18 June 2021 - Plots Stress Me Out
Let me be clear: this is only in reference to movie and TV show plots. But for some reason, I have always had this issue where conflict in a TV show or movie causes me to get a spike of anxiety, and if I have control over the playback, I'll pause it. When I was a kid and didn't know manners, I would run out of the room if I couldn't pause the TV. The issue is, this has gotten worse over time. I didn't quite realize this before, or at least not as clearly, but something happened today that instantly inspired me to write this diatribe. I was watching Youtuber "Quinton Reviews" discuss iCarly in-depth, and in mentioning the plot to one of the episodes, he played back a clip from said episode of a dramatic moment, causing me to have one of my anxious spikes and pause it (30:22 for the curious). The thing is, I remember watching this episode as a kid, and it didn't cause me an anxious spike like this, or at least not one bad enough for me to pause the show. And yet I did today. I know that I have gotten more anxious over time, but I guess it really goes to show how bad it has gotten. And it's a real shame, as it's limited what I have been able to watch over time. I don't know how to stop myself from having these mini freak-outs, and I wish it didn't happen to me.
Let me give a more clear example of how bad these anxiety spikes can get. I remember one time, at some point in 2020, probably in the Autumn, where I was watching the Season 2 episode of "Love Live!" with my friend Taemer on Discord. "Love Live!" is a Japanese show about a high school musical group that forms both for the love of music and to save their school from shutdown. Anyway, we had gotten to the graduation episode, where some of the members of the musical troop were going to graduate high school. The previous evening (or one before that) in which we got together to watch some of the show, there was a pretty dramatic moment where her and I broke down into tears. Happy cry, as it was sweet, but dramatic nonetheless. This time was dfferent. This time, as we started to watch, I got upset, really upset. I'm not sure if we even made it halfway through the 25 minute episode before I started to break down crying. She got concerned for me, and we ultimately had to stop watching the episode for the night. I remember I felt awful after this, not just because of what was happening on screen, not just because I started to become panicked due to entering a headspace that dragged me back to the hell that was high school, but because I had interrupted our viewing experience due to my anxiety that manifests int his dumb way. She didn't seem to mind all too much, her concern mostly over my emotional state. (She is a caring friend and I love her dearly as such.) I wasn't in the best headspace when we watched this, but I still believe that I have severe issues that I need to somehow figure out how to grapple with. Yes, we did finish the episode another night when I was in a better headspace and more able to handle it.
I have missed so much good TV over the past few years due to this anxiety with plots. The weird thing is, I don't feel this with books or webcomics! Strangely, I can read just fine without panicking, and get properly invested into plots and drama. It makes me all the more confused as to what I am even dealing with, and why. The fact that I react worse to iCarly at 20 years old then at 10 years old is worrying, and another sign that there is something definitely going wrong with me.