I will remember summer 2022 as my restless summer. Not that I experienced this literally. Instead, I was unabashedly seduced by the long-running CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless, otherwise known by the cool kids as Y&R. Sure, there were days I left the house and took part in the real world, hosting and enjoying barbecues with family and friends. But mostly, I stayed close to home, which made finding time to catch up with Y&R very attainable.
Ever since getting diagnosed with PV, or polycythemia vera, and starting the treatment for it, I have experienced a spectrum of emotions, from panic to anxiety, to slowly understanding that this is a manageable condition, so, therefore, I can get on wit h my life. However, there are days when my battle with the blues and the most common symptoms, such as a pounding headache or fatigue, get me down, and on those days, my interest in the lives of the residents of the fictional Midwestern metropolis, Genoa City, takes center stage.
Like in any good soap opera, there are lots of good and evil forces at play; enough steamy and sordid romances to awaken my hibernating libido, and enough dangling dun dun dun cliffhangers to keep me coming back for more.
Another reason I keep watching Y&R is the almost hypnotic trance it induces in me and the feelings of comfort that linger long after the episode has ended. Once my binge-watching is over, I feel somewhat rejuvenated. I know it’s counter-intuitive, but the outcome for me is a solid dose of not just pure escapism, but a shot of hedonic optimism. I just somehow feel like everything will be OK, and not just because, in the series, they bring people back from the dead, or triumph and recover miraculously from a decade-long coma, but because it showcases that hurdles and challenges can be overcome. And for me, that sage message of perseverance and determination, even if captured in silly non-reality, is enough for me to hold on to.
I also believe that having a bit of a spicy personality can be fun and that a small quantity of drama in your life can ignite motivation and change. These crazy plotlines and a myriad of deliciously verve characters all yearning for love and attention remind me that feeling sorry for myself is not a good look. The late actress Patty Duke, who incidentally appeared in a few daytime soap operas, one of which was aptly called The Brighter Day, also on CBS, was quoted as saying, "I tell people to monitor their self-pity. Self-pity is very unattractive. " I couldn’t agree more.
I’m typically not one to sit on my soapbox, preferring alternatively to watch a soap! But with all kidding aside and with full disclosure, my advice for anyone facing an uncertain diagnosis is to acknowledge your fear, address it, move forward and indulge in whatever distraction brings you joy.
The unexpectedly uplifting and calming effect that watching an episode of The Young and the Restless has had on my psyche has been much welcomed. It has somehow reinforced the notion that the impossible is possible, and there is no sense in worrying about what you can’t control, like my PV diagnosis. I pass no judgement on whatever helps you assuage and soothe your restless soul.
What helps calm your worried soul? Let me know in the comments!