Digital Culture

My Anxiety Makes Me Do It: Re-watching The Same Shows.

By Olivia Ross

While browsing on Instagram, I came across a screenshot that made me stop. Normally I ignore these ‘so relatable’ tweets but this one was interesting. 

The tweet in question.

Something to know about me? I never watch anything new. All that I watch are reruns of shows I’ve seen hundreds of times before. I can quote full episodes of Charmed, but if you ask me about anything recent, I will more than likely have no clue about it. The only times I do watch new things are with others, and that’s usually due to force. 

Looking into this further, I found an impressive amount of articles citing this as a symptom of anxiety. Some of which I will list below if you want to read further into it.

Nothing I read caused me to be alarmed by this little coping mechanism. It just interested me and allowed me to understand myself a bit better. 

The consensus from what I read was that this ‘rewatching’ routine was done as an almost symbolic comfort blanket, protecting us from the outside world and allowing us to escape to a familiar fantasy-esque bubble until we can go back to reality. 

Most of the articles referred to different psychologists, all giving their own opinions on the topic. With Dr. Neel Burton stating to HuffPost that ‘The things that we do feel compelled to rewatch or re-read are those that provide us with either comfort or perspective’

I can see how, during times of extreme panic or anxiety, I revert to this. Just last term, during Christmas break, while finishing some assessments, rather than reading something new, I reread a childhood favourite- The Percy Jackson Collection. By reading that selection of books again, it made me feel less guilty about taking a break from work as it wasn’t something I needed to focus too heavily on since I had read it so many times before. Unlike the university work I was doing, there were no surprises and I knew everything about it. It allowed me a small reprieve from the stress of deadlines, while still letting me get back to it all easily. 

I wouldn’t say this habit concerns me now. I’m not going to stop myself from rewatching something if I feel as though it’ll make me feel better. However, It does give me another inkling into how my mental health can affect even the smallest of things in my routine, and lets me see when I could potentially be getting a little too anxious at times. 

I’m happy I’ve looked into it. But as long as it is making me happy and keeping me relaxed, I guess I’m going to watch another episode of Charmed after finishing this off. 

Some reading suggestions: