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Fueling the Flames of Pain: Why “This is Us” May Not Be For You!

While scrolling through my Facebook feed on Super Bowl Sunday, my heart began to ache as I read one post after another about how people were preparing to watch “This is Us” after the game. Everybody was sharing pictures of Kleenex and how they were preparing for the flood of tears they expected to experience. The problem with these posts was that the majority of the people posting them were already battling depression; which was obvious by their daily dark, sad, and angry status updates. I am not suggesting that “This is Us” is a bad show, in fact I am a fan of it, but I recognize that it’s not healthy to purposefully drown myself in sadness when I’m barely able to keep my head above water. Instead of giving up watching emotionally charged shows like this one, I am going to share what I do in order to protect my mental and physical health and why.

Adding fuel to the fire

When I am struggling with depression or experiencing a period of sadness, watching shows like “This is Us” produces the same results as pouring gasoline on a fire. It not only harms my emotional state, it also increases my physical pain from psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia. The flames become uncontrollable and harder to extinguish. They spread to all areas of my life and continue to burn for days, weeks, and sometimes months.

Preventing a forest fire

To protect my mind and body, I had to take action to avoid creating a firestorm. The first thing I did was to let go of the idea that I had to watch it when everybody else did. My mental health is more important than being able to live tweet about the show while it was airing. Instead, I watch it on Hulu during times when I am not emotionally drowning. I am currently half a season behind and that’s okay. I will watch the rest when I am ready and even then I know that I will have to assess my emotional status before I begin binging. Sometimes I am strong enough to handle a day or weekend of binging and other times I acknowledge that I can only handle an episode or two. By doing this I am still able to enjoy the show and experience the emotions, but instead of having them consume me, I am able to let them go afterward. If the emotions spawned from an episode are more than I can handle, I follow it up with a comedy.

“This is Us” is a fantastic show, but it’s not for me, and may not be for you, when struggling with emotional and physical pain.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.