It turns out the Germans do have a word, or at least the beginning of a word, that describes what happens to me every time it feels like the world is falling apart, which—let's face it—has been about every three days lately: Weltschmerz.
When I asked my Twitter friends if there is a long German word for being so shocked and depressed by current events that you can't pull yourself away from Twitter, the first, and still my favorite response was from Stan Carey, who suggested Welschmerztwittersucht—essentially "world-weariness Twitter addiction."
Although Weltschmerz means, roughly, "world-weariness," a more complete definition from Merriam-Webster defines Weltschmerz as
- mental depression [Check.]
- Or apathy [Check.]
- Caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state." [On this part, I respectfully disagree. I'm not looking for an ideal state. I'd just like a not-completely-horrifying state.]
The wonderful thing about German is that you can form compound nouns by piecing together other words, and if Weltschmerz defines (mostly) how I feel, I still needed help describing how I react, which is by obsessively reading my Twitter feed. A few of my Twitter friends suggested words that included Schockstarre (shock-induced inability to react appropriately) and Sucht (addiction).
I had to overcome apathy to write this post. (Why rush? It will be relevant again in a few days.) Many thanks to the people who responded on Twitter and gave me something to work on besides eating dry Cornflakes from the box. This post isn't the work I should be doing, but it's the closest thing to work I could bring myself to do, and at least that's something. Here are some of my favorite responses:
World-weariness Twitter addition:
The spirit of the age incomprehensibleness Twitter paralysis:
Inability to respond appropriately caused by Twitter fixation:
Twitter world-weariness news addiction:
Twitter harm stun:
Amazed and flabbergasted beyond belief:
Harm not miss -ness:
Stunning depressing current event addiction: