Symptom management: the bread-and-butter of living with a mental health issue; the strategies which get you through the day (or the night).
One of my go-to strategies at the moment is “electronic valium” – the good old idiot box – television.
Yes, yes, it’s an avoidance strategy, and we all know avoiding isn’t the answer, right? But it does have its place in a well-rounded symptom management regime.
I meditate and I exercise, both activities which stop the mind churning, and both possibly more politically correct techniques than watching TV. But when good old anxiety grips the chest, or my heart gets that stone-like feeling as my mood plummets depressed-wards, a quick dose of “electronic valium” proves an excellent non-pharmaceutical calmative.
I remember hearing there was some research about that demonstrated the brain is less active watching TV than when we’re asleep. I can believe it! I feel my mind activity flattening out, my muscles relaxing, the chemical soup in my veins switching from bitter to sweet. What can I say? It works.
Perhaps, in order for it to work, you have to be willing to submit to it – become engrossed in what’s on the small screen, and focus on it wholly. I suppose you could say that watching TV in this manner is a type of mindfulness or meditation. (I wouldn’t say it too loudly or too often, though! And only around people who know how to laugh!)
Well, I would write more, but I’m scheduled for an hour-long dose of “electronic valium”.
Signing off … and switching on.