Selective Information Processing – Trying To Stay Sane Amongst The Lunacy!!!

Me Staying In Lala Land

Now, for anyone who knows me well enough, they know two of my many…..uumm…quirks are, firstly, I have OCD issues, and secondly, I tend to overcomplicate things at times. So, by way of an example, I am so organized, that my spreadsheets tend to have spreadsheets, which then just leads me to be more confused than if I had no spreadsheets at all!! And then what ultimately ensues is death by spreadsheets!!

This lunacy extends to any technology that I use. So my email messages are read…promptly, and either deleted, or get put into a relevant folder. My deleted folder is cleared on the daily!! Same principle with my text messages, recycle bins and so on.

Of course, this gives rise fairly often, to me suddenly needing to revert back to a previous email or text…..but wait….DELETED. You would think that if this happens often enough, old numb nut over here would not delete things so hastily. But nooooooo……cannot have things clogging up our folders can we???

So to get to the topic at hand, my WhatsApp messages on my phone. Now I ask you to try keep up, as just the thought of what I am about to write, gets me thinking that I am going to confuse the hell out of you. But I may be wrong. So, previously (until yesterday actually), you had your ‘’Message Folder’’, in which all your messages appeared. Then you (or more particularly I), could read, not read, delete (and then permanently delete), let well alone or archive the message. Obviously I am the person, of which it seems has become a rare breed, who ALWAYS opens my messages…..as I see them…..immediately. It is plain rude not to. It is probably ruder to open the message and not reply, but I so seldom do that anyway. I just do not reply when I realize that replying would be more savage to the person that would read my reply, than just not replying at all.

Taking it one step further, I clean up my technology on the daily. So anyone who would not fall under a daily chat, was archived. It was always an internal struggle not to just delete the periodic chats, but I just found it more user friendly (well, if I am the user), to keep them archived.

I am currently living in a part of the world going through a third wave of COVID, which is way scarier, more frightening and closer to home than either the first or the second wave. Everyone knows someone that knows someone who has either been, or is currently infected with this plague! Some are riding the storm, others are in hospital and there are those that have passed away.

So this of course is a total fodder for my panic disorder.

Apparently, the processing of information involves three stages: Firstly, collecting the information. Secondly, storing the information, and thirdly, retrieving the information. I have got better at identifying whether I want to store and/or retrieve information in the collection stage!! When I detect that it is going to negatively affect my emotional well being, I just stick to stage1.

Probably not the first time that I have mentioned that I have a friends message group. This group has been going for over fifteen years and comprises of ten members.

Now, this group used to be my happy place. It had its own message tone (heaven forbid I missed out on ANY message on this group), and on hearing the tone, everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), came to an abrupt halt. This so I could get a bit of happy energy to carry on with the rest of my day. I laughed out loud….often…. at the crazy messages. We behaved like a bunch of mad bats on the daily. Unfortunately, especially since the start of COVID, this group has become my anxious place. These girls absolutely feed off drama and morbid news. Because I let things affect me so deeply, I do not need (or even want) to know about some person’s auntie twice removed who is in hospital or has passed away. The people you hear about that are known to you, or close to you, is more than enough for my fragile emotions to handle. At the moment, ten members, third wave….you do the math.

Ironically enough, they are all fighting to share their morbid tales, yet they are also able to totally disconnect and carry on with a some lighthearted and feel good conversation in seconds. It is almost like listening to a newscast, where the presenters impart news of the world, and then move on to the feel good story of the day. Perhaps others can remain level-headed and unaffected by all the toxic and morbid chat being spewed out incessantly, but I am incapable of doing so.

So I have chosen to mute my friends group, a group that was previously my happy place. No longer!! MUTED!! And just for extra measure….ARCHIVED!!

Now, until yesterday, archiving the group did not solve the problem in its entirety, as if any message was posted on the group, it automatically reappeared in your normal folder. So, when you click on to read other messages, there it is…in all its glory…. and then you see 20 or 30 unread messages, which means that at least one person has definitely mentioned that they know someone who has COVID, or how terrible our government is, or what a mess our country is in, or how overloaded our hospitals are etc, etc, and every member then jumps in to partake in the barrage of scary, morbid and depressing messages…or with their own new bit of news, which in turn leads to another 20 or 30 messages, and before you know it, there can literally be 50+ unread messages. In the space of ten minutes.

The problem was, that somewhere in the tightest corner of my smallest brain cell, I would think maybe something important about one of my friends has been mentioned, and that there I was, oblivious to it. So what I did was then open the group, scan through the messages, just to make sure that the ten members and their nearest and dearest were fine, and then feel totally depressed and gutted and wanna kick myself sideways and upside down for doing so, swearing I would not make that same mistake again!!

So the solution for me, was to send one of my friends a private message just asking them to give me a heads up, if there was anything that I would need to know.

A while back, I had not been on my phone for a few hours, and when I went into my messages, there were unread messages from about 6 people. So, in opening and reading the messages, I ERRONEOUSLY opened this Grim Reaper Group (‘’GRG’’). I only realized I had done so after I had read a couple of messages, which naturally were messages that had me wanting to slit my wrists. At first I thought, another group to mute?? But then realized I was on the GRG, at which point, like a two year old child, I shut my eyes tight and got out of that group faster than you could say ‘’get out’’…. Mature innit??

However, from yesterday, the algorithms, Siri, cyber monsters….whoever is in charge of us guinea pigs….changed my messages so that archived chats REMAIN in Archives. Brilliant, exactly what I have been asking for (in my head), for months. But, you know how they say ‘’be careful what you wish for’’? Well…yes, now my problem is, because of all my archived chats, if someone who is archived sends a message, their chat STAYS IN ARCHIVES!! No tone, no fart, no nothing to give me notice that the message has come through. So I do not see the message UNLESS I CHECK MY ARCHIVES FOLDER!!

I immediately started sending all my archived chats (excluding the GRG chat) to my normal folder, and then realized that this would just not do! It PAINS me to open my chats and see 16 names staring at me in the face. So, there I was, sending all my previously archived chats back to archives.

This led me to thinking…..would it just not be easier to read the f*&îng GRG chats?? Well, probably easier, but way too depressing.

And you thought it was easy being me!!!

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