An exploration by a certified binge-addict
In today’s day and age binge watching is accepted as part of our culture. Though it may be laughable on the surface, at times, it can get in the way of achieving our dreams or the reason we fall into a depressed lull.
My friend once told me that if I wanted to stop feeling depressed to stop watching television — but that’s easier said than done in the age of the binge.
Binge is a form of escapism — something we do as a treat to reward ourselves at the end of a hard day or an excuse we use to get out of socializing.
And though it may start out as a harmless activity, it definitely doesn’t end that way.
According to an article on nbcnews.com, it’s proven that binge watching can be addictive due to the level of dopamine it produces in our brains.
“When binge watching your favorite show, your brain is continually producing dopamine, and your body experiences a drug-like high. You experience a pseudo-addiction to the show because you develop cravings for dopamine.”
-Dr Carr, Psy.D, Clincal Psychologist nbcnews.com
You can probably imagine what happens when your “favorite” TV show ends. There are withdrawals (just like any other drug). And undoubtedly you will look for something new to delve yourself into.
It might even be repeats of older shows that you watched when you were younger, but are now readily available for you on a multitude of streaming services.
I am not clinically depressed, but sometimes not being able to achieve my dreams faster and more effectively have negative impacts on my mental state. I often get harder on myself due to lack of productivity, disappointed and saddened that I can’t seem to get out of this slump that I have created.
Although I know that this is something that needs to be explored within myself to find a way out, currently I am battling both binge & food addiction — which I have found go hand in hand with each other.
There are times that I will be watching a TV show, forget the time, and have to order dinner/lunch via Uber Eats or Eat24 (which are usually not healthy options).
I’ll watch baking shows like The Great British Bake Off, unnecessarily crave treats and order something obscene on Amazon Restaurants.
But, how did this start?
When I first started binging, I had also just stopped exercising due to a knee injury. It was a new way to relax after work or a way to unwind on the weekends but slowly (and eventually) turned into an addiction.
This addiction got in the way of things that I wanted to accomplish in life. I was no longer exercising (at all), eating crap all the time, and was unmotivated to do anything.
Instead of networking and being social for the purpose of my business, I would binge-watch instead.
Instead of working on planning my content for socials, writing or learning new skills to make my side hustle a real money making business, I would get sucked into watching a whole season of something new.
Instead of getting enough hours of sleep at night, so that can be fresh and get in a morning work out/meditation etc., I am up until 3am watching a series I can’t get enough of.
You get my point.
The millennial generation often prides themselves on binge watching, joking that it’s something they would rather do instead of hanging out with their friends, date nights, working or socializing with others.
There are millions of memes that exist that promote binge-watching culture.
Previously, I was an extremist. If I thought I was gaining too much weight I would succumb to crash diet, if I wanted to stop watching TV I would get rid of my television — but because I never dealt with the root of my addictions first, I would always replace it with something else.
In the new year, I am taking actions towards a more balanced life.
Last year I learned an important lesson: that any kind of addiction is actually something that lacks from within ourselves. That we crave to be internally fulfilled by something but are unable to find it, so we turn to nearest unhealthy addiction (food, alcohol, weed, cigarettes, TV etc.)
It’s the reason that self-love is so important and why we must use our emotions to guide us. If we can do this effectively, we will find a way to impact the world, make the most of our days, and be the motivated/productive individuals we were meant to be.