No, your eyes didn’t trick you. Yes, this is another post about Netflix.
Netflix has become quite popular over the years as it offers commercial-less television shows and movies that are updated constantly throughout each month. It has went from a website for ordering delivery DVDs to an app that lets you watch anything it offers, anytime you want, without ever leaving your couch or bed. This is a convenient concept in theory, but in all actuality, it’s potentially harmful to the viewer.
I’ve found a lot of my favorite shows on Netflix. From Supernatural to Lost to Gilmore Girls. Netflix offered the opportunity to watch them not only one after the other, but uninterrupted as well. When it came to shows friends wanted me to watch, it was easy to catch up to where they were in the show.
As for movies, watching different genres in the same night is an easy task. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched horror movies with friends and then had to find something humorous after to release the tension. Netflix came in handy for those nights when we didn’t want to wake up anyone else in the house and even for those nights where I wanted to watch movies alone. And, when it came to being unsure on a film, there’s no monetary consequence for just giving something a try.
If you were ever a student proceeding the years Netflix became popular you are completely aware of the dangers it presented. On a time sensitive assignment, you watched Netflix instead of working because it brought happiness rather than stress. Though a good stress reliever, it demands all of your time; especially in a television series. “Just one episode” becomes two and then three, and then it turns into “might as well finish this season.” Next thing you know, it’s two in the morning and the paper that you haven’t even started yet is due the beginning of class seven hours later. Thus creating a new level of stress.
If blowing off assignments for Netflix wasn’t bad enough, imagine Netflix becoming your new normal. You don’t leave the house, you don’t socialize. You live vicariously through the people you see on screen. Life becomes empty and meaningless. You watch show after show, movie after movie, day after day. Pretty soon you’re not living your life anymore, you’re watching someone else’s. Though this may be tempting to some, it’s just a form of escape. This can be dangerous not only for those living with mental illness, but for all.
For me, I lost all forms of interest. I didn’t want to go outside, I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I didn’t even answer the phone while watching Netflix. But soon the shows became less and less satisfying as well. I’d find myself craving a life like those I saw on the screen but it seemed so far out of reach. I recognized this dilemma, I knew Netflix harmed my social life, yet I still continued watching. Whenever a problem arose, I’d be there watching Netflix. It’d numb the issue, but only for a little while and ultimately make things worse in the end. I spent full days watching Netflix, which produced little productivity in my life.
After truly examining how certain behaviors made me feel, it turned out Netflix was my biggest depressor. It took me away to a land where everything seemed alright, but it was really just a facade. I was no longer living, just barely surviving. However, it came to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I hated feeling so down and sad all the time and knew something needed to change. Thankfully, I had friends who recognized this too and provided the support to ween off so many shows at once. Aside from watching another’s, I was able to live my own life again, which actually brought me happiness even if just a little.
I’m not saying to give up Netflix entirely, but I do urge you to pay attention to how it’s affecting you both emotionally and mentally. Binge watching, though attractive, can be detrimental towards mental health. And, above all, don’t forget to live.