I Still Can’t Watch Television

Nothing has changed since I first reported my disability in regards to watching television and followed up later. I still can’t watch.

My daughters brought a DVD of a popular movie to watch last weekend. I helped them put it in the player and switch it on. I immediately had to leave. The machine repels me. It signals my brain and switches off my ability to sit comfortably. I hid in my room and paced the floor simply knowing it was playing. I emerged a couple of times to stand and watch briefly, but I always retreated to the safety of my room.

Over the past couple of years, I have talked to numerous other people with bipolar disorder, and they often report the same experience. It’s truly mystifying.

I noticed several years ago this discomfort was not strictly limited to the television. I also intensely dislike videos on the Internet and movies at the theater. My dearest friend sends me links to humorous videos, and I lie. I tell her I watched them, but I don’t. I will often click the link to see the title, but I will quickly turn it off.

I quite simply can’t sit through visual stimulation from a video source.

A good friend once told me I was missing nothing, but this discomfort is something more. It is a true disability. When the television is on in the house, I must pace. My mind races, and I can’t be calm.

I want to write that it’s bizarre, but I don’t want to demean me in any way. This disability hampers my enjoyment of life.

It’s not an inability to concentrate. I can write entries on this blog, and that exercise requires time and effort.

It has nothing to do with the flickering television tube since my unit is a new high-definition model. The computer screen, too, is HD. There is something about receiving stimulation from video that is inherently disconcerting.

Movies are a chore, and I turn down dates with friends to attend. If there is a particular one I really want to see, I often fortify my mind by taking an extremely low dose of a sedative beforehand.

I have been this way for a very long time. It’s been decades since I was able to enjoy a television show. I would like it to change. From what I can surmise, watching television is relaxing and makes people laugh. I’m excluded from that pleasure.

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17 thoughts on “I Still Can’t Watch Television

  1. I have Bipolar as well and count my distaste for television a blessing, not a curse. I appreciate your frustration, but would encourage you not to fight it and instead explore the world in other ways, as you are with this blog.

    On a related note, I’m currently working on a spiritual memoir entitled “Delight in Disorder: Meditations from a Bipolar Mind”. Currently, I’m working on “The Study” chapter where I reflect on books that have impacted my understanding of mental illness as well as list other works of art (books,movies,visual arts, music) worth exploring.

    I’d love for you to visit my site and share what you’ve found helpful. The post is here –

    http://writingforfoodinindy.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/madness-in-media/

    Hope to see you around.

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  5. I put it partially down to the large number of white or black flashing stills they separate some takes or camera positions with. Also possibly the rhythm of the movie or tv could be out of sync with eye signal/brain patterns – how many frames is it in the different tv formats? It’s a shame I use to enjoy tv & the movies but now no more.

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  7. I to cannot watch television. I can watch films or binge watch tv series (to the point that it becomes feature length). I feel my brain cells dwindle when I watch tv other wise. I also pace or get up every few minutes if my parents are watching TV. I tend to avoid tv on my own. Internet videos can bore me, I tend to use services such as YouTube for short entertainment videos or How-to’s for something I’m trying to accomplish. If I am watching a film or tv programme I’m not particularly interested in with my girlfriend, I tend to fall asleep.

  8. Sorry if I’m not supposed to comment for I have not been diagnosed, but i am beging to find it hard to watch television I feel very numb and overwhelmed at the same time when I do. I find myself feeling very kind of depressed when I watch it like my brain is being washed over, I think it’s the noise I turn off the volume and that mostly takes care of my problem but the lights do bug me also.

  9. Hey, I had the same problem. there’s a lot of smart and helpful people on t.v. the saying we are one is said for many reasons. t.v brings us closer together. Most people shut off their own brains while they watch and flow with other watchers. While you’re manic you vibrations are off balance, and weird things happen. Things start to feel invading, words seem to sync to your own life. Same as being in crowded area’s. Your soul is searching for answers that your brain is not trained to comprehend. I’ve learned to make this a positive thing. I consider this a form of enlightenment, not quiet understood yet. Scientists are researching collective consciousness for a reason. It tends to happen a lot more then we talk about. Your soul is energy, and energy is always around. T.V and radio are a forms of energy. Think of how many books, movies and songs are about paranormal activity in electronics. it can be scary to realize how close we all are. (universal energy) Many people have felt this. Focus on the words and rhythm that are effecting you. maybe you are at a higher state of being. Try to come back into yourself and remind yourself of how you used to watch and enjoy t.v. Sometimes it will not work because your soul is crying out for answers. Focus on the feel and theme of the show. Pretend your an actor or actress in the show and let yourself be dramatic. It will release tension. if you want to engage, talk back. Sometimes if your in flow with the show, you will feel like they are responding. it’s just how collective conscious works. It’s kinda cool if you ask me. Also read about Quantum physics. Science has come along way, and that helped me tremendously to understand what I was feeling. Good luck, I hope this helps, 🙂

  10. Hey, I had/have the same problem. there’s a lot of smart and helpful people on t.v. the saying we are one is said for many reasons. t.v brings us closer together. Most people shut off their own brains while they watch and flow with other watchers. While you’re manic you vibrations are off balance, and weird things happen. Things start to feel invading, words seem to sync to your own life. Same as being in crowded area’s. Your soul is searching for answers that your brain is not trained to comprehend. I’ve learned to make this a positive thing. I consider this a form of enlightenment, not quiet understood yet. Scientists are researching collective consciousness for a reason. It tends to happen a lot more then we talk about. Your soul is energy, and energy is always around. T.V and radio are a forms of energy. Think of how many books, movies and songs are about paranormal activity in electronics. it can be scary to realize how close we all are. (universal energy) Many people have felt this. Focus on the words and rhythm that are effecting you. maybe you are at a higher state of being. Try to come back into yourself and remind yourself of how you used to watch and enjoy t.v. Sometimes it will not work because your soul is crying out for answers. Focus on the feel and theme of the show. Pretend your an actor or actress in the show and let yourself be dramatic. It will release tension. if you want to engage, talk back. Sometimes if your in flow with the show, you will feel like they are responding. it’s just how collective conscious works. It’s kinda cool if you ask me. Also read about Quantum physics. Science has come along way, and that helped me tremendously to understand what I was feeling. Good luck, I hope this helps, 🙂

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