February 10, 2020 · Intelligence

Staying Sane in an Insane World

Nada Bakos retweeted a thread by former CIA analyst Cindy Otis that is increasingly relevant, not only to analysts, but to anyone deeply engaged in the news cycle - mental health.

We're not meant to be heads down in the worst content (and viewpoints) that man has to offer dozens of hours per week year after year. Our brains can't take it and if that's your job then you have to acknowledge that. The sooner you do, the better you'll be able to handle it.

I frequently tell analysts and collectors on my teams that they have to actively manage their mental health and that they should start that process before they reach a breaking point. It's critically important that those of us in senior or leadership positions acknowledge the challenge, admit that it impacts us as well, and help those around us develop beneficial strategies before the world breaks them.

It's important to remember that you don't have to be an intelligence professional, cop, content moderator, doctor, social worker, or journalist to struggle with this sort of overload. It can impact anyone who is repeatedly faced with the uncomfortable reality of the world. If any of this hits close to home Cindy's advice should help you regain some balance.

If you feel like this advice is insufficient, or comes too late, and you need more substantial assistance then please take the steps to make that happen - immediately. There is no shame in calling a time out and seeking professional help.

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