pleasant shows and movie suggestions?

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Scout

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pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« on: August 13, 2019, 05:18:12 PM »
Hey guys! I posted this to a reddit page, but wanted to get your perspectives since you know a lot more about where I'm coming from, just knowing what CPTSD is.

I'm having a lot of trouble either focusing on or enjoying things I used to love. Drawing, art, crafting, and especially movies and television. Drawing and crafting require a lot of concentration and resilience, both of which have been in dire supply lately, but the problem with movies and television is that everything is so horribly sad, violent, or depressing.

Take that sweet little Disney film, Tangled--loved it when I saw it in my 20's, but now see her as a barely-surviving long term trauma victim of the narc stepmom. Waaay triggery. Many entertainment media are sneaky like that, and are actually incredibly violent, sad, or bleak.

I'm looking for things (including books) with the vibe of the movie Stardust--just a pleasant, regular movie with good scripting, decent acting, and good production quality. Or, if lacking any of those, just a feel-good movie that isn't faith-based or slapstick silliness.

Other movies I liked a lot: Cloudy with A Change of Meatballs, the first animated one ("Steve! Gummy Bears!"). I also enjoyed Failure to Launch (bc Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, and Kathy Bates are so great in it), Wedding Crashers, and for some reason You, Me, and Dupree. Practical Magic was a good one, and the Harry Potters and Lord of the Rings were good before I watched them way too many times. I tried to pop in LoTR again and the orcs were an instant turnoff.

I have a lot of triggers right now, and I'm looking to avoid:

--Any animal violence. At all. No dogs looking for dead Richard Geres, or Zooey Deschanel drowning kittens because she's too poor to pay for their vet bills. (I read on one forum the Golden Compass is good, but then read that a polar bear whacks off another polar bear's jaw and there is a lot of animal CGI violence.)

--Any real-feeling human violence. (Example: Big Little Lies is well done, but I can't get through it because it's too real. Silver Linings Playbook is supposed to be good, but I don't know how serious the mental institution stuff will get.)

--Avoiding dark comedies, as they are often more depressing than dramas.

--Shows or movies that seem okay at first but then turn on you. (Ex--Downton Abbey and Selfridge's seem fine at first, but then it's all blood, violence, PTSD, etc. in the later seasons).

I hope you guys will understand where I'm coming from with this request. I don't want to just avoid all triggers, but I need to create more safe spaces and learn that I can safely enjoy things again.

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notalone

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 05:56:20 PM »
This is a tough one, because anything can be triggering. Awhile ago I was watching a movie with my husband and the barrette in the little girl's hair was triggering! I tend to go more toward children's movies these days, but as you said, those can be upsetting too. Last night I watched several of "The * VanDyke Show" with my kids. Fairly safe, but there were things that could be upsetting to some, eg. in one episode, "Robert" was hypnotized and acted drunk.

Looking forward to seeing others' responses.

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Scout

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 06:06:40 PM »
Notalone, that response makes me feel a little better... My mom was always a very picky, impossible to please narc, and I have a hard time constantly telling my partner, " I can't watch this," even though it's something you said, like a barette, or whatever. I have always been tough and brave, the girl who kills the spider in the tent when the other girls run screaming, so not being able to make it through a Pixar movie makes me feel prissy and picky and totally unlikeable.

I don't want to avoid everything forever, I just think it would be healthy for me to start finding some happy places, to recover in those until I'm strong enough to handle triggers. Right now, it feels like just about anything can capsize me. Going out to eat is scary because the waiters are mean and the one meal I always get will come out so peppery I can't swallow it. Hiking is scary because of off-leash dogs and jerk owners who don't care whether it's illegal or you're afraid of their dog. I could go on, but at this point I'm becoming a very bored agoraphobic, and I don't want that.

I just need to rediscover safe areas where I can recharge, and learn that calm and happy are possibilities, and practice those.

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Snowdrop

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 06:22:44 PM »
I know what you mean about things being triggering, and I guess the problem is that it can be a very individual thing.

You could look at the reviews for the TV series Lark Rise to Candleford and see if that sounds OK? I find it safe and comforting, and it's generally seen as being a warm and gentle show to watch on a Sunday night. Preferably with a cup of tea and a blanket.

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Bach

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 08:48:30 PM »
I completely understand about triggering movies and shows, and about how hard it is to ask for sensitivity about it from a partner.  Learning how to say "No, this is not okay for me right now" instead of mentally calling myself a wimp and sucking it up and watching things because My Person wants to has been a difficult but very important step in my self-care.  And Pixar movies!  Argh!  In almost every one that I've seen, there's at least one scene that makes me cry like a fool.  Some of those scenes almost make me cry just thinking of them.  I've really enjoyed most of the Pixar movies I've watched at times of relative emotionally stability, and considered Toy Story 1-3 to have been that rarest of all things, a perfect film trilogy, but I haven't yet been able to bring myself to go see Toy Story 4 because it came out around the same time as my recent major retraumatising, and I know I just won't be able to handle it right now.  I would never look to a Pixar or a Disney movie to distract and brighten my mind when I'm in a less emotionally stable time.

As for suggestions, Jane The Virgin is a wonderful TV show.  There's a little mild and cartoony violence in it and some very emotional moments, but those moments are treated with respect and not done with emotional violence or cruelty.  Episode 98 out of 100 does have a genuinely scary abduction scene, but over all I found it to be a funny, cute, lighthearted, uplifting show that never left me upset, freaked out or unable to sleep. 

A great movie for me was Central Intelligence, which I absolutely adored because although it was a story about bullying, it was done with a lot of empathy and sensitivity towards the issue, and although it was a silly comedy, it was neither brainless, depressing or dark, and it ultimately had a beautiful point to make. 

If you have Netflix, they have a couple of competition-type shows that are fun, good-natured and very relaxing to watch, these are Nailed It, which is a humourous baking show in which amateur bakers try to replicate fancy baked goods, and Blown Away, which is a very straightforward show featuring glass artists.  Nailed It has very funny and charming hosts, and Blown Away is fascinating if you like to watch artists work with glass.  The only potential issue with Blown Away is that I know some people are triggered by the sound of breaking glass, and that does happen once or twice per show.

Another TV show I loved was one that aired on ABC a few years ago, called Downward Dog.  It was sweet and funny show about the life of a young woman as seen by her dog.  There were only 8 episodes of it, and I still hope that some day it might be brought back.  I'm not sure whether or not it can still be watched on ABC On Demand, but it's currently on Amazon and Vudu.

Great thread!  I hope you find some good suggestions. 

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Jazzy

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 11:03:51 PM »
Yeah, it can be tricky. Sometimes I'll think I'm totally safe and get triggered off something anyway. I still seem to start crying over the slightest little thing, though it doesn't last long anymore. One thing I find very helpful (even right at this moment) is instrumental music. No words to trigger me, so its almost always safe. As you might have guessed, I listen to a lot of jazz... mostly smooth jazz.

As for shows, when I'm in a really rough spot I watch discovery channel type stuff. Not necessarily animals or documentaries, but shows like "How Stuff Works", "How its Made", etc. It might get boring after a while, but it should be pretty clear of any triggers, and you end up learning something at the same time. If you remember any of it, you can use it if you are in a situation where you need to make small talk. If you feel you can handle a documentary, they're full of "huh, that's interesting" moments as well. Take care! :)

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Scout

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2019, 05:17:08 PM »
You guys, thanks for all these suggestions! Instrumental music is also a good one--jazz is cool but jars me, so I have started listening to things like "calm classical" and such.

Mostly, it makes me feel a lot better that I'm not the only one who struggles with media. I hate feeling difficult or picky, but so much sets me off, making me even more afraid of everything, even the "easy" things, because those are often the ones that sneak up on you the fastest and the worst, and then it makes you even More afraid of everything.

I know this is just a forum, and I wish I could meet some of you in person--but this is more than I've ever gotten, and I really appreciate it. (PS, along those lines, Supernormals by Meg Jay, which I'm only able to read in spurts due to emotional overload issues mentioned in this thread, gave me a little of that same comfort if anyone is looking for more examples of us.)

Win report: I had a bad, bad, BAD day on Sunday and Monday. I'm talking couldn't get up off the floor, at one point was howling like a dog-child hybrid grieving its own existence. It hasn't been that bad in over a year, but I hit trigger after trigger after my first week of delving into the CPTSD Workbook (and of course that PTSD drive made me do way too much, but I never know what is too much until I hit a wall), and I ended up on the floor for 24 hours, totally comatose, unable to even make words come out. So, not proud of that. But I broke. I just broke.

And then I slept, and I kind of got over it. Too much happened too quickly, and every part of me shut down, said to stop, and I grieved when I howled. And then yesterday I took it slow, I went from task to task to task, one at a time, and I made some cool things. I didn't freak out when they weren't perfect. I reminded myself that setbacks happen, and I didn't dwell on the floor day or beat myself up about it. Maybe floor days just happen sometimes, and I'll get better and learn to slow things down before I hit the floor.

And I think part of that was knowing I had a place--this place--where there were some others, where someone maybe understands.

I don't need you guys to be perfect--I'm just really glad someone is there. Even if it's only in the computer. That someone else might get it, what all this is, how heavy it can be, how much there is to carry and sort and repair. And how tenuous and grateful I feel that I can say this and don't necessarily need to apologize for telling you, that I can tell someone I had a Floor Day and they won't think I'm all the worst things some people would assume, without knowing, without taking the time to get it.

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Blueberry

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2019, 07:58:06 PM »
 :hug: :hug: I've had Floor Days before too. Glad I'm not alone with that.

I don't have a TV so can't help you with show suggestions. However for maybe 4-5 years I couldn't watch movies at all. In the first couple of years, I couldn't read books either - the suspense was too much for me. The first time I started reading again was the first volume of Harry Potter, for the first time. I certainly had to put it down from time to time mid-page and sometimes I would skip ahead into the next chapter so that I knew that Harry and co. were still alive. Then I might go back to read the scary part with palpable but manageable anxiety. Or not, if it was too much. You can't do that in a movie theatre obviously and it would be harder at home if somebody else is watching.

I'm still very careful about what movies I watch. I can manage most children's films but I always take something to hold in my hand to calm me and I sometimes look away for a bit and/or explain to my ICs that it's not real, though I've been watching movies again for about 10 years now.

I'm sorry I don't have any concrete suggestions for you, but you're definitely not alone with this problem.  :wave:

 

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Jazzy

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 10:58:13 PM »
Scout, sorry to hear you had such a bad day. It happens though... unfortunately. However, it sounds like you've done a great job of picking yourself up and moving forward, so be proud of that! :)

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notalone

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2019, 03:43:43 AM »
I feel compassion toward you and the pain you were feeling those 24 hours. I went through several months where I spent considerable time on the floor every day, blanket over my head. All this (trauma) is too much to carry and is really heavy.

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Scout

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2019, 06:19:38 PM »
Thanks so much for the kind replies and all the understanding. I really always felt, in recent years where I'd "go dark" like that, that I was the worst and most broken person alive. And not that I want that for anyone, but knowing there are others who understand how hard these battles are (and how constant) makes me feel a lot better. Like this is not who I am, it's just a consequence of how I grew up.

Yeah, movie theater movies have been out for me for awhile now, unless it's a special circumstances. All those people, the darkness, not knowing what is going on behind me. And then we went to see the cartoon short film award winners, and it was trigger central. I literally couldn't stop crying, and I was there for a meetup, so I was paralysed--if I left, they'd wonder what was up. I couldn't make a sound or move. Each film was triggerier (like that word? I do) than the last one, and now I'm scared to death of going to the movies.

I'd like to think that we can reach a place where a lot of this stuff is healed, where the world isn't chock full of constant throwbacks and sudden time machines and generally upsetting stuff, everywhere. Can that happen? Does that exist? A time and place in the future where we don't have to be constant soldiers, where we can just be people who experience things and aren't at the mercy of all this?

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ShadowsOfLuna

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Re: pleasant shows and movie suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2019, 08:11:14 PM »
I absolutely LOVE Bob's Burgers. It is always a safe and lovely show. I once had a friend that watched a LOT of Clarence, because it is an even safer show. Very soothing. Bob Ross always has a 24/7 twitch channel.