Dan Harmon has created some of the best geeky TV shows around, including “Rick and Morty,” “HarmonQuest,” and “Community.” Known for his shows’ often incisive humor, he certainly doesn’t shy away from getting serious when the situation calls for it.
Case in point: Last week, one of Harmon’s Twitter followers reached out to ask him for advice for dealing with depression. Harmon, not being a mental health professional, could only speak from his own experience — but he came up with an outstanding answer nonetheless.
Psychologist Bill DeMonte addressed a similar question for Take This and Geek & Sundry last year, and proposed a similar idea:
“It’s also important to constantly remind ourselves that just because we have a thought, we don’t have to act on that thought–just like how we don’t have to eat every piece of candy we come across just because we think they look delicious. Remembering that thoughts don’t have to be acted on can really take away some of their power and scariness.”
Researchers also agree that writing down worrying thoughts can be very helpful. A 2017 study on worry journals, a core component of cognitive behavioral therapy, found that writing down worries, making concrete, specific predictions about how they’d play out, and tracking outcomes is a very helpful approach even in the absence of other support. And a 2012 study found that actively throwing away negative thoughts helped get rid of them.
And of course, communicating your more difficult thoughts can make a world of difference, particularly with a mental health professional. Harmon is no stranger to therapy — he’s a big proponent of it. One of the most popular Rick and Morty episodes, Pickle Rick, directly addresses a common misconception about therapy: that if we’re smart enough, mental health professionals have nothing to offer us.