — like no other time in history. I agree the “constant drumbeat” requires us all to step away — from time to time — but if we are passionate about humanity, we also want to lend our sympathetic ears to the legitimate calls for solidarity and our helping hands to creating action for change. We would sure miss the voice of one so articulate as you, Debra, if stayed silent permanently. Re-charge when you need to, but come back to us, please.

      • Oh, I won’t walk away from you! I will still write and whatnot… but probably with at least 30% more cat content! The news right now is just… TOO MUCH. It is spiritually saturating.

    • Understood. For me it was a kitten sitting in a blender. I could not sleep without seeing this FB “symbol.” Such cruelty is beyond comprehension, which only means — writers have their work cut out for them. Get well. I think your spirit will rest and then come back so strong we will be in awe of your eloquence. Meantime, I am going to watch your cat vids with joy.

      • A KITTEN IN A BLENDER!!! I AM HORRIFIED!!!! Who thinks of this evil???? SEEEEEE why I have to bow out of this kind of shit? It’s like these people and I are not of the same species.

    • Je suis FACEBOOK. My own personal story is SO bad that a man asked my niece just recently again — was it true??? I am a big hypocrite, for sure, “bowing out” lately, paralyzed from potentially traumatizing others by telling my story to gain support! I said the same thing to Maya once about another cat torture story and she called me on it. Do what you need to do, Debra. There are definitely those among us who masquerade as being human when it clearly cannot be so. Just rest. I feel like you have been on the verge of something for some time now ever since you began talking about needing to get published. You are going to okay, okay? MY wheelhouse should not disturb others? I honestly don’t know. The “Yoda” role does not suit me. I am the student — not the teacher! Drag out those cat vids and drink a glass — or bottle — of wine. Retreat for now.

      • Well… maybe my verge has been hampered by all my energy being focused on a myriad of bad things happening in the world. All this horror and misery in the world… it’s my kryptonite.

      • DB

      • March 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm
      • Reply

      Good article, better reminder to re-watch a very relevant movie. I will have to clear my mind, a lot, and get in touch with my self again. I have found that there are great many people that I have stopped following on FB dimly because of the horrific things they are either attracted to or feel the need to send up on my news feed. Come on over, I’ll pour the wine!

      • DB – YOU were the one who originally recommended WTBDWK to me! You told us in Reiki 1 that it was “required viewing”! And… I will take you up on that wine! xoxo

      • Madgew

      • March 3, 2015 at 12:11 pm
      • Reply

      I have cut back on following the news. Just too decisive, cruel and soulless. I fight global depression and the world of today makes me crazy, anxious and depressed.

    • Sounds amazingly like my world. Ha

    • I love this Debra. One of my majors (ha) was journalism which I quickly backed out of after I realized how utterly depressed I was watching the news for hours each day for my classes.

      I think the trouble is… back in the day – you’d hear local news. What is happening next door…(which for me – was plenty to deal with – growing up in my little WV coal community) but now – everything feels like it is next door – thanks to our billions of channels and yes…even social media.

      When I was a teacher, each year I would have my students do a “media fast” for three days and journal the results. I would give them zero background on the assignment so they could come to their own conclusions. Most were miserable day one…but then most found out how much time they had when they weren’t glued to something. (I did have one clever student – research on eHow what his results would have been if he had committed to the fast – and wrote that in his journal instead. Hilarious.)

      I think a detox is great as a beginning. I think it helps redirect our attention into focusing on our own communities – and work on that first – and then expand from there. Our tribe mentality convinces us that everything is happening within our tribe. It isn’t.

      You can’t give what you don’t have… which is why crawling under the cover is so appealing (I also did that earlier this week – for similar reasons!). It’s good to say no to the pushers – give what you have… hope everyone else is doing their part (suspension of disbelief may be required here) and keep moving forward.

      Fantastic insight Debra.
      (I am sharing this on Facebook – my exception to the “Pushers” discussion- which will require you to stay on FB to see if I followed through! ha.)

      • News detox…. a month in, and I am thinking it’s the way to go. The “Pushers” are just like the ones on the street. They want your money, and they aren’t interested in the toll their “drug” takes. We’re a nation of users.
        Meanwhile! Actual life is rolling right past, unnoticed.

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