My ode to The West Wing (aka the show that brought me back to life)

I had a snow day today, our 374th since January (it seems). And, since I had an exam yesterday and am currently in the WHEEE I DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT STUDYING FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER FEW DAYS!!! phase, I sat my derriere right down on the couch and did nothing for most of the afternoon.

And it was glorious.

I caught up on a few episodes of season 4 of Call the Midwife. I went down rabbit hole after rabbit hole on the internet. I drank tea. I pet the cats. And, at one point, I stopped and marveled at how good it felt to be able to sit and do nothing without feeling anxious. To actually feel happy and relaxed, and comfortable just with myself. And I credit that all to a wonderful little television show called THE WEST WING (said with a dramatic voice). (Okay, it doesn't get all the credit, but it gets a good chunk of credit, so let's just go with that, okay?)

But seriously. In a period of my life where I was overcome with anxiety and depression, feeling terrified and alone and utterly lost, I watched the first episode on Netflix completely on a whim.

And then I watched the second episode.

And then I watched the third episode.

And it became my nightly ritual to watch an episode before bed, and suddenly that time at night that had felt the most terrifying and lonely and sad suddenly became not so terrifying and lonely and sad. I imposed my own little bedtime routine: wash face, brush teeth, contacts out, glasses on, c'mere, Jed Bartlet. I lived for that bedtime routine. It became such a comfort, such a solid and safe part of my day that eventually, daytimes got a bit easier too. I watched every single episode of that show in three months and loved every minute of it. It was free therapy alongside my real (not free) therapy. And oh, good grief, you'd better believe I cried my eyes out when it was over.

I did have some anxiety thinking of what would happen when it was over. But at that point, time and therapy and friendship had worked its magic and I was doing better. My nightly routine that had buoyed me through so many days had worked — the storm was subsiding, and I was still standing.

And I found myself not so scared of being alone. Even enjoying it, really. Now I'm fiercely protective of my alone time. I crave it, and enjoy it 99.7% of the time. I have my morning rituals and my evening rituals and they start and end my day on such comfortable notes. And with that comfort and knowledge of stability, I'm able to break those routines every once in a while, knowing I can always go back to them. It's been so freeing, still, two years since I watched that first episode.

And that's how Jed Bartlet and his crew helped me find myself again.