We all know that Netflix is the enemy of productivity.
So, naturally, I switched to Amazon Prime.
(I didn't even get paid by Amazon for that lame joke..)
But every time a depressive episode strikes - normally once a year, lasting several months, and with more predictability than Easter - these TV shows temporarily distract my mind from dark places. They make me feel less alone and sometimes - SOMETIMES - they even make the sides of my mouth curl up into a little smile.
Everyone experience mental illness in a different way, but I hope these shows give you a metaphorical hug while you work through a tough time.
1. New Girl - Seasons 1 - 2
There's something about this adorkable show and its wide-eyed protagonist that is the very definition of light-hearted and a refreshing dose of innocence in a world of doom and gloom.
The premise is simple: Jess, a cutesy teacher with a warm personality who sings her own theme tune. moves in with three guys. She shares with them her appreciation for creature comforts, helps them navigate the dating world, and an understanding of the most awesome (and non-sensical) drinking game ever: True American.
Comparable to a modern-day Friends, this kind-hearted romp explores the life of a rag-tag bunch of ordinary people in their early 30s who have refused to grow up.
The jokes and slapstick situations are the obvious kind popular on American TV, but it's a show that's so adorable and relatable you find yourself loving its quirky characters.
Gentlemen, if my male friends are anything to go by, you'll find yourself wrapping yourself up in a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and watching it religiously.
(Bonus points FYI if the blanket's weighted and there's a pet involved - which research shows can both reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and calm an anxious mind. The hot chocolate is purely a tasty luxury.)
BEST FOR: A crash course in how to be kind and developing close relationships. Realising people can be drawn to you despite BECAUSE OF your cooky personality.
2. Cabin Pressure - Seasons 2 - 4
Ok, so this may not be a TV show but if I had written a blog post entitled 'Top 5 BBC 4 Comedies from Britain's Most Elitist Radio Channel' literally no one would have read it. NO ONE. Which would be a major shame because Cabin Pressure - which includes Benedict Cumberbatch before he was whisked off to Hollywood - is a gem of a show.
Don't be put off by the fact it's radio - it just adds to its genius comic timing. So genius, in fact, that it won a handful of awards, and nominated for some pretty impressive accolades - the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award, and Best TV/Radio Comedy of the Year.
With wit and character development in spades, the show's little team of conflicting personalities tackles hysterical situations arising in one of the world's most stressful jobs: piloting a bootstrap chartered airline with only one aeroplane. (An 'air dot', if you will.)
Be warned when listening on your lunch break public though - you'll be snorting into your Starbucks.
BEST FOR: A proper laugh. A masterclass in finding joy in the little things, adopting cheery relentless optimism in the face of engine failure, and learning creative problem-solving from the best.
3. Please Like Me - Seasons 1 - 4
Please Like Me is written, directed and stars Australian comedian Josh Thomas and is quite possibly the most devastatingly accurate depiction of mental illness to grace the screen.
With brutal dark humour, quiet desperation and licks of sarcasm, the show sees Josh navigate his low-key life in suburban Australia with his friends and family - who have as many issues as the rest of us.
Can suicide ever be funny? No, no it can't. And the show reels unforgivably between heart-wrenching conversations on the subject, to moments of painfully funny honesty - such as his best friend's very strong feelings about bread.
If you've ever felt alone in managing your mental illness and berated yourself for being too scared to complete simple tasks watch this clip involving Josh's anxious boyfriend and a shopping trolley, and you'll be sure to feel a little less alone.
BEST FOR: An honest look at mental illness - whether you manage one yourself or support someone else.
4. Veep - Seasons 1 - 4
If you're running a business and/or managing a team, you'll likely have been in some pretty high-octane situations and embarrassed yourself more than once. That's fine, it happens to all of us - even the (fictional) Vice President of the United States.
Never taking itself too seriously, Veep follows the ballsy 5"3'-tall Veep, Selena Meyers, on her race to the White House with her team of lackeys. Incompetency is rife and every other word is an imaginative insult. In the later
BEST FOR: Comic relief from the stress of work. Masterclass in how NOT to handle a crisis.
5. Friends - All Seasons
Does this need an explanation?
As I drag myself around an empty flat in the midst of a sluggish depressive episode, just listening to the Friends cast bantering away in the background honestly makes me feel less alone in the world.
Plus they've pretty much replaced my actual friends as I've managed to isolate myself from everyone..
..and too anxious to call them up for fear of feeling like a burden.
BEST FOR: Creating the illusion you have friends around, thus feeling less alone.
As always, if you're suffering a mental health crisis and need support but don't know where to look, please check out MIND's user-friendly information page on where you can find a therapist or community services for yourself or someone else.