In this post I will explore what mental health means to me, and why I think that films, games, TV and more are good for it. I also have some recommendations for feel good watches.
Its Mental Health Awareness Week and that’s why I think it’s a good time to write a post like this.
It’s important to look after yourself and that takes on so many various forms and isn’t the same for everybody.
If you ever need to reach out, please do. Even if its here on this blog.
Mental Health and Me.
My own mental health is not something I have always reflected on. Those that know me unfortunately know I’m extremely rational. Things make sense in black and white. I always thought if I’m sad, don’t be. What a fucking idiot.
My second year of uni should have taught me this wasn’t the case and looking back, I am certain I was suffering with depression. I was a mess, all over the place, I’m surprised some of my friends stuck around. I will be forever in their debt. I also apologise to those I lived with, they didn’t deserve my erratic, crazy behaviour because I didn’t deal with my mental health well.
I finished this year in particular getting extremely ill on an attempt at a working holiday. When I came back, it was only uphill. I met my fiancé shortly after and couldn’t be more grateful. She is the love of my life. She’ll read this and well yeah.
I also struggle to burden people with my thoughts. I have that trait of ‘no one wants to hear’ so I don’t tell anyone. My biggest challenge these days is thinking that the people I like talking to don’t want to, so I wont. Sometimes this gets a bit much but I know how I can help myself.
I am coming to terms with what mental health means to me.It’s taken a long time.
I however have spent a lot of time reflecting, thanks to a certain little virus. I am coming to terms with what mental health is to me and how I live with it.
To me mental health isn’t about being in a mood (she always asks if I’m grumpy just to make sure), its about being uncharacteristic. I know that something isn’t quite right when something isn’t happening like it should. Do I take ages to get to sleep? Is my sleep disturbed? Am I eating regularly? Do I want to play games? Watch a film? Go out? Can I concentrate?
If the answer is no, then I should look after myself. As I said, I’m quite rationale so one thing has to mean another. I struggle in the grey areas that mental health brings out. These grey areas blur all these things together and you can’t figure anything out, so you just don’t.
All of a sudden you’re just sat in bed all day, spilling tea and can’t be bothered to do anything about it and just reach for another biscuit.
This goes from a few hours into a daily pattern for weeks. Everyone knows you’re fine because you said are.
Its important to understand if you’re not. I did this for a year and punished myself for it. I ruined my degree and probably spoiled one of those life events you’d get an achievement for on The Sims.
I did however find that I coped with what was going on around me by renting movies from Blockbuster. Its not even that long ago I just loved the walk and back. Playing games (mostly on my own) and watching TV shows recommended through Tumblr.
These all helped me get through a difficult time. They didn’t mend me, or necessarily make everything okay but they did take my wandering mind away from the grey.
So why Films, Games and TV?
At the top I said these were good for Mental Health. I think this because they are, extremely. Most people will admit that by now they’ve binge watched a show. That could be Game of Thrones, Top Gear, Love Island or a documentary about monkeys.
Everyone that has will have said they were engrossed, couldn’t get more and stopped thinking about anything else for that short period.
Some professors will tell you that media is a form of escapism (bet its Stuart Hall, it was ALWAYS Stuart Hall). They’re right. The stories we get involved with aren’t our own, so we prefer them when things get difficult.
Mental health doesn’t have a reason sometimes, it just goes a bit down.
Without them we would spend more time in the grey areas of our own head. The same applies for films albeit for a shorter period of time. But this could also mean a trip to the cinema, potentially with friends. This time is so invaluable and could have been the springboard you didn’t realise you needed.
Video games allow for more engagement but serve in the same purpose. They let you live out another life completely. You could be a treasure hunter, demon slayer, soldier or race driver. I love playing a good game more than anything. If I enjoy a game, sometimes that lifts me generally and it goes back to being black and white.
Mental Health doesn’t have a reason sometimes and it just goes a bit down, but for the same reason, watching Finding Nemo could be the medicine and you come out of it feeling okay. Below are some of the recommendations I have if you’re looking for a feel good experience.
Feel Good Recommendations
Black Mirror – San Junipero
First up is Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode. Black Mirror isn’t known for being feel good or happy. Charlie Brooker’s creation is a commentary on how we interact is technology and the dystopia this creates.
Most of the time it is dark, thought provoking and pretty grim. San Junipero is not the same however. Arguably Black Mirrors greatest episode this follows the journey of a woman called Yorkie (played by Mackenzie Davis) looking out for someone that made them feel something for one night.
Through Yorkie’s explorations through various time periods and settings we realise that San Junipero is a alternate reality designed for those that are towards the end of their life. It allows them to live young and free again.
This episode is so heart warming when it ends you wont help but have a smile.
Bring It On
Recently I sat down with some of my friends to discuss what feel good looks like to different people. One of them mentioned the film Bring It On. To them feel good was more about what they remember bringing them joy and holding onto that.
Bring It On is nothing special as a film. It is a sort of coming of age/ underdog movie about a cheerleading team. Kirsten Dunst leads this pic trying to make her team champions and prove to everyone she can do it. Meanwhile there’s teen love stories, great tunes and humour.
Films don’t have to be The Godfather to be good though. This film brings more joy to someone that some of the greats ever would and that to me is great.
From that conversation came Die Hard. One of my best friends will turn to some great action to feel better. Why not hey? Just seeing some great fight sequences, or chases or edge of the seat moments can help us feel more alive and give us a thrill.
Die Hard is a Christmas movie like no other. Its one mans mission to save his wife and other from a Christmas party gone wrong. One of the most iconic films to date.
There’s plenty more as well Brooklyn 99 (Netflix), Finding Nemo (Disney+) and Stardew Valley (PS4, Xbox and PC) are all brilliant, feel good forms of escapism. I know my fiancé would turn to something like Star Wars, Enchanted or Stardust for a good ol’ movie day.
All in all, without my love for Media (and music massively), I’m not sure how that year at uni would have gone, probably worse. Also now, whenever I’m feeling a bit out of character I turn to something like these above and think ‘I can’t wait for that’ and always feel a little better afterwards.
Find what works for you, share yours and we can all help each other when things get a bit more grey.