Crime Shows And Anxiety
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Violent Shows Don't Cause Anxiety And Nightmares, Thanks For Your Suggestion

When people want to blame your problems on crime shows, you decide if they're right.

Criminal Minds

Some of my all-time favorite television shows are "Criminal Minds" and "Law and Order: SVU." Very gruesome, violent, and dramatic shows to watch on the daily. So if I'm having issues with anxiety, are these shows the main culprit? Maybe. No one truly understands how anxiety works.

But what if anxiety got worse at the same time as watching such shows... coincidence?

For me, yes and no. My mother knew about my anxiety and how it causes nightmares for me in the last year or so, so like many people do, she asked if too much "Criminal Minds" could be the problem. I did not believe her, but we made a deal that for three weeks I would only watch happier TV and Netflix shows and see if it changes anything.

Here's what happened.

My dreams continued to be whacky, scary, and vivid. But it was different. Colors changed, storylines changed, and the people in them changed. Clearly, the shows had an effect on what was going on in my subconscious - but they didn't start the problem. As unpleasant as it is to learn, my psyche is already very anxiety-ridden. It seems maybe "Criminal Minds" and "SVU" fueled the fire, but without those shows I still had nightmares, I still had anxiety, and I still did not understand my anxiety.

It's nice to think that maybe there is some small part in my life I can alter to totally change my problems, but for most people, including me, that's just a lovely sounding myth.

Unless there's a treatable cause of your mental illness, you can't easily treat it.

I'm not saying that crime shows never raise stress and anxiety levels. But for me, it was evident that the crime shows didn't play a large enough role in my anxiety. If you are struggling with anxiety or just lots of stress, I encourage you to try some experiments like this. Even if you don't get the result you wanted or expected, it can teach you a lot about what's going on in your mental health.

At the end of every "Criminal Minds" episode, they squeeze in a quotation that relates to the episode. In this case, and to best conclude my findings, I'm drawn to one quote from C. S. Lewis: "Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn. My God do you learn."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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