Navigating the World of Media with Anxiety/Depression

One of the challenges I’ve had on a near daily basis is juggling my general desire to still enjoy TV shows, movies and books without it adversely triggering a depressive episode or ramping my anxiety.

It’s a very fine line I have to juggle yet some times, some themes and depictions pique my interest. Released in Japan in 2016, the anime feature film Koe No Katachi deals with some very mature subject matter. The themes include deafness/disability, bullying, anxiety, depression even suicide is discussed. Unfortunately while the film had a limited theater release overseas, it has yet to have a US release date. I’m contemplating reading the manga but run the risk at utterly spoiling the movie. The few clips that I have seen and the trailer and reviews from other fans point to a very powerful story and an interesting depiction of some of the lows that are experienced by people who have suffered bullying or a sense of being ostracized.

Other recent shows have also touched upon similar themes. Manchester by the Sea, Thirteen Reasons Why come to mind. Knowing a bit of my sensitivity to these types of shows makes navigating popular and award winning shows a delicate balance. While I was able to finish Manchester by the Sea, it was a difficult viewing. Thirteen Reasons I had to stop by the second episode as the focus on suicide was becoming too much for me to comfortably sit through. While some folks are intrigued at the exploration of the types of sadness and depression shown in such works, I understand that for folks like myself who are living with it day by day it’s a very fine line between respectful artistic discussion and glamorizing it.

As you pick and choose the shows you view always try to keep a sense of perspective and know when to step away. There are still a number of shows from my past that I can’t watch due to various memories and triggers and shows that I actively avoid going forward due to how they impact me. It’s an extra layer of thinking that goes into things but with practice navigating them becomes easier.

Self Help Books and Perspective

As my therapy sessions are now more spread out I’ve continued to try to find books and other resources to help me maintain perspective and find ways to cope with my depression, divorce and all the small nuances in between.

One of the small aspects that I’ve found somewhat vexing lies in the approaches of both types of texts at times. Here’s the thing that I feel a lot of text misses. There’s depression and clinical depression.  Everyone’s felt depressed, usually that’s situational with very specific events that trigger it.  Divorce obviously being a big one. Clinical depression however isn’t simply triggered by any one thing at times. I find a lot of divorce books sort of gloss this over and the tone and approaches they maintain sometimes just feed into the negative loop of depression. On the other hand most texts about battling clinical depression don’t overlap with coping with major trigger events like divorce.  So you’re sort of left with one book in your right hand, and another in your left.

Most texts about coping with depression share common tools with those that talk about recovering from divorce. Therapy, communication, meditation, exercise are all common tools. Most books on divorce don’t discuss neurochemistry or other dietary changes to help cope they just gloss over avoiding “bad foods”.

I’m not trying to say that self-help books are useless. There’s valuable wisdom and insight now and then but you have to take it with a grain of salt. Books can’t pin point anything specific to you, it’s broad strokes. I try to remind myself of for everything I read. Much like those books, I feel my blog may verbalize my own pain and my own trials and I hope that if anyone chances upon it that they understand that there are people out there struggling too. Hopefully some of the tools I’ve listed help others.