I am embarrassed to live in this era of binge watching. It is awkward that “Netflix and Chill” is a thing and that it’s possible to watch an entire season of Stranger Things in one day. That we as a culture can be so fully engrossed by the worlds unfolding on our screens and find the deepest connections through this pop culture while still being completely ignorant of the world outside and the very people existing next to us.
But as someone living with depression, I am also extremely grateful this pastime is available to me. I am thankful for the quiet isolation it provides while simultaneously making me feel like I had some form of human interaction. It is a mind numbing activity that still gives me the slightest piece of knowledge, even if that information is just knowing that Luke and Lorelai ended up together.
Netflix becomes more than a form of entertainment, and calling it a distraction doesn’t do it justice. It is now your occupation, your goal for the day, the reason to open your eyes. Because even if you are forced to leave the sweet comfort of your dreams, hey, you still get to live in a state of imagination.
And suddenly, you are engrossed in whether Meredith Grey will end up with McDreamy. Or you’re watching the fairy tale happiness of a bride saying “Yes” to the dress. And maybe for one moment you aren’t that girl with depression. Maybe in that instant you don’t feel so empty.
Netflix is an in-between state where there is just enough movement to call it awake while being close enough to the sleep I so desperately crave. And when the shades are down and the comforter is warm and the world is just Netflix and me, there are no hard decisions to make. I don’t need to decide if I am going to exert the energy necessary to finally take a shower or if I am going to venture downstairs to make a sandwich. I forget the raw scars that are on my wrist or the fact that I will probably add more to the collection tonight and I don’t have to decide if I care.
It isn’t until the magic is broken and the screen goes black and the soreness in my back and the tears in my eyes return that I have a choice to make.
I have ten seconds before the next episode begins. 10 seconds to decide if I will continue to avoid the world and forget responsibility. 10 seconds when I realize eluding reality is less painful than living it.
And so I let the time run out, once again entering my safe state of separation, and the cycle starts again, until the next countdown begins.