Horror Movies Help Me Fight Depression

Horror Movies Help Me Fight Depression

They may frighten us, but they may have a positive effect on mental health.
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Horror movies are that special genre of movie that either people hate or love to hate. We shut our eyes, anticipate at what point the monster, ghost or murderer will jump out at us, and we check our pants for yellow stains after we have jumped out of our seats.

I have many friends who refuse to watch these movies with me because they just cannot stand the terror that they have to go through while watching Freddy Krueger stab through a bed. I understand that the anticipation and scare can be a daunting thing for anyone; it is not a feeling that people want to have to live through. I just happen to be addicted to watching horror movies, and they have been helping me cope with depression for years.


Now I am in no way a medical professional. While I do study psychology and have certification as an EMT, that does not mean that I am here to tell you that this is a foolproof treatment that can help everyone.

If you think you are currently suffering from any type of mental illness, then please seek professional help from a licensed therapist or psychiatrist.

I happen to suffer from a type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder, meaning my depression will manifest usually from late fall to early spring when there is less natural light, and the weather is mostly gloomy.

By the way, the change with daylight saving is a pretty big screw up for my mental state.


The biggest thing that depression does to me is that I will get trapped within my head, constantly thinking and over-thinking any thought or situation to the point where I cannot concentrate on seemingly normal tasks, and this wreaked havoc on my school work.

When I finally managed to see a therapist, she came up with a treatment that I never really thought would work. She suggested that I watch horror movies so that I wouldn't have to medicate myself. I'm not a stranger to medications for depression, but the drugs usually left me feeling like a walking zombie with absolutely no emotion whatsoever.

Horror movies cause me to get absorbed in the moment. I can put everything that is on my mind aside because I have to focus solely on what is happening on the screen. This happens more so than with any other genre because the horror movies are designed to make you focus on that anticipation of dread that has become such a cliche.

As soon as I get into the movie, everything else in the world can drop away as I await the chainsaw wielding maniac to come running out of nowhere.

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The next thing that horror movies do is release an incredible amount of adrenaline and dopamine into your system. Adrenaline is the hormone that your body secretes during moments of stress that causes your heart to start racing, palms to become sweaty, blood pressure to rise and you to become more alert.

All of this commonly comes together in what is known as the fight or flight response, gearing you to suddenly react to something that might attack you. It is also a pretty addicting feeling that leads to cases of adrenaline junkies. Combining that with dopamine, known as the feel-good hormone that activates the reward centers of the brain, means that when a lot of my friends shy away from the jump scares, I get hooked on the feeling of bliss that I feel after the scare is over.

This all combines to combat a real empty feeling that comes with my depression. I don't have to take a pill that manages levels of neurotransmitters when the seasonal affective disorder starts to creep up. Now all I have to do is make sure I take a nice long walk when the sun is out, and then I sit down and turn on a good horror movie, leaving the lights on of course. The last time I watched a horror movie with the lights off, my sister crept into the room and scared me so badly that we had to get the couch reupholstered.

Cover Image Credit: shnakebite91.wordpress.url

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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