Most people don’t think anything of sitting down in front of the television to watch their favourite program. In fact most consider it a relaxing activity, something they can do while having a rest after a long day at work.
Sadly with M.E. that isn’t the case. Television is actually a very stimulating activity, when you think about it there’s the moving images, the flashing as the light changes and the sound; that’s without having to filter out any conversation going on in the background which inevitably happens in family life.
All of this takes energy for the brain to process. Managing to watch the television in a silent household can be a challenge if you have M.E. At times it is impossible as the images move too quickly, the light from it is too bright or the change of images causes too much of a flashing effect. Obviously sound doesn’t have to be a problem as you have some control over that thanks to the volume control, but still if you’re watching TV with someone who prefers it on quite loud, sound can become another factor that makes watching TV a challenge.
As a result of this I have found it helpful to limit the amount of time I spend watching TV. I think on average the absolute maximum I can cope with is 4 hours; that sounds like a lot but when you’re unable to do much in a day except lie in bed or on the sofa that’s not much time at all. In fact if you think about the last time you got hooked on a boxset of programs, that’s probably what…four episodes? Somehow I suspect if it was a really good boxset you’d watch more than four episodes in a day if you had the time. You’d probably watch them back-to-back too.
I have to be careful and plan what I want to watch, if there’s something I really want to watch on TV in the evening but I’ve already watched four hours earlier in the day then that show has to be recorded or watched on the catch up TV services; recording it is preferred as then there’s no time limit on it’s availability.
Watching more than about four hours of television, or even watching four hours of unbroken television leaves me with a horrendous headache, increased noise and light sensitivity and at times very achey eyes.
So Yes Watching Television Really Can Be Exhausting.