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.