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‘This Way Up’ Might Be Your New Favorite Show

Your New Favorite Show Is This Way Up

One of the best feelings is when I have a recommendation so good that I cannot WAIT to share it with the group…

Have you seen the British dark comedy TV series This Way Up? (For all those readers who asked, “What do I do/watch/think/feel after Fleabag?”, here’s your answer.)

The premise: Comedian Aisling Bea plays Aine, an Irish twentysomething who has just checked out of a rehab center, where she went to recover from “a teeny little nervous breakdown.” Her sister Shona (Catastrophe‘s Sharon Horgan) offers her a shoulder to lean on. Aine teaches ESL classes and tutors a sweet French boy and tells herself not to call her ex-boyfriend. Most of all, she tries to keep her head above water, while keeping her depression at bay. The show is packed with jokes and vulnerability and sex and too much wine and so much heart.

(The reviews have been glowing, too: The Atlantic calls it a “bountiful binge watch,” NPR says it’s “well worth your time,” the Guardian says it “makes you laugh and flinch in the same perfect proportions,” and GQ calls it “the most bingeable show on TV right now.”)

On a personal note, I was surprised to see someone who deals with anxiety and depression the same way that I do. I’ve never seen that on screen before. Usually, depressed characters on TV avoid people and are flat and sad around them, which is totally understandable — but Aine felt cheerful around people, truly buoyed by them, and her brain would then go dark when she was alone. (For example, in one episode, Aine cheerfully jokes about fashion with her sister, but as soon as her sister heads out for the night, she crumbles onto the bathroom floor.) I know this so well.

When I’ve been depressed (after the birth of both boys) or generally anxious (basically all the time), I NEED to be around people. During my wobbliest times, I’ll follow Alex around the house like a puppy; once I even walked to the grocery store just to chat with shoppers in line. Being around people distracts me from my dark thoughts.

The catch is that, when you’re having a hard time, you can feel almost desperate for company. I remember reading a humor article about the definition of hell for every personality type and mine was “You are stuck in a room by yourself for the rest of eternity”. Aine seemed the same way — and since I’d never seen a character portrayed like that before, the show meant so much to me.

My only criticism of This Way Up is that, like with Fleabag, there are only six 20-minute episodes in the season. I can’t wait for season two.

Go watch! I’m so curious to hear what you think. Xoxo

Your New Favorite Show Is This Way Up

Have you ever seen a character that reminds you of yourself? Are you watching any good shows right now? Would love to hear.

P.S. On anxiety, and the best TV shows to watch as a couple.

  1. Natalie M says...

    This resonates deeply with me. Growing up an introvert, I was surprised in my twenties when I fell into a depression and sought neutral company rather than isolation. My place of comfort? Bookstores. I would sit (for hours sometimes) paging through poetry, flipping through art books, rereading chapters of old classics. And once in a while I would say hi to someone perusing my bookcase or catch a smile that read “hello, I like books too,” and it made me feel less alone. BOOKS. You live the pain and adventure and joy and love so truly. How can you not feel a little more connected to all of the other readers and life as a whole?! I am now 3 kids deep with a caring husband and feel pretty damn good, but oh, a bookstore (and it’s patrons) can still spark a little extra joy.

  2. justine says...

    Sharon Horgan? Enough Said. Sold

  3. jenny says...

    Lovely post. Loved Catastrophe. As a side note that no one seems to talk about—Does everyone have Hulu except me (or is it playing somewhere else too?). TV has gotten so complicated. You cut the cord and end up having to spend so much more a la carte it is starting to seem. We have Netflix, YoutubeTV, Amazon Prime video and my kids are begging for HBOnow. I haven’t even watched a show (except Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat) in ages as it all gives me anxiety (same thing happened to music pre-Amazon music unlimited where I was paralyzed for a good 5 years –and I’m not a luddite!). Curious how everyone else navigates the streaming tv world.

    • Jo says...

      Totally with you. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime and just have to decide enough is enough, cause then there’re audio books and subscription makeup and supplements..argh. I guess it’s JOMO for this girl.

    • Harper says...

      My friends and I have a share group! There are three of us. One pays for hbo, one pays for Hulu, and one for Netflix. Might get too crazy for multiple families but maybe even just one other family could help cut the costs a bit. Works so well for us!

  4. Anon says...

    This is something I have admitted to my hubby once: I completely relate to Kimmy Shmidt from Unbreakable, though I’m not sure why. So while we watched an episode, I asked my husband, “I don’t know what it is, but I really identify with Kimmy’s character… I just don’t know exactly why!” “Yes, you do (know)”, was my husband’s response. “I do?” “Yes, you do”. Nooo, I don’t know!!! I still don’t. Lol. But I completely and totally relate to her character! Maybe it’s her unbreakable optimism in the face of almost anything? Her unshakable willingness to believe the best in others? Wow! Maybe that is it!
    I may have figured it out!! Xo

  5. Maggie says...

    Joanna, you and your team create such wonderful, thought-provoking, sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always gorgeous content. But behind the beautiful homes and the fun links and all of that, your willingness to give us a peek inside your own soul is what anchors this community. Thank you for showing us all by example that we can be open and imperfect and beautiful together.

    Wishing very much I could reach through the internet and give you a hug. XO

    • Blandine says...

      Lovely comment! I feel exactly the same way!

  6. Monika says...

    As someone who struggles a lot with anxiety and depression, I so appreciate hearing about the different ways other people navigate their emotional and mental health challenges. To me, I’d never have thought you could be depressed and WANT company; I’m the opposite, I retreat and the solitude makes it worse. You’ve offered me a more nuanced and frankly revolutionary view of the people around me, and maybe just maybe, I won’t feel quite so alone if I stop assuming all the busy chattering people around me have lesser problems and might suffer hurts quite like me.

  7. Kat says...

    I’ve just been laid up in bed for six weeks and This Way Up got me through! The episode where they visit Vish’s family made me cry with all the emotions

  8. STK says...

    Most people hate the middle seat on airplanes. I specifically choose it if I’m flying by myself so that I’ll have two potential people to talk to when I’m inevitably panicking about the flight. So I definitely relate to your grocery store story Joanna! Human connection is a great distraction from anxious thoughts :-)

    • Beth says...

      I really recommend having a listen to the episode of a podcast called Griefcast that Aisling Bea was on. It has made me admire her even more. Seriously, give it a listen – in fact the whole series is brilliant. Not morbid or downbeat, just wonderfully human.

  9. Sandra says...

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get this show? I’ve watched a few episodes and just can’t get into it. And I do have anxiety and on-and-off depression, but I guess just a different flavor.

    But as always I appreciate your being so candid about the topic. It always makes me feel less alone!

  10. Helga T says...

    I want to thank you so much for your honesty. My oldest child struggles with anxiety and depression and needs to constantly go out and chat and flirt with everyone. It always drives me crazy because they spend all their going out and they never seem unhappy. I just didn’t get it at all but it seems so clear now.

  11. Angela says...

    one of the best feelings is when I have a recommendation so good FROM A CUP OF JO post that I cannot wait to share it with the group!! just sent it along in the TV channel of my friend Slack group. we all loved Fleabag and I’ve been waiting for a follow-up (and shopping for navy trench coats). can’t wait to watch!! :)

  12. Lara Fowler says...

    I watched all six episodes in about 2 days..I really liked it, but the tone felt a bit off and I didn’t really get who some of the characters were. Turns out I somehow managed to watch the episodes out of order, watching the first episode, then the last, and so on!!! what is wrong with me!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, hahaha, that sounds so confusing! too funny.

    • Hahaha that happened to me and my husband with game of thrones, right after it came out. We somehow managed to watch the last episode of the first season first and we were so confused!! It was like „oh that’s a nice guy – ooooh he just got beheadded!“ and my husband was like „whaaaat? The pretty girl just burned herself alive.“ and when we went on with the second episode we thought we were seeing flashbacks and it didn’t really work haha. We realized what was going on only after having watched 3 or 4 episodes, lol.

  13. Iz says...

    My husband and I just watched “After Life” on Netflix over the past 2 evenings. So surprisingly good! I don’t generally like Ricky Gervais, but he’s different in this. Funny but also very moving. Again only 6 short episodes though.

  14. Dhila says...

    If you love this (and Fleabag obviously), have a look at Can’t Cope Won’t Cope as well!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!!

  15. Lara says...

    I binged watched this a little while back and LOVED it. Between this show, Fleabag, and Catastrophe, I’m all for the British TV dramadies lately.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      same!!! the best.

    • Emily says...

      Gonna point out that both Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan ar Irish, but otherwise, right on ;)

  16. Roxana says...

    I am sure this show is great, and I’m looking forward to checking it out, but you sharing from your heart is far greater. . . as are you. Thank you. Thank you for being real when it is so easy (for all of us) to gloss over the harder parts of life. I have struggled with anxiety for so long, but have only recently started to address it. One of my favorite verses from the Bible is when Jesus says “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It brings me so much comfort.

    I recently learned too that I had serious post-partum anxiety after my daughter was born. It took me a solid two years to get out from under the fog, which still rolls in every once in a while. I was never diagnosed because I was always asked if I felt “depressed.” I didn’t. I just felt out-of-my-mind, chest-pounding, mind-racing, throat-catching afraid. All the time. A nervous, jittery wreck. Nobody but my husband (and maybe my mom?) knew. It was so isolating.

    Sorry that my comment is so off topic!

    You are a gem. In the truest sense.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a kind and lovely note, roxana. thank you so much. i’m so glad you’re starting to address your anxiety, which i know can be so isolating and consuming, as you say. sending so much love your way. you will feel better, i’m sure of it!

    • Kat Rosa says...

      Roxana, I had a similar experience and was similarly exasperated by the lack of discussion around postpartum anxiety <3 Since I had depressive episodes when I was younger, I was on high alert for PPD (which didn't occur for me, thank goodness). But what caught me off guard was my spiking level of anxiety, which I'd never really had a problem with before. I couldn't sleep, my mind raced, I spoke fast, laughed oddly. My husband actually pointed it out to me, I was just so desperate for everything to be ok, everything to be perfect and good that I couldn't even admit it to myself how hard of a time I was having.

      Thank you for sharing your story; it helped me and I'm sure others. I hope it continues to get better for you!

  17. OMG, SUCH a great show. I watched it all in one sitting a few weekends back. I could 100% relate to that same scene- one minute she’s chatting with her sister, and then she crumbles to the floor crying in the bathroom. Been there. Also loved seeing Tobias Menzes… hope there’s more of them together next season!

  18. jade says...

    Adore your honesty in this post. Also those nightmares according to personality type are 100% correct!

  19. Caitlin says...

    Was home with a sick baby today and literally watched the entire show while he napped after reading this post. Sigh. Definitely agree the major downside is that it isn’t longer! So good and so real. And thank you thank you for the candid way you speak about mental health. It’s powerful to read about and talk about and see represented on tv.

  20. Jessica says...

    Cup of Jo, you’ve done it again. I stopped to read a review of a tv show and 20 minutes later, I’m sobbing and sharing my tenderest feelings with a stand out community of thoughtful, intelligent women. “Slow clap”.

  21. Sarz says...

    Our dear Joanna, thank you so, so much for speaking candidly about mental health. My grandmother took her own life during a time in which women were taught to bury their own needs in the service of others. Of course, no one had suspected a thing. We have a ways to go, but it gives me tremendous comfort to know that there are people like you working to cast legitimacy on these feelings, and ensure that fewer folks meet the same fate she did.
    Thank you for your service!

  22. ana says...

    It’s the perfect show! Please watch it!!

  23. Alex says...

    Again want to say that the normalization of mental health issues is the best thing about 2019.

    Thank you

    Xxox

    • Brenna says...

      I’m so glad to find a place to write this: unlike depression and anxiety, schizophrenia is not being normalized, at least not yet.

      My husband was diagnosed with schizophrenic two years ago and . . . it’s not always as dramatic as some people might think. Most of the time he’s ‘himself’, and then sometimes he sees and hears scary things that aren’t there. Often it’s exactly like when you suddenly see a bee on your sleeve: he reacts like that, the ‘bee’ or whatever doesn’t go away, and either he realizes it isn’t there and calms down, or he can’t tell it’s not there and might spiral into a panic attack and need extra medication to get out of it. Sometimes the meds don’t work and we just have to ride it out.

      There’s nothing ‘other worldly’ or ‘movie-like’ about it. Even when he was at his worst, not wanting to live, and life for both of us was hell, it was still just ‘plain’ hell, if that makes sense. It usually wasn’t ‘interesting’ or ‘fascinating’ any more than anxiety is.

      If you’ve read this, thank you. It would be nice to be able to talk openly about schizophrenia.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so, so much for sharing this, brenna. that sounds incredibly hard and scary; what a lot you both have to deal with. sending so much love your way. really grateful to you for sharing your story.

    • Heather says...

      Wow, Brenna, you’re so right. My only knowledge of schizophrenia comes from a Psych 101 class in college 15 years ago, and my sense of it is an illness that’s strange, shrouded in mystery, and discussed in hushed tones. But of course, for those who experience it and those around them, there’s an everyday-ness to it; it’s not “exotic” at all. (Your description of just “plain” hell is so evocative.) Why DON’T we talk about it more openly? I’m glad that you did.

    • Abby says...

      Brenna, have you read The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang? She has schizoaffective disorder and writes so beautifully and candidly about her experiences, and also touches on how there is a social line being drawn right now and schizophrenias are all very clearly on the less acceptable, less spoken of side of it. I had very very little knowledge of schizophrenia before reading this and I really valued having my eyes opened to it a bit more.

      https://www.graywolfpress.org/books/collected-schizophrenias

    • Brenna says...

      Thanks, Abby – I just put the book on hold at my library :)

      When people hear that an acquaintance has developed diabetes, they don’t usually get intrigued and start seeking out first-hand accounts of diabetics looking for affordable test strips or visiting their dietitian. It would be nice for schizophrenia to be less exoticized and more just regretted, like other of life’s difficulties. I’d like to be able to tell people that my husband is schizophrenic without feeling like I’m inviting them to a sketchy tourist attraction!

      Some people with postpartum depression kill their babies, but somehow we’re able to talk about having PPD without people automatically thinking of those extreme cases.

  24. katie says...

    and thank you for being vulnerable with us. you are so strong for reaching out to your friend.

  25. L says...

    I just want to chime in with the rest of the beautiful commenters to thank you for speaking about mental health in such a lovely, vulnerable way. You have such a powerful platform and you use it so well – thank you! We’ve come a long way as a society in terms of talking about this stuff publicly but it can still be really, really hard and it’s obvious so many of us (if not most) struggle with it at some time or another. It’s so helpful to hear how it works for other people. Anyway, thanks for being a light and I can’t wait to check out the show!

  26. Emily R says...

    This so so so so so much. I NEED people when I’m depressed. Being alone with myself only leads to more depression. And then when I tell people I’m depressed, they are so surprised, because I’m good with people, bad by my lonesome.

  27. Amber says...

    I was looking for a new show recently and browsing Amazon, and remembered your Catastrophe recommendation from a few years ago. I LOVE IT! I’m so bummed to only have a few episodes left in the series after binging it. So maybe I’ll start This Way Up sometime in the next 3-4 years. :)

    • Hali says...

      I saw this!! Can you imagine?! I think I’d actually run away with nervous excitement.

      My sister and I tried to get last minute tickets two weeks ago during an unplanned trip to London and failed so we bought canned G&T’s to make ourselves feel better!

    • Joy Thompson says...

      Hali, I think I would pee my pants?! Sorry you didn’t get tix but an unplanned trip to London sounds v. glamorous!!

  28. Yep, we watched this show last week after you mentioned it in your Friday links. I hear “Sharon Horgan” and I’m SOLD. Aine is such a likeable character (as is Shona) but the part that I loved the most from the series was their dynamic as sisters. They did such a wonderful job of portraying that unique way that sisters (or, I suppose, any women friends who are super close) can be there for each other, even when it’s hard, even when they fight…I loved the scene when Aine is showing Shona silly things on her phone and Shona ignores a call from her boyfriend…Sharon Horgan played it perfectly, that pull to your own life, but the fierce loyalty that keeps you there with your sister.

    • C says...

      Joy, I wholeheartedly agree! As with Fleabag, the great romance of the show is between the sisters. In the final episode where they are SO MAD at each other, and then Aine offers to ‘tong’ Shona’s hair …. so relatable.

      Joanna, thank you for sharing these bits of yourself. I agree with Alex above that the greatest thing to come from 2019 will be mental health awareness. I am also an extroverty depressant, and sometimes it feels so good to wallow and be alone but it just furthers the depressed episode. (that episode when she’s laying in her room watching telly and her roommate’s little sister literally drags her out of bed??! love!)

    • C, I LOVED that scene (and when she was begging for a bit of Shona’s waffle)! I didn’t make the connection to Fleabag, but you are so right…that sister relationship was amazing, as well!

  29. Andrea says...

    Sort of unrelated question – do others with eating disorders mind that people talk casually of “binging” tv shows? I have BED but it doesn’t bother me – curious how others feel. It is one word to describe two….extremely different things.

  30. Samantha says...

    Third this! I loved Derry Girls! That said, I had to have the subtitles on the whole time and could only understand ever 10th word without them, haha.

  31. Lizbeth says...

    These comments have finally helped me send a message to a dear friend: “I think it’s time to consider anxiety meds, I’m just about treading water right now but feel like I might combust at any moment. Surely there’s a better way to live this gift of a life?”
    Maybe it’s the English in me that feels shame about ‘medicating my personality’ or maybe it’s the failed Type A. I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t. I know the advice I would give a friend is a lot more different than I would give myself.
    So many rambles… all this is to say is thank you, Joanna and all, for being vulnerable. <3

    • Annie says...

      Watch Hannah Gadsby “Nanette” for inspiration on the idea of medicating away personality (or in her case, the discussion is creativity). She has a refreshing and very good argument against this idea.

      Medication is a tool in the toolbox; it doesn’t define anyone and one doesn’t need to use it forever if you choose to try it.

    • Jb says...

      I found it has really helped. It took me a long time to get to that point and once i tried it i was like ‘why didnt i do this years ago’. There were so many parts of my day and interactions and thought processes that were affected by anxiety, i’d had no idea.

    • Sarah says...

      My husband AND my close friend started anxiety meds at the beginning of the year. Both are still the witty, wonderful, caring, emotion-filled people that I know. They just don’t suffer from crippling panic, general anxiety, and a buildup of anxiety/physical pain that they don’t need to feel anymore. I told my friend this weekend, “you just SEEM happier and calmer.” My husband is able to function much better at work, and partially due to medication but also due to things he has tried such as meditation, daily exercise, less caffeine, and therapy, he just seems more grateful and appreciative for his life. He has always been a freakishly happy person, so I hadn’t noticed the creep downwards. I didn’t know he was “down” until I saw him “up.” 10/10 recommend anxiety meds based on an outsiders’ perspective. Your personality will not go away; it will be free to come out. Hugs to you!!

  32. tina crisas says...

    Anything with Sharon Horgan’s name attached to it, I’m in!! THANK you so much for this. I have been guided to so many helpful and wonderful things via your recommendations! (podcasts, books, shows- hello “Catastrophe”, eye opening articles and so much more!)
    Also, yes to EVERYTHING you said about how you handle depression, this rings so true to me , too!
    “once I even walked to the grocery store just to chat with people in line”. This is SO comforting to hear as I identify with it and it just warms my soul knowing I am not alone; thank you so much for sharing, it means so much.

  33. shannon says...

    Yes, I know what you mean about connecting with a fictional character because they remind you of yourself. For me it’s Lucy in Two Weeks Notice. Her strengths and flaws are mine too (devoted, responsible, smart, principled, funny but only when she doesn’t mean to be, unaware of her own needs, stubborn, finds it difficult to let go and have fun…). Her love interest reminds me of my husband. It’s almost too intense to watch sometimes, especially when they argue, because it feels so familiar to my actual life and insecurities. But, I love it and count it as a top five favorite movie, because how often do you get to see your own personality as a movie character?

  34. Micah Lambert says...

    I lived abroad in Germany for a while and I would travel around each weekend, drink cheap wine, the whole nine yards. But as soon as I had to go back to my little apartment by myself– DEPRESSED!

  35. Emma says...

    Feeling this right now. I don’t think I’m depressed but with a two year old and three month old around I find myself starved for human contact. We’ll go to the park for hours and the whole time I’ll just be praying for someone anyone to talk to! I start to feel so dumb when I ask the same people over and over again to hang out. When they can’t a couple times in a row I start to feel dumb, but then I’m just so desperate I try again and so the desperate starved cycle continues especially if they can’t. Why does everyone (even other stay at home moms like myself) seem to have things to do and places to be except for me!

    • Caitlin says...

      Right there with you. New to staying at home and having such a hard time finding friends who are also at home during the day. I love love love my kid but I am going to die of boredom and loneliness without any adult interaction for 50 hours a week!

    • I totally get it. I was once in this spot and I know how soul crushing and hard it feels. Have you tried joining a parent group? If your budget doesn’t allow for a formal mommy group you may want to consider starting a park group. I was once invited to a park group who met certain days/times so they could hang out while their kids played (or babies napped- all ages). You can post online via a neighborhood app or local community board. Even if you just get 1-2 moms to start it will feel less lonely and more human. Rest assured we’ve all been there and it’s temporary. Best wishes.

  36. Nicole says...

    I’m watching this show from an earlier recommendation of yours – I love her fire and am always grateful and awed when funny smart women tell our stories on the screen and include all those private moments that are rarely shared – oh yeah, plus it make me laugh – bravo!

  37. Kelly says...

    awesome! i needed a new show…tried to watch Euphoria last night based on someone else’s recommendation and it. is. awful. don’t torture yourself! looking forward to kids’ bedtime tonight when i can try this show!

    • melody says...

      I’m obsessed with Euphoria! Maybe its darkness is what makes me feel better when I’m feeling melancholy.

    • Angela says...

      Wondering if you liked Derry Girls? I could not stand it, but LOVED Euphoria. Like Melody said, maybe it was the darkness and that it was so completely unknown (and preposterous!) to me that I found entrancing. Derry Girls seemed so YA to me and frivolous that I had it on as background noise only.

  38. Tina says...

    This is exactly how I feel right now. I am dealing with a lot of loss and I crave, need and want to be around people all the time. Its a comfort to hear that others struggle with being alone

  39. jane says...

    So That’s where one goes to recover from a nervous breakdown…note to self. I did not know rehab centers provided this service. Presumably this is covered by insurance?

    • Sarah says...

      The show is in England….hello National Health Service 🙌🏻

  40. Jill says...

    Another awesome Irish show. DERRY GIRLS. It is about teenage girls growing up in Northern Ireland in the 90s. The main character has more facial expressions than Jim Carrey. It is SO good.

    • Anna says...

      Second this! It’s hilarious

    • Sabrina says...

      Derry Girls is hilarious! My husband and I both really enjoyed the show, and that rarely happens!

    • Sasha L says...

      Derry Girls is one of my all time favorite shows ever. It’s just delightful.

    • ana says...

      yes! Its brilliant!

    • Emily says...

      I loved Derry Girls!

  41. Amy Mc. says...

    Have you seen Sweetbitter on Starz? It follows a young woman who moves to NYC and gets a job at a high-end restaurant. The relationships between the characters and the nonsense that goes on after the restaurant closes is great! I think there are 2 seasons.

  42. Jess says...

    Totally agree with all this..and thank you so much for sharing how you relate. I can’t think of another show that portrays such real life anxiety and depression as spot on as it does…cause yeah…you can be an attractive, bubbly, hilarious woman AND have crippling anxiety/depression.
    And love me some Sharon Horgan, and now just can’t wait to see where Aisling goes in her career/life. She’s so so good in this.

  43. jill d. says...

    i binged it and loved it. i laughed so much about the sanitary pad she borrowed in the bathroom and calling it a mini-air mattress / fanny bouncy castle. i just had surgery a few days ago and the hospital gave me the same size sanitary pads and all i could think about was that part of the show and I was trying so hard not to laugh but couldn’t help myself (b/c laughing after surgery actually hurt)…but really it’s so good. definitely a good one to binge. thanks for mentioning this show earlier b/c if you hadn’t then i wouldn’t have know about it. :)

  44. Karen says...

    Agree with the show – love both leads. I don’t think this is a spoiler but the very best tidbit for me involves the song Zombie by the Cranberries. So brief but funny.

    • Courtney says...

      I loved that part too! Was crying laughing. “Why don’t you girls sing that ghost song?” Hahaha!

  45. Daniela says...

    Joanna, that is how my depression is too! I’m fine around people and depend hugely on my fiance when I’m in a bout of depression. But when alone.. I have a really hard time. When I was in a bad depression earlier this year it really only hit hard on my days off that my fiance worked on.

    I’m slowly learning to savor my solitude again.

  46. Rachael Mcnamara says...

    I really recommend the episode of the Griefcast with Aisling Bea when she talks about her father’s suicide. It’s so moving and brilliant. She’s a brilliant woman

  47. anon says...

    Thank you for this recommendation. I can’t wait to watch. I deal with anxiety the same way as you, and I’m in a spot where I’m recently single, living alone and working remote for a company that’s about to go under. In short, things are intense, and it feels like I have nobody to hang with.

    So I sooooo get going to the grocery store just to chat with the ladies at the register. I miss people!

  48. Kaitlyn says...

    Yes! Channel 4 does it again! Binged this and shared it with my friend earlier in the summer, her having dealt with depression and me anxiety. It’s a beautiful portrayal, and also the sister relationship felt so real to me. A sister that laughs with you and cares for you, felt so honest and wonderful. I hope there’s a season 2!!

  49. aya says...

    I’ve been watching it and it makes me pine so hard for my sister. I think they got sisterhood just right. I love their fierce, kooky relationship, their closeness and ease of being together, their tethers to old baggage. It plays so true to life and it makes me miss my sister all the more.

  50. Jenny says...

    Just made a weekly date to do laundry and watch this with my best friend! Thanks for the rec! And, truly, thank you for sharing about your own struggles. It can be easy to see you as this effortlessly together woman who looks super lithe in Wedgie jeans, enjoys a floral midi, and is superhumanly wholesome (these things still stand!), but it makes me feel less like a gutter possum that you have your dark thoughts too. The world gets a whole lot richer when it turns out everybody has as many nooks and crannies as us. Makes me aspire to be less of a grouch. Thank you!

    • Emily says...

      Gutter possum is my new favorite term. And I echo your beautiful comment. It means a lot to read that I am not the only one carrying around the anxiety and dark thoughts.

    • Brooke says...

      “gutter possum” is my new favorite phrase thanks to you….I about spit out my coffee.

    • Christine says...

      Gutter Possum! Thank you for the genuine lol moment at work. And yes, it does help to see a person who seems completely together deals with the same hang ups that we all have.

    • Sarah says...

      GUTTER POSSUM is making me LOL right now. I sometimes refer to myself as a swamp monster. But I’m sure we’re both pretty princesses and nothing else.

  51. Leah says...

    That paragraph about feeling depression / anxiety is so beautiful and spot on. I’d add that feeling grief can be described similarly. xx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I can imagine xx

    • Chelsea says...

      I agree, Leah. I loved A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, which he wrote after his wife’s death. He wrote, “There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

    • jane says...

      @chelsea – this is why cafe’s are so great. You can go in and sit, working or reading or sketching with a cup of coffee/tea etc and feel everyone enjoying each other’s company without the need to interact. Some days, that’s bliss.

    • Jessica says...

      Thank you Chelsea for that Lewis qoute. It’s spot on. I went through an intense episode of grief last year and strongly relate. I really appreciated reading this.

  52. Erin says...

    Squeeeeeeal!! I am so excited to watch. Also thanks for continuing to share on the personal front. It is always such a relief to know you are not alone xx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I hope you love it!

  53. NN says...

    I loved TWU, too. <3

    Unlike Joanna, I'm an introvert. But like both J and A, when I am depressed I can still "turn it on" — so much that others have no idea that I'm struggling.

    I also related to Shona. I've been codependent in a couple relationships (my father is an addict) and I definitely know what it's like to feel responsible for someone's recovery…and all the feelings that go with it. Fear for their wellbeing; guilt for wanting to your own life; fear of getting close to anyone else because you don't want the burden of caring for them, too BUT ALSO not wanting to be in a healthy relationship because who even ARE YOU if no one's life depends on you?? And so on.

    Just realized this is TMI, lol, send

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Loved this insightful comment. Thank you, NN.

    • Lauren E. says...

      Wow, this comment gave me chills. I learned in Al-Anon that co-dependents are addicts in their own way. That realization totally rocked me. Hope you’re doing what’s best for YOU, NN.

    • Kerry says...

      Your comment was eye-opening to me in a couple different ways. Thanks for articulating my feelings, as the child of an addict, as well. I still try to fix everyone, I’m still learning that it is not my role.

      I appreciated your TMI!

  54. Linda Lowrey says...

    Thank you so much! A good shows is my getaway. I have a son with Autism 19 now! I love him so much but I do need my breaks and since I have been at it a long time I have found binge watching a good show helps me to be ready for whats ahead of me because Autism can suck! Thanks again can’t wait to watch.

  55. Hali says...

    Thank you for sharing! It’s generous to share such personal information and I’m grateful for the perspective it lends. This website is masterful at putting forward beautiful and positive messaging constantly, but I don’t think anyone who comes here daily takes that for granted. It must be tremendously difficult sometimes!

    Yours is so far from what my anxiety looks like. It’s nice to be reminded that everyone suffers in their own capacity and in their own unique ways. If I can’t get alone time, my mind starts to feel as if it’s melting in a cage.

    When you asked last week what worries everyone, I loved reading the responses and genuinely wondered how you were, too! Almost as if I was thinking about an old friend!!

    I’m sure we all wonder how you are and care that you are well. You have a million friends!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, tearing up! Thank you so much, Hali.

    • agnes says...

      Thank you so much for articulating so clearly what you go through; I’ve actually just understood why I’m finally enjoying my solitude. In the last couple of years I have felt the urge to be around people, when I had always enjoyed being on my own, and in the last few weeks I hace noticed I’m having a great time by myself. I think I’m feeling better :-) Depression is terrible and draining. I feel reassured to know that this community exists.
      On a lighter level, I have just watched this serie called Bauhaus; I have seen it twice and am obsessed with the characters. It’s german, it tells the story of the Bauhaus school through the characters of Walter Gropius and Dörtte Helm, a woman artist and his lover. Great love story, aesthetics, a totally fleabag moment (with August Diehl, sigh).

  56. Christy says...

    I recently binged this show and loved it. It was one of my answers in your last how are you doing/5 things post!

  57. Caitlin says...

    Thank you for articulating this so well. This is EXACTLY how I feel most of the time, and I have a hard time explaining it or really recognizing it myself a lot of the time. Anxiety/depression always seems to be associated with wanting to be “alone” during those feelings. I am always searching out company when I feel like this (which is a lot of the time).

    And, I cannot wait to try this show-sounds like a good one to look forward to!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes, sometimes when I’ve told friends that I had been depressed, they were shocked because I can be so upbeat (and feel temporarily upbeat) around friends — but they don’t see me when I crash back at home. I really identified with Aine in this way. She’s so cheerful and fun in her English classes and then so empty/lonely/drifting when she leaves.

    • Emily says...

      In addition to being the life of the party when around people, Aine also has this overwhelming need and ability to care so much about others. Without hesitation, she knows exactly what to say and what to do to help others. She just cannot give herself the self care and help she needs. My husband and I immediately recognized this, and discussed. I think this is another one of those confusing signs and misunderstandings that people don’t get about depressed people. I also loved this show so much and look forward to a Season 2.

  58. Sharon2 says...

    Joanna, are you reading my mind/Hulu account? We just started watching this last night and blazed through 3 episodes (stopped because I wanted to savor it). I promptly added it to my Hulu Stuff list after you mentioned the show in one of your Weekend posts. Completely agree with you on finding this depiction of depression to ring true. Thanks for the rec!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Haha we are anxiety soulmates :)

  59. Natalie says...

    I always love your recommendations, Joanna! Can’t wait to dive into this show:) and thank you for sharing about how you get through your own challenging times. Wish I could walk by your stoop and stop for a chat! XO

  60. Greta says...

    I could not love a TV show more than this one. Just as you said, I felt like it was so refreshing to see a different portrait of mental illness that is more like my own. Aisling Bea is just phenomenal.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      She really is phenomenal. And the comedic timing and chemistry between aisling and Sharon was odd the charts.

  61. Christie says...

    I’ll put in a plug for some great Canadian content from north of the border, the Baroness von Sketch show. Hilarious, smart, and on point. It’s also available on Netflix, maybe in the US too? https://www.cbc.ca/baroness/

    • Molly says...

      I just searched Netflix, it is not available in the U.S. [yet] :(

    • jane says...

      Anyone can watch via vpn, fyi.

    • Christina says...

      Agree with Baroness Von Sketch! I’m desperate for it to arrive in the US. They have a couple dozen sketches on Youtube – go check them out, Molly!

  62. Valea says...

    Dear Joanna,
    thanks so much for sharing. I love your recommendations. I think I’m gonna give it a try, it sounds great. But: I’m not completely over “Fleabag” just yet. I might need a couple more days, then I can move on. :-)
    V.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Take all the time you need haha :)

  63. K says...

    Leave it to you to choke me up reading a TV show review. Thanks for the recommendation and hope you’re doing well.

  64. Chrissie says...

    YES TO THIS WAY UP. The part where they sing Zombie?? DYING!!

    I’m also a long-term anxiety sufferer (doesnt seem like most people are??) Anyway, you don’t need tips from me BUT my doctor was talking to me today about B Vitamins and Anxiety (in particular Folic Acid and Seratonin) and I’m thinking of giving Folic Acid a try!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you!!! I find exercise, even just evening walks, really helps too.

  65. I already binge watched this and admittedly seeing Sharon Horgan in something new initially grabbed my attention. Also she totally hangs out with hot priest IRL based on her Instagram account. How can I get in that friend group?!?!

  66. Michele says...

    Thanks so much for your candor. It’s helpful to hear about the different ways we experience the “wobbly”ness. And thanks for the show rec!

  67. celeste says...

    Thank you for sharing.

  68. L says...

    Thank you for sharing your experience with depression and anxiety. I’m postpartum and feeling those things too, and I (ESFP) need people so so badly all. the. time. What helped/helps you most? xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      It can feel so needy, right? Sometimes I have to hold myself back from asking friends to hang out too often so as not to seem overbearing. Walks around the neighborhood or going to the bookstore help because you can be around people without having to set up a friend date. Also medication! I swear by mine and want to write a love letter to it. Also having someone to lean on, like a relative, close friend or partner. Exercise is a big mood lifter if you’re able to. And having some things to distract you — a good book, a good tv show, etc — all keep my head above water. I’ll keep thinking! I’m sure others will have good recs too, would love to hear them. Hope you feel better soon xoxoxo

    • Lauren says...

      I’m also postpartum (5 months with my second) and after some gentle encouragement from my sister, I made an appointment with my midwife to discuss medication. It has made a world of difference in my anxiety. I am so much less irritable and stressed. It’s allowing me to actually enjoy being a mother and not viewing everything as a phase I need to slog through.

      I didn’t think I was feeling “bad enough” for pharmaceutical help (I haven’t used medication for mental health before), and was surprised at how much better I feel. I’m not saying that’s the case for you, but wanted to share what has worked for me. Hugs to you!

    • Maggie says...

      In addition to Joanna’s suggestions, I found that cognitive behavioral therapy helped SO MUCH more than traditional talk therapy, especially with anxiety/panic.

    • jane says...

      Lifelong relationship with depression and I use it to practice conscious self-love/compassion for myself and all of life in general. As joanna mentions above fresh air and (even simple) exercise helps. And my entirely anecdotal insight personally is that we are all short on micro minerals that are no longer present in our food/soil causing perpetual low-grade anxiety which easily tips into depression and worse depending upon what your life presents.
      Supplementing with spirulina tablets (2g’s/6 tabs every morning) is enormously helpful.

    • Kiana says...

      L, I had bad post partum depression when my son was born and it manifested itself as anxiety. So instead of feeling down and unable to do anything, I felt restless and neurotic. One day, I had a doctor’s appointment and I went by myself, leaving my baby behind with my husband and the brisk walk to the doctor’s office (I was running late) and the crisp air on my face and in my hair just made something lift inside of me. I felt kind of free and unbound. After my appointment, I got a small coffee and window shopped for a half hour before I went home. This wasn’t a permanent cure, obviously. I still had moments where I felt like I had to be “on” all the time and that if I wasn’t, the universe would explode. But! I found that sometimes getting into nature, absorbing the sun in my skin, the wind in my hair and the fresh air in my lungs helped so much when I felt I couldn’t exhale. Hope this helps you!

  69. anon says...

    When I was seriously depressed and anxious a few years back, and with my little girl I would force myself to take her outdoors. We would go to the beach a lot. It was not only a way to get some fresh air into my lungs, and let the sound of waves drown out my thoughts, but a way to be in public and yet not so that I wouldn’t hurt myself. I feel better now, but there are still days when I feel really low and the thoughts creep back in. It’s a constant battle, just some days are a little easier on me, and others are a b*tch.

  70. Shannon Criscola says...

    Just as a side note, fans of Fleabag might want to note that National Theater Live is broadcasting her live show from London on Thursday! Check their website for a theater in your area 😊

    • Tara says...

      Thank you so much for the head’s up!

    • Natalie says...

      Yay! Thank you for sharing!

    • Quinn says...

      Ooooh, thank you for this! =)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you!

  71. Beata says...

    Joanna! Sending you lots of hugs!!! Thank you for sharing your personal struggles and recommending the series AND being a source of light and hope :)

  72. Renée says...

    Thank you for sharing this, Joanna! As it happens I just finished watching Fleabag last night AND I am in the midst of adjusting my anxiety medication because my old one isn’t working for me anymore. The past several months have been challenging for me and I really identify with your description of finding comfort/distraction in the presence of others. Your timing in sharing this show was absolutely perfect and I am going to watch it as part of my journey toward healing. (At least part of this journey needs to be entertaining and fun!)

  73. Now that I’ve read your words, Joanna, thank you for being so open about the feelings of depression and anxiety, something that I’ve been feeling too!!!! Sometimes it is helpful to be around people in small doses. Other times, for me, I need to be outside, walking, listening to music, and paying attention to the beauty of nature.

  74. This show seems so interesting. I tend to avoid shows about depression and or anxiety, because they might be triggering or could hit too close to home for my liking. That being said, this one sounds amazing!

  75. Steph Gilman says...

    Well, since you got me hooked on Catastrophe, Master of None, Alias Grace, Insecure, and Fleabag (quite literally the best show I’ve ever seen…I check the news weekly to see if Phoebe Waller-Bridge has changed her mind yet on doing a third season), I’m going to HAVE to watch this new show. :) I’m about to just up and move someplace with British humor.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’m so so glad! TV is in its golden era!!!!

  76. Kim says...

    OMG, the definition of hell was so spot on! I’m an INFJ. They’re all so funny.

    • Kim says...

      I just read the other links, the personalities at a party was perfect, too! I do often find myself in a counseling session with those I do and do not know.

    • JB says...

      I’m an INTJ and that was TOO REAL.

  77. Claire says...

    I loved it. I binge watched it as soon as it came out in the UK.
    Sounds so cliched to say “I laughed and I cried” but…I did.
    There HAS to be a series 2!

  78. Emme says...

    Thanks for sharing about your experience with anxiety. I’m going through some anxiety issues myself, and it really helps to hear that other people you admire sometimes have similar struggles. It’s very brave and it makes a difference to folks like me.

    • Katie says...

      Ditto. It does for me too. Thank you for sharing!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you. I always feel like throwing up before sharing something personally vulnerable, so it feels so good to know it helps. Thanks for your kind note.

  79. I wanted to really love it, but did not. It was cute, but I had higher hopes because of the main actress from Catastrophe. I’ll watch another season though ;)

  80. Meric says...

    Dear Joanna,

    I would recommend you breathing exercises. As a sophrologist I use a lot breathing exercises with my clients and these exercises are very efficient especially with the people who have anxiety problem. You can do them by yourself in paying attention that exhale is longer then inhale like 6 seconds for exhaling and 4 seconds for inhaling. You can do this exercise during 5 minutes and 3 times a day (morning, after lunch and evening before you go to bed for example).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!!

    • lilj says...

      I agree – my son and I sometimes do this together. Once, in a stressful meeting a dear friend/co-worker looked over at me and mouthed silently “BREATHE”. It wasn’t until then that I began to realize that I shallow breathe or hold my breath during anything tense. Almost like I’m trying to disappear from the confrontation. Breathing reminds me to take up sufficient space for myself, and that I am worthy of speaking up for. Your blog is literally a breath of sweet fresh air for all of us! Breathe on!

  81. Tara says...

    I just finished this over the weekend, and am anxiously waiting for season 2. I had to try to spread it out as long as I could, because I didn’t want it to end!

  82. Jessie says...

    The show What We Do in the Shadows was finally added to Hulu and it is THE BEST! So funny, so many guest stars, and Office-style humor with very old vampires.

    • Neha says...

      I felt like that when I read Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London series. He does diversity the way I’ve experienced it as a brown female growing up with a older brother in very well travelled family, and currently work in predominantly white male space, and I am so used to taking that white male view of things, that I didn’t even realise that I didn’t feel seen till then!!

  83. AN says...

    “Wobbly” = best word. Thank you for this, up next after the brilliant “Rita”, thanks to a COJ commenter!

    • JoyL says...

      Our whole family watched Rita before my daughter moved to Denmark for a semester. So good!