If you want to support Paper Beats World, you can do so on Ko-fi.
At the start of 2023, I was not in a good place. I’m doing better now. It was just a bad case of seasonal depression. But I decided to manage my depression by diving into my emotional support book series.
Series of Unfortunate Events.
It’s a long series, I’m still reading it. Currently reading the Grim Grotto. As a side note, you can always follow along with what I’m reading on Goodreads and Bookbub.
All that being said, I wanted to talk a little bit today about emotional support content. It’s been trendy on Instagram recently to share your emotional support content, and I am down for this. As always, I love that people turn to stories in times of darkness. We can always find light between the pages of a book.
Or other mediums, honestly. I have several emotional support shows, like The Good Place, Schitt’s Creek and Futurama.
So, we already know that good fiction can brighten our lives when we feel dark. But why do we have these specific stories that we come back to over and over again? Wouldn’t a new story be a better distraction? I mean, I know what’s going to happen in every Unfortunate Events book. Can it engage me enough? Wouldn’t it be better to read something new, like finally getting into Sarah Mass or reading Wheel of Time like my husband has been trying to get me to do for years?
I took some time to think about it. While I was thinking, I also paid attention to how I was emotionally reacting to the new content I was consuming. And I realized something. Certain stories were making me sad because they reminded me of some of the very real traumatic events in my past. Things that are still hurting me today.
Yes, I could avoid content that might trigger these memories. Except, sorry to say, trigger warnings don’t work with trauma. Because you don’t always know what’s going to trigger your trauma.
Some things are clearly going to be impactful. I knew going in that things like Stephen King’s The Outsider was going to be upsetting. I did not expect a random episode of Agents of Shield to trigger me. I knew Inside Out was probably going to be hard. Didn’t expect Encanto to make me bawl.
A story doesn’t have to directly relate to the cause of your trauma to remind you of your trauma. So, unfortunatly, any piece of content could potentially upset someone.
Okay, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop reading, watching or listening to new things. I love new stories. And realistically, we are never going to live in a world where we are completely safe from memories of our past. I personally don’t think we should even try to, because I’m a big believer in shadow work and healing from my past.
But that work, my friends, is exhausting! And we cannot, should not do it all the time. So yes, there are times when we should fall back on our emotional support series.
I know how I’m emotionally going to respond to Unfortunate Events. There are no surprise triggers waiting for me. I can enjoy a story and give my emotions a rest.
Emotional support content doesn’t need to be uplifting or happy. Though my shows certainly are. The only requirements are as follows.
You’ve experienced the story before.
You know that your emotional reaction to this story will be positive.
So please, if you have a friend who is watching Parks and Rec for the fifteenth time, don’t judge them. They might just need a break.
I would love to know what your emotional support content is. Please let us know in the comments.
Leave a Reply