People Are Sharing The Movies And TV Shows That Helped Them Through Their Grief And Trauma

    "I ugly cried for a long time, but it’s helped me because I know the grief won’t drown me."

    In my experience, movies and TV shows can serve as a pretty effective balm for pain.

    I recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share which ones have gotten them through tough times, and some of theme are actually perfect (but surprising).

    Here are 23 of them:

    Editor's Note: This post includes mention of suicide, death, depression, and disordered eating.

    1. "When I miscarried I fell into a terrible depression. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt premiered not long after. At the end of the first episode she is ready to give up on New York when she sees a rat in a trash can and it flashes back to her time in the bunker where she confronted the reverend. He gets angry and says he’ll break her yet and she just smiles, holding a rat by the tail and saying no he won’t. It was like a dam broke. I cried for an hour straight and couldn’t stop. It was the first time since miscarrying that I felt like I would be okay and I would heal."


    kimmy schmidt holding up a rat

    2. "Inside Out. Two months after my daughter was born, her father (my fiancé) died extremely tragically and suddenly. I had to move back in with my mother at 28 for a few months and everything was too heavy for me to watch, even just having it in the background would upset me. I couldn't deal with my emotions. I turned on Inside Out and it helped me put my emotions into perspective."

    sadness anger fear disgust and joy in inside out

    3. "Fleabag. Watching her go through heartbreak after my own heartbreak was so raw and therapeutic."


    phoebe waller bridge in fleabag

    4. "My sister passed away unexpectedly last summer. After the initial shock and first stages of grief — when I came back from the funeral and was easing back into 'normal' life — I was watching WandaVision. The scene where she’s talking to Vision shortly after losing Pietro, she says something like the waves of grief keep sweeping over her and one day she’s going to drown. Vision assures her that she won’t drown, because 'What is grief, if not love persevering?' I ugly cried for a long time, but it’s helped me because I know the grief won’t drown me."


    elizabeth olsen crying in wandavision

    5. "Swingers. I know it probably sounds ridiculous. But I had a major breakup when I was younger. A first real love kind of loss. Definitely not trauma, but I consider the end of a relationship very much grief. I watched Swingers several times and it really helped. It’s funny for one. But really it was Jon Favreau’s character getting over his breakup and starting to like someone new that helped me have hope that I, too, would get through this and love again. At the end when he’s on the phone with his ex and she starts to say she loves him and he hangs up to talk to his new interest — man, it was so empowering to me!"


    jon favreau in swingers

    6. "Abbott Elementary. That show is very realistic for what teachers go through but there’s an episode in the second season where Janine feels like a bad teacher because she can’t get through to a student having behavior issues. I cried watching because I’m going through the same thing. The emotions were so real and how they handled it made me feel seen and it’s something I use to process my feelings of failure daily as a teacher."


    janine from abbott elementary

    7. "My mom died, suddenly, 10 years ago. No warning. No goodbyes. As an adult I had to continue going about life, but when I came home I would fall apart. At that time I had about 20 episodes of Duck Dynasty recorded on my DVR and I would keep them running constantly when I was home. There was something about those bearded men that helped me escape. I haven’t watched the show in almost 9 years, but I am so grateful I had it back then."


    the robertsons in duck dynasty

    8. "Criminal Minds, Season 5, Episode 9 ['100']. Not sure why, as my loss did not come in any horrific and awful way. But somehow watching Hotch try to save his wife and the grief he shows was so relatable to me. I've watched that episode many times and I felt a little better each time. It's been 22 years since I lost him, but it's become a bearable pain that I use to help others now."


    hotch crying on the phone in criminal minds

    9. "The day after my step-brother died, I just had to get out and do something to take my mind off it. My two best friends took me to see The Other Woman in the theater. It was enough to distract me and give me some laughs for a couple hours—as did the time with these friends. Every time I see that movie is on, I just can’t help but turn it on. It has its funny moments, and I really do like the whole cast, but honestly, to me, that movie just reminds me how much I love those two friends and how they are truly there through everything."


    leslie mann cameron diaz and kate upton in the other woman

    10. "During the pandemic, I was diagnosed with cancer. I found myself watching Parks and Recreation on a pretty constant loop. Besides just being funny, it served as a powerful reminder of the power of positivity, determination, and having a good support team in your friends. Yeah, it helped take my mind off the vast amounts of fear I was feeling, but it also helped tell me that I could make it if I just tapped into my inner Leslie Knope. I beat the cancer but still watch Parks and Rec on the regs."


    amy poehler in parks and rec

    11. "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut hit me hard when Satan said, 'Sometimes you can love someone very much but still know they aren’t right for you.' I had been contemplating moving on from a relationship that wasn’t working. We loved each other, but we weren’t right for each other, but we couldn’t let go either. I felt that quote in my soul when Satan finally left Saddam."


    satan and saddam in south park

    12. "A Good Person with Morgan Freeman and Florence Pugh. Made me realize that no matter how rough it gets, you can always pick yourself up and change your life for the better, you just have to choose to."

    Keira Rivers

    florence pugh and morgan freeman in a good person

    13. "Friends. It made me feel like I had friends during a very lonely time. I know people love to make fun of it now, but it got me through a tough time, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Whenever I say it’s my favorite show, people call me basic or say I have no taste. And maybe it is pretty basic… But they don’t know how much it genuinely helped me."


    lisa kudrow matt leblanc courteney cox david schwimmer jennifer aniston and matthew perry sipping milkshakes

    14. "Few things have been so cathartic as watching My Mad Fat Diary was for me. I grew up very much like Rae and seeing a character who not only looked like me but that had such a hateful relationship with her own body (in the beginning at least) felt comforting, I wasn’t alone in the shame and the pain. But more than anything My Mad Fat Diary gave me hope, hope that I could be a cool girl like Rae, that I could be loved for my body and not despite it. Hope that the depression and the ED could be contained."


    sharon rooney and dan cohen in my mad fat diary

    15. "After losing our first baby, Supernatural was an escape. There were so many seasons out, and at that time a channel played three episodes back to back in the middle of the day during my recovery."


    jared padalecki and jensen ackles looking at misha collins in supernatural

    16. "As a teenager I went through a string of pretty traumatic experiences and had already been diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 13. The X-Files helped me through some of the hardest times in my life, in particular Dana Scully. It sparked a lifelong love of fantasy and the paranormal which is still a huge part of who I am as an adult."


    david duchovny and gillian anderson in the x files

    17. "Saved! was the only thing that reached me in a suicidal depression. There was just something about the universal message of acceptance that got through to me. It didn’t make me better or anything but at a time when I couldn’t feel anything, that movie made me feel something. It was a real lifeline to humanity."


    macaulay culkin jena malone and eva amurri in saved

    18. "Coco. It came out on Disney+ the same week that my grandma passed. My family doesn't celebrate Dia de los Muertos, but it provided a beautiful image of afterlife and I found it incredibly comforting during a really difficult time. I watched it every night that week, sometimes I laughed, sometimes I cried, and other times I just smiled and imagined my grandma in a beautiful place like in the movie."


    miguel and mama coco in coco

    19. "Never Have I Ever. I started it as an easy going show when my dad died last year, not knowing that was going to be a major theme. It helped me through the darkest days during that first month after he passed."


    lee rodriguez ramona young and maitreyi ramakrishnan in never have i ever

    20. "Every year, around the anniversary of my friend's death, I watch Casper. Grief, loss, and death are heavy themes for a kids movie but this movie has helped me process the loss of my friend who died when we were both 18. The movie gives me a chance to cry and let it all out. I think this movie does a great job at showing how adults and kids both process grief. I relate a lot to the guilt and not wanting to accept loss that was felt by many characters in the movie. The end of the movie where Bill Pullman’s character is visited by his wife and gets closure always makes me ugly cry and actually helped me find closure with my own guilt and grief."


    casper and christina ricci in casper

    21. "Turning Red! Crazy enough, it really helped me process my trauma as I was gearing up for my second open heart surgery. The scene where her family is singing their traditional song so that she can get rid of her panda [particularly helped me] — it’s this massive cacophony, and then she wakes up alone to dead silence. For the first time, I had something tangible that helped describe the feeling that despite having an excellent support system of my family, boyfriend, and friends, I was still the only person who had to go through my surgery. It’s this massive lonely feeling that I couldn’t articulate until watching that scene."


    mei lee in turning red

    22. "Surprisingly, this season of Succession. Like Shiv I also had to 'schedule' grieving over my brother. There is so much to do after someone dies and my parents were too distraught to keep things straight and make decisions. So I shouldered as much as I could on top of a full time job. I scheduled crying in with the naps I had to take to combat the depression and exhaustion."


    shiv crying on succession

    23. "It was nearly Christmas in 2021 and unfortunately my relationship with my mum was not good, I wasn't talking to her and I had considered not going over for Christmas that year. Then on a shopping trip with my sister, we went to the cinema to see Encanto. It was a right-film-at-the-right-time scenario. I fell in love right away with these characters, these songs, these themes of generational trauma, the idea that you can break free of parental expectations and still be okay, the designs of everything and just the whole world of it all. Most of all though, the ending with Mirabel and Alma hugging in the river and the song that follows after did it for me. It gave me hope that things will be okay and I cannot thank this movie enough for that. I'm still highly obsessed and it's my favourite ever Disney movie now."


    mirabel in encanto

    How about you? Are there any TV shows or movies that helped your process grief? Let us know in the comments.