How I Coped With Depression: Television

This blog post was inspired by a friend of mine. I hit a low point in life and didn’t know what to do. I was stuck in the pit of jealousy, anger and that horrible spiral that YouTube kept me in. I couldn’t watch YouTube anymore because it was making me feel worthless. My friend suggested some form of escape. Amongst her suggestions was the idea to “get lost in a television series. Totally immerse yourself in it and forget the real world for a while”. While this isn’t a long term solution (because you have to deal with things rather than avoid them) this definitely helped lift my mood enough for me to carry on with life from time to time. What I wanted to share here were a selection of TV shows that really engrossed me and captivated me enough for me to forget all about anything else going on in the world.

Scorpion – This show is about a team of geniuses – a mechanical prodigy, a doctor of behaviour, a human calculator, the world’s fourth highest IQ – who don’t feel like they fit in anywhere because of their intellect and inability to connect emotionally with others. A waitress proves to be their best ally when she joins the team in order to be a go-between for them and “normal people” to help translate and get them to understand and empathise. It all sounds very dry like that but this team of geniuses save the day on a regular basis. Sometimes they save the world, sometimes just one little girl’s life. Oh and you’ll learn a hell of a lot if you actually pay attention to the show. (If any of it interests you then definitely look up the technical terms they mention). It’s all loosely based on the life of Walter O’Brien so while you have to take things with a pinch of salt, the maths, science and logic behind it all is almost perfectly accurate.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Have you ever wanted to drop your boring, mundane life and move somewhere completely different? Find new and different people, have wacky adventures? Well that’s exactly what Rebecca Bunch does in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Why she moves is debatable but this is a story of one woman changing her life because it’s in a rut. In true Sitcom fashion not everything always works out for her (it’s television after all) but I felt connected to Rebecca from the first moment I saw her living in New York – she appeared to have it all but she wasn’t happy, not on the inside. It’s not been explicitly stated whether Rebecca has mental health issues although the warning signs are there (she just doesn’t see them because you don’t if you’re so close). The show stars Rachel Bloom and a host of Broadway and professional singers and dancers so you can expect some amazingly funny, moving and thought provoking musical numbers. If you like musicals (not just the hyper upbeat ones either) then this show is for you.

Supernatural – Oh boy, where to begin with this show. It’s quirky, funny, brutal, gory, emotional, sexy and downright fantastic. Two brothers return to the family business – Hunting. Only this isn’t normal hunting, this is Supernatural Hunting, we’re talking vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, demons, kitsune and everything in between. Actually everything in general really. The real draw for this show is the chemistry between the characters – having spent twelve years together on the show Jensen and Jared might as well be brothers. Throw in a curmudgenly, paranoid, booze addled mentor; a winged angel who doesn’t understand humans; and Crowley, The King of Hell with a British Accent and razor sharp wit. The writing is on point throughout this show. Even the weaker episodes still hold up a hell of a lot better than a lot of other television shows. The show isn’t afraid to make fun of itself, or the people who work on it and it’s a breath of fresh air in a world that can sometime feel so bogged down in seriousness that you forget to have fun. I wish I could give you a review of each Season but I’ll just have to hope you give it a watch (definitely a recommended watch and kills a lot of time – 12 Seasons worth).

Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments – A relatively new show and not one I would recommend to everybody. Read the books if you really want to get involved in this series but the television show is second only to the books (both are streets ahead of the film version). Clary Fray finds she isn’t like normal people when she discovers the secret world of Shadowhunters – an organisation in place to protect the world from Demons (and rogue downworlders such as Vampires and Werewolves). I suppose this is worth watching if you like pretty people kicking ass (which I do). There is copious action and a variety of weaponry but it’s not all an action packed kick-ass show because there are some nice romances that pop up too. I preferred this to the film because it really hit the characters better than the film did. It stayed fairly true to the books (whilst also taking into account the transition of medias) and was actually a nice adaptation from book to screen.

How To Get Away With Murder – Okay so maybe people might frown upon me suggesting this for escaping mental health problems but it’s a nice show to see that even the well presented and the well manicured aren’t as put together as we all think. It’s nice to really see people with flaws (and my god this show exposes a lot of character flaws) but not in a way that you hate them. Told through flashbacks and flash-forwards and unreliable storytelling with immense amounts of deceiving and selfishness, it’s a great show for anybody who wants to escape from the world of picture perfect celebrities and perfectly put together people with perfectly put together lives. If you want to peel back the facade of perfect people and see underneath then this show might just be for you. The characterisation brought about by both the writers and the actors is something of a marvel, a great watch. Viola Davis is exceptional in this show.

With the exception of Supernatural, all of the shows above are available on Netflix (at least the UK version of Netflix anyway) and are definitely worth checking out if you have a subscription. I’d suggest picking up Supernatural anyway though, it’s definitely brought me a whole new comfort realm to fall into when I’m feeling the need for escape.

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