How I got PTSD from watching reality T.V.

I had to look up “Go-go juice” on Google. Everybody was talking about Honey Boo Boo and her Go-go juice. I was curious.

Sweet Jesus!

That’s some janky jack up juice right there, huh? I should have remembered that thing about curiosity killing the cat and what not. I almost had a grabber reading about Honey Boo Boo, as I'm sure the little scamp will have herself in the near future if she keeps chugging that toxic slop.

I don’t watch reality television. Well, that’s a lie. Sometimes I watch the news, but it sucks the serotonin right out of me to watch beautiful people smile while talking about political corruption, rape and murder, so I actually READ the news most of the time. I realize that the local network news doesn’t really qualify as reality television as it is defined in pop culture today, but it’s more real than the semi-scripted garbage starring fame whores who will do anything to extend their 15 minutes. Of course I’m not talking about the hoarders on “Hoarders” when I speak of whores. Please don’t get confused.

I don’t even classify “Hoarders” as reality television and I defend my occasional viewing of that cluster-fuck as necessary for both professional research and personal motivation. One episode of “Hoarders” usually provokes me to binge clean the living shit out of my house. Or I just can’t sleep and I need something to exhaust me emotionally. A good cry will do that, you know?

However, because I have insatiable curiosity about all things human and being, I often find myself among people discussing the smutty scripted stuff like “The Real Housewives,” and “The Bachelor,” and I find that I’m fascinated what I hear. The reasons why people watch these train wreck television shows intrigue me. And the people I know who DO watch, don’t just watch one, they watch a fistful of ‘em. These are bright, articulate and interesting women who I love and respect.


Why do they do it? How did this happen? For some time now I’ve felt the NEED to understand. Not just my friends, but also the millions of other people who tune into to reality television. There are millions, right? Otherwise how the hell would these shows continue to crank out season after season of crap-tastic-ness? At least I thought it must be crap. Maybe it wasn’t crap? How the hell would I know since I don’t watch it?

My favorite author, Stephen King, has been quoted as saying, “To be a good writer you must do two things above all others: Read a lot and write a lot.” His words are always good advice for those working hard to improve their skills. As a writer who is also a clinical mental health professional and a friend to many, King’s words are also good advice for people like me who are always trying to improve their helping and understanding skills.

The simple words made me think about how important it is to pay attention to the things that can help me to understand people that are different than me so that I can be a better helper and friend. I figured that watching a few shows and getting out of my comfort zone would be a great way to do this. And quite frankly, I was starting to get tired of not knowing what the hell anyone is talking about during girl’s night out or on Facebook.

So I popped some corn, poured some java and sat down for a reality television marathon this morning. I watched an episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” and episode of “Here comes Honey Boo Boo,” the spin off from “Toddlers and Tiaras.”


I didn’t know I was capable of experiencing such a wide range of overwhelming emotion in such a short period of time. I wonder if this is how it feels to have a complete psychotic break, unable to string together a coherent thought and unsure if all the things you see and hear are real? I have NEVER felt so nervous and squeamish during an activity that was supposed to be pleasurable and entertaining. Is this really what people care about? Honey Boo-Boo squashing her mini-gunt (c*nt/gut combo for those of you not familiar with that word hybrid) and Kourtney Kardashian telling her mother to “Mind your own fucking business?”

I could not look away. I didn’t need an entire episode to get a basic understanding of these people and what kind of “reality” they provide their viewers, but dammit if I didn’t watch from start to finish. I was entranced, disgusted, enthralled, entertained, and finally just depressed. Sure, I got sucked into the stories, but they were shallow, predictable and sad. After watching both shows, I felt empty and cheated. My brain literally hurt. I could hear screaming and crying and I’m sure I felt brain tears leaking out my ears.

So I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need to understand the motivation of people who watch these shows, even if they are my friends and family members who I love and adore. The price might just be too high. I don't think I WANT to understand anymore and I now I'm left wondering why I thought for a second that I really needed to in the first place.

It's okay to like different things and have vastly different opinions on what qualifies as entertainment. I’m used to being left out of conversations with other women and hiding out somewhere with a book, all giddy and isolated while reading some fantastical fictional adventure. My friends and family have always respected my geek-ness, so why did I feel such a strong urge to blend in with them and try to like something I knew damn well I would enjoy as much as getting an enema from a guy named Bubba while laying on a snow drift all hopped up on Go-go juice while raccoons chew off my hair?

I’m going to think about this as soon as I can think again. I thought writing this would help. It didn’t. Even I can't make sense of this blog or my feelings. I think I'm in shock. Maybe some Go-go juice would get me "blog ready." I'm going to ask my therapist after I read a comforting short story by Stephen King about children who crucify people in cornfields. That one always seems to soothe me.

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