Monday, December 23, 2013

Fangirl Confessions: Teen Wolf Saved My Life

That might sound a tad dramatic but if you’ve got a moment hear me out. Anyone that knows me, or reads my blog regularly, probably knows the story of how my love affair with Teen Wolf began. I was hungover after my dad’s birthday party and in a moment of weakness I decided to give that stupid MTV show about teenage werewolves a chance. What you don’t know is that at the time I was planning to commit suicide.

Trigger Warning: Suicide, Depression

It was about a year and a half ago and I had reached the point where I literally didn’t see any other option. I’ve suffered from depression since I was a teenager and I’d decided that enough was enough. I wasn’t questioning or wondering, I had made my decision and I was actually okay with it. I knew how I was going to do it, when I was going to do it, where I was going to do it, and I had even written a series of letters to the people I loved.

The plan was to do it after I finished my thesis. I have no idea why, but for whatever reason I thought it would be better if I finished something before I finished myself. Unfortunately that left me with about six months of debilitating depression to deal with, so I did the only thing I could do – I distracted myself with fiction.

Well I did a bunch of other things as well; I spent a lot of time with the people I love, worked incredibly hard to hide any hint of my unhappiness and genuinely tried to enjoy what I thought were my last few months on earth. But when I was alone, there was no hiding so I would bury myself in stupid stories; things that were good enough to be distracting but not so good that they made me care. I just didn’t think I had the capacity to care for anything else at that stage.

Teen Wolf was a no-brainer. I mean everyone remembers what they thought about it before they started watching – it wasn’t good. Come on, it’s based on a cheesy 80s horror parody and it was quite clearly only commissioned to cash in on the supernatural-romance fad. There’s no way it should have been good…  but it was or well it was good enough to make me care when I didn’t think I was capable of it.

It’s not like I watched Teen Wolf and BAM: DEPRESSION cured. In fact I didn’t even notice it was doing anything at first but now that I look back on it I can see it was the first time I wanted something in the longest time. I mainlined 21 episodes in 2 days, which is probably not healthy but it was just in time to catch 210 with everyone else.

It had been a while since I watched an episode of anything live with everyone else and I’d forgotten how much fun it could be. It wasn’t just me sitting in my alone in my room – I was part of a community and what a community! The Teen Wolf fandom was so enthusiastic and engaged and I just desperately wanted to be part of it.

Soon after that I started writing again and it wasn’t just a one off, I was writing steadily (check my blog for proof). That hadn’t happened in about 4 years. And despite my best efforts, I even got involved in the fandom. A few people (you know who you are) started talking to me. I hadn’t made an effort to actually make friends will my fellow fans in a long time (with a couple of exceptions). Mainly I just stayed on the sidelines and watched – like the creeper that I am.

By the time I finished my thesis – which wasn’t my best work but was a hell of a lot better that it would have been – I was completely obsessed with Teen Wolf and more importantly I was really looking forward to watching new episodes. So I decided to postpone my death. I wasn’t willing to let go of the idea but the truth was my conviction was slipping away.  

I had completely forgotten what fandom was like. Sure there was this part of me that idealized it but it was drenched in nostalgia. I knew it was there but I didn’t think I was really allowed access to it anymore. A happy memory that I would never repeat.

But then Teen Wolf happened. Teen Wolf with its ridiculous prosthetics (let’s not forget the werewolf run), gratuitous shirtless men and cliché dialogue. But it was so much fun! Loving it, complaining about it, anticipating it. The fandom was active and the official social media was involved. And the cast – I don’t even know what to say about this cast because I will probably end up sounding really creepy.

Whatever, I don’t even care if it sounds creepy – everyone involved in Teen Wolf and the fandom surrounding it became my support system… even though they didn’t know it. Okay yeah that sounds weird but it’s not like I expected them to be my therapists it was just nice to have something to look forward to. And I don’t think I could possibly explain how much it helped – there were a lot of times when it was LITERALLY the only thing that kept me going.

I understand that people might think a TV show is a fairly superficial reason not to kill myself. I’m aware of how strange it sounds but it’s not like I think a Teen Wolf is the only reason to continue existing. Teen Wolf just gave me the time to remember all the other things that matter. And you know what, as far as reasons to live go – I could do a lot worse than Teen Wolf.

Before you start to freak out – my life does not depend on the success of a television series. It’s not like that. It’s about being part of something or reminding myself that I could be part of something. I promise I’m not going to top myself if Teen Wolf is cancelled tomorrow, although if they don’t stop with the slo-mo we could have a problem (suicide jokes from suicidal people are hilarious because they make everyone uncomfortable… whoops).

Anyway I am finally at a point where I would actually say I’m happy (touch wood… preferably Derek’s). I’m back on the meds, I’m working through my issues and I think I’m doing reasonably well. GO ME! It’s taken a year and a half but it’s all about the baby steps. (At least I know what year it is – dammit Jeff buy a calendar already!)

It’s almost time for a new year and new episodes so I wanted to take a moment to tell my story and say thank you because you helped save my life. I know none of the cast and crew will ever read this and it will probably be ignored by most of the fandom but for those of you that did take the time, I wanted you to know that I am alive because of you.

So if you ever think that you don't matter, please remember that I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. 

Thank you.