Someone once asked me if I watch TV as a coping mechanism for dealing with IBS. For those of you who don’t know what IBS is, well consider yourself one of the lucky ones. IBS stands for: Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s basically when your stomach works against you, making daily living sometimes nonexistent. On a more positive note, my situation with that has gotten considerably better to what it once was. I cut out soda. Who knew? Now, it’s just a matter of trying to fix the mental toll that it caused on my mind. I’m still working on that one.
At the time when I was asked that question of if my TV watching was a coping mechanism, I said, “Sure, somewhat”. Which wasn’t a complete truth. It seemed easier to just say yes to that question instead of the real reason. Which is that my social life after high school and into college became of the “nonexistent” variety. My whole life I always had friends, I always had someone to hang out with or talk to on the phone. Sure, some friendships took that natural fade away and new friendships formed in those places of the old ones. Cause that does happen in one’s life from time to time. Without going into specifics, I’ll just say I had a group of people in high school who I considered to be my “forever friends”. Let’s just say to this day, they are probably all in each other lives with the exception of me. I understand the concept of people growing apart and things along that nature making that natural fade away. Although, to put my feelings in TV terms (cause I am now a TV Nerd after all), I had less of a proper goodbye send off from the network and more of that disappointing abrupt cancellation without a reason why. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I hold no bad feelings or ill will for any of these people from my past. What I hate to admit though, is that to this very day, I am extremely still hurt by this occurrence in my life. Simply because I considered these people to be my actual friends. I am not the best or the greatest person. I can be annoying at times. I was not the best friend I could of been. I am flawed. I make mistakes. I think making new friends after this happened was hard cause I felt, “Why do I have to make new friends? I thought I had ones at this point in my life.” Also, I think I never wanted anyone to also feel that hurt that can be caused from someone just simply tossing you aside with no explanation for something better, even after trying to reach out.
So, yeah, graduation happened. And as fast as graduation happened so disappeared that small social life I once considered everything. I’m not sure why I then turned to TV. I do realize how ridiculous it seems, but with no friends to hang with, I looked to TV. I thought I’ll have something to look forward to each and every night of the week. Somewhat sad I know, but at that time I was really sad, so it fit with why I didn’t do something more active like a sport. In a way, it wasn’t until looking back at these moments years later that I realize how depressed from this situation I really became. Even to this day, that particular depression has remained intact.
Growing up, I was always a fan of the arts. Particularly theater and the performing arts. In my high school days, I upped that to Broadway Theater Nerd or Dork, whichever you prefer. By tenth grade, I was basically Rachel Berry from “Glee”, if Rachel Berry couldn’t sing a tune in the least. Yeah, that was and is still very much me. I never was really an avid TV watcher back then.
Growing up in the 90s, I was a superfan of Nickelodeon though. Clarissa Explains It All, was literally everything to me. She was my fashion idol! I too, never wore what some might consider to be a “classic” look when dealing with my fashion choices. I was more of the mix and match type with too much jewelry. Although, when in high school, the one and only show I ever remembered when it was actually on TV (and didn’t forget it was on) was the classic gem that was “Felicity”. I rarely remembered when shows were actually on with the exception of that one. When not in school or marching band (which I was awful at, by the way), I hung out with friends, never really being “That TV Nerd” quite yet.
As far as my health situation of dealing with IBS (for pretty much my whole life and it getting much worse since graduating high school), I think I might be finally seeing that possible light at that end of the tunnel. I know it may sound weird to those who haven’t experienced it, but having IBS is like having a form of PTSD. Even though, it’s gotten way better in the last year, it really did a number of my mind. I guess spending that much time in the bathroom will do that to anyone. The thing is I love going out, seeing shows, going to the beach, being outdoors. I’m not like a huge nature person, but I love doing stuff. As much as IBS dictated a lot of my time, when that part of my day was over with I was more than wanting to go and hang out and have that fun with others. Although, with that not happening I turned to TV.
I get that someone might make that assumption that TV is a coping mechanism. And they were somewhat right, but just for the wrong assumption. TV watching might have started for me as something to do while feeling depressed over feeling tossed aside by ones I considered real friends. It turned into though, after the years passed on by into something I really quite enjoy and love now. I am actually super knowledgeable about (possibly pointless yet super interesting facts, at least to this “TV Nerd” gal) TV in general now. I would love one day to make a career out of my love of Theater and TV.
Talking about these subjects is literally the only time in my life where I feel like I have that right answer and can go from sad to way, way too hyper in a matter of moments. IBS and the mental toll that that had taken on me for well over the last fifteen years truly kept me from pursuing anything I was interested in. I don’t have a lot of fight in me anymore at times really because of that. As well as, that “wonderful friends” issue previously mentioned. Although, one day I hope to be the person that I once felt I was, who didn’t let something like IBS or depression from whatever the reason may be, continue to hold me back. I feel like this chunk of my life one day will be something I hope I can learn something from. Although, I’m pretty sure I was a turtle in a former lifetime and that might explain why I am so gosh darn slow at everything in life and getting over things as well. I feel like I’m finally there in some ways and not yet there in others. Like I said, former turtle over here.
I could never really understand when actors or showrunners from TV shows would say how people would tell them how much their show meant to them. I didn’t really understand that investment in something like a show on TV. Although, going through what I’ve been through, I now understand it. People can sometimes lift you up and let you down. Having a show to watch can fill that sadness in your mind with a story. Something better to help occupy your time with, where sometimes people in your own life can not help with.
These days, I watch TV not because of a lack of a social life ( which never came back, but it’s okay at this point. I’m not sure I really have the energy for one anyways anymore really) but because I truly enjoy the art form. It’s funny cause when I watch TV now I enjoy it more if I’m in a good mood. In this mood, I appreciate what I’m watching, I’m enjoying it, I’m invested in thoughts like, “Where is this going? or What just happened! What!”. I can be an animated or some might call “annoying TV viewer” especially when I watch a show like 90210, Revenge, or Nashville. Those shows had some crazy story lines that when watching I couldn’t help but shout out, like A LOT, “Wait! What! I soooo did not see that coming! What!”
I have to be in a good mood to really want to watch TV, and when I’m sad or depress I actually have no desire to watch any programs. There’s nothing worse, as far as TV is concern cause there are bigger problems in this crazy world (DUH!), than watching something and your mind isn’t in it. In all honesty, that was my mood tonight which resulted in this article about why I watch TV when I’m happy and not when I’m sad.