How reality TV is helping my mental health (no joke)

I must be the first person ever to state this, and I’m well aware of the controversy. After all, 38 deaths have been linked to former reality star contestants, and the online trolling has been horrendous. How come someone as outspoken about mental health as I cannot keep away from Love Island each night?

Many view reality TV as the scum of TV, and not too long ago, I would have agreed. Everyone at work was watching it however, and I was keen to jump in on the conversations. So I started watching one episode. And then another. I would stay up way past midnight to make sure I had caught the latest episode, just so I wouldn’t feel left out the next day.
Years later, I’m still watching, and mourning the victims the format has taken.

But without doubt, Love Island has been beneficial to my mental health. How is that possible?

I start my day with the Love Island podcast, then wait for the Teaser at 1pm each day, then catch the episode at 9pm, going to bed reading tweets about the episode. The series gives me a routine and regular dopamine boost, and I feel part of something that people are (way too) passionate about. I scroll past derogatory comments, but can’t help but feel that I somehow enable them.

I’m a sucker for fandoms and die-hard communities. Now that Game of Thrones is gone, I look forward to Love Island starting each season. The content is very straight-forward, and it feels like I’m watching potential friends. Of course, the hypocrisy is not lost on me.

In a way, reality TV allows introverts to get the full spectrum of friendship and romance without ever having to leave their house.

For now, I won’t (and cannot) stop watching reality TV.
It’s my daily socially acceptable form of cocaine, except that instead of hurting myself, I am contributing to a culture that hurts the very people I am rooting for.
What do we think? Yay or nay to the multimillion dollar industry that is reality TV?

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