Mental Health A-Z: T is for Top telly to watch when you’re depressed

Mental Health A-Z: T is for Top telly to watch when you’re depressed

As I’m curled up on the sofa in the clutches of depression once more, in the onesie that I haven’t got out of for three days (yes, onesies are back – spread the word (did they ever leave?!)), I got to thinking what else I would do when I felt so terrible other than become a statue in front of the television. The conclusion is nothing. I would do nothing else but watch TV all day because telly is the best.

During my battle with depression and other mental illnesses, I have often found myself relying heavily on various programmes or films to get me through the day. Therefore, I have compiled a list of all the best telly to sit in a catatonic state in front of for when the time comes:

#1. Parks and Recreation
I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. This means that I have periods of being a giant vessel lacking all emotions and the capacity to function as a human being. During a depressive episode, I watched all seven seasons of Parks and Rec, and genuinely feel as though it got me through that dark, dark time. Not only was it laugh out loud funny and sometimes so ridiculous it would have you weeping in hysterics, but the characters make you become emotionally invested in their storylines, due to their warmth and kindness. It’s not too deep, it doesn’t require much thought, and it’s just a very pleasant programme. Also, I’m sure the enthusiasm and positivity of Leslie Knope is contagious.

#2. 30 Rock
Created by the mastermind that gave us Mean Girls, Tina Fey delivers once again with this fabulous series. Its hilarity is on par with Parks and Rec, and often had me in stitches in a time where I could barely crack a smile. It’s a bit more surreal than Amy Poehler’s creation, but sometimes when you’re depressed that’s just the trick to have to smiling again. It was also refreshing to see a woman like Liz Lemon love food as much as I do.

#3. The Millionaire Matchmaker
Because when you’re in the clutches of depression, it really is hard to feel anything except complete and utter numbness. However, once Patty Stanger starts destroying the Feminist movement each time she gets a chorus of “No sex before monogamy!” it awakens a fire deep within your stomach, allowing you to flirt with your emotions once again.

#4. The Real Housewives of [insert] 
There’s just something very satisfying about watching ridiculously rich people lead ridiculously frivolous lifestyles and complain about their first-world problems. Entertainment at its finest. Also, someone has a pet swan. Enough said.

#5. Dinner Date
Even though we know that each episode is going to end with the sentence “X and Y never saw each other again”, I still feel very excited about hearing what fun wordplay the potential chefs have acquired through the power of wit and alliteration. I love watching culinary cock-ups and then cringing at the awkwardness of a blind date. Again, any emotion is good emotion when you’re in a depressive state.Friends 

Well, obviously. This timeless classic sitcom never fails to make me roar with laughter, despite already watching each episode about 50 times.

#6. RuPaul’s Drag Race 
What better way to be cheered up than watching a parade of drag queens that are at the top of the game in their art, perform comedy, create couture gowns and throw shade at each other? The premise is to find the drag queen with the most charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to become America’s Next Drag Superstar. Imagine America’s Next Top Model, but with contestants who have more personality and a less self-absorbed judge.

Now of course, all of the above is just what has helped me during my experience, and it’s not to say binge-watching TV is the cure to depression or even healthy for you. However, it is to say that when you’re in a place where nothing seems enjoyable, and the Black Dog and sucked from you any feelings you might have one had, these are the type of programmes I would recommend.

It’s proven, and recommended by most health professionals, that leaving the house and exercising are great for depression. Leading a balanced lifestyle, mixed with the notion of mindfulness and potentially trialling SSRI’s (anti-depressants) is the usual recipe to overcome a depressive episode. And everyone who has experienced depression knows that, as we’ve been told somewhere around 1,000 times by what feels like 1,000 different mental health professionals. Yet, sometimes you’re just not there. Sometimes your depression has you so suffocated that you can barely move – and that’s okay. That’s why I wrote this article.

Hannah Lewis

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