Dealing with looking up & seeing upsetting stuff online?


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Jul 2, 2017
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Hi ?,
I’m an animal rights person. I’m a (near) vegan. I do click-to-donates, online petitions, going to vegan and animal rights markets, food bank donations, charity pots, not wanting to use/buy stuff from companies that test on animals and sharing on social media, among other things like feeding birds, saving bugs and being good to our cats ?. I read animal rights books ? and watch animal rights, animal rescue and vegan ? videos on YouTube (Bitesize Vegan, Joey Carbstrong, etc.)
However, it can stress me out and be upsetting. I look up about and see some very disturbing things related to animal cruelty online (individual cases of abuse, greyhound abuse in racing and Spain, Yulin, dog ? meat in South Korea ??, an orangutan whose home was destroyed darted and other food abuse to cows ?, pigs ?, chickens ?, etc., as well as environmental devastation.
Please don’t just tell me to stop looking up and advocating for the animals. How can I care for myself and my mental health whilst still advocating for animals?
Thank you ?
I wish my magic wand wasn't broken, Rory. There are things in the world that are horrid and disturbing and heart wrenching including what we do to other humans, children, the environment etc. It is challenging not to be locked down into despair.

One thing that I find helps me to cope with it all is by trying to be a beacon of light. I see the darkness and it isn't good and yet I can be light in that darkness and hope that my light encourages even one other person to be light and hopefully that person will encourage others and so on.

I care by not eating animals, abusing animals. I care by having the courage to watch Joey Carbstrong, Earthling Ed and others and by watching contributing to what they are doing and helping them. We can't all be Joey or Ed but we can support them. When I watch something disturbing I send out thoughts of kindness and love to the animals that are involved. I look them in the eyes, on my screen, and tell them I am sorry and that I will not pay for anyone to harm others of their kind to the best of my ability.

Surround yourself with positive thoughts and send them out when you can. It is so cool that you are donating and bearing witness and your health and happiness is also important so try to balance your activities by watching positive joyful videos too. Watch Cesar Millan's new YouTube channel - the Dog Whisperer who now has an amazing ranch in the southern USA and helps so many animals and their humans. If there is a farm sanctuary near you then maybe you could volunteer there or if not then even at a local animal shelter.

Above all hold onto to love and joy and pass them on to others.

Emma JC
You have to stay positive, because people are attracted to positivity, and if you want to be an example to people, they have to want to look to you! The best way you can help animals is by being an example to others - the kind of example others WISH to follow. So don't allow yourself to get down in the dumps too often!

Don't think of how the world SHOULD be, and despair because of how far we are from that ideal. Just do your best in the world we live in. That's all you can do. We do not live in an ideal world but it is improving. Please look up stories of people making a great difference in the world, and read about all the wonderful changes that have happened in this world. Our world continues to improve and get kinder. Yes, lots of bad things happen - but not long ago at all it used to be a lot worse. The way people treat animals now......not long ago people were treating PEOPLE that way. Just the fact that a person was another color was enough to make people think it was OK to beat them, use them as slaves, steal and sell their that's not OK. There are laws protecting pets now - people aren't allowed to leave dogs tied up outside, or leave them in hot cars. Horses are living much, much better lives today than they lived even 10 years ago. Believe it or not, the situation is even improving greatly for cows. We have a long way to go but we're getting there!

Whenever you see a bad situation, look for the helpers. You can only do so much and you may not be able to help, yourself, every time you see something awful but you can be grateful for the people who are helping, and think about them.
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How can I care for myself and my mental health whilst still advocating for animals?
Thank you ?

You might want to buy the book "The Joyful Vegan".

I haven't read or even seen the book. It's brand new - only available as a pre-order. but I "know" the author. Collen Patrick Goudreau's podcast, Food for Thought, pretty much taught me how to be vegan. and her "Vegan Companion" sits on my nightstand and provides inspiration whenever necessary. So I can wholeheartedly vouch for the author. But the advertising blurb - which I just read for the first time - sent me scampering back to this thread. Its sounds like it is exactly what you need.

In the meantime,
" Having people who are in it alongside you is an invaluable tool for staying joyful, so be sure to reach out to others in your community and online. Ask questions, share recipes, meet up face-to-face and share your sorrow, anger and happiness together. This way, being vegan doesn’t seem so hard after all."

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I think if we know what awful things there are to see of what is widely done to animals for use to humans, we have enough to know to not choose any animal products, which would be our contribution to these awful things. So it is for us, be vegan, it is the way to deal with it, whether we see more of it or don't. It is really for those who still use animal products, that they would consider it and choose differently.
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Some people need to constantly see violence to understand and some of us don't. I am to this day traumatized by a street video of street punks stomping on little kittens and the devastated grief of the mother cat. It just enters my head sometimes. Or videos of mother pigs laying on their babies in filth. I'm bothered by animal violence but some more than others.

Don't watch it. You can read books and make recipes and make lifestyle changes, even do activism, without watching explicit violence. Don't force yourself as though you need to watch it.

The Amazon is burning right now. I'm not going to watch it. Watching trauma over and over on the news can give you anxiety or even PTSD by proxy.

Connect with other vegans. I'm going to a conference and belong to a vegan club because connection is important to me, I realized I feel drained surrounded by unrepentant meat eaters. Id rather be alone or at least hang out with vegetarians. I'm happy all of my roommates are vegan and vegetarian now.

Watch nice activists on YouTube instead of always the angry ones. The angry ones have their place but channels like Humane Hancock and Happy Healthy Vegan might make you feel more hopeful.
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