The prompt today is to describe an escape plan. What am I escaping from?
This is difficult for me. It’s not that I don’t have the same kinds of fantasies that the people on Doomsday Preppers clearly have, it’s just that “escape” is a heavy, dreadful word for me. There is a level of my mind that identifies it with having a plan to survive if something horrible ever happens (see: North Korea’s antics as of late). I guess that’s normal- so we have enough toilet paper, shampoo, and dog food to last us a week? What would FEMA do?
The uncomfortable level of “escape” is something different.
I have an anxiety disorder. Occasionally that spirals* into depression. Anxiety and depression don’t mix well because anxiety tells you to fret and depression tells you not to care. I’m not unmedicated or untherapied, not to worry. I have a handle on things and anyone with similar problems can tell you- knowing when you’re “off” is half the battle.
With anxiety and depression, there is also a tendency in my mutinous mind to dissociate. When in pain, go to a happier place. I learned to do this as a child for a variety of reasons that have been dealt with and continue to be dealt with.
Dissociation tends to act like escape in my mind. I am no longer me because it is too scary/painful/upsetting/disappointing/disheartening to be me. And since there is no me in the vessel, the vessel must be filled up with something else.
I don’t have an addictive personality, so the something else has never been drugs or alcohol. I do have a fantastic, creative, complex imagination, however, and it applied for an got the job of filling me up with something when I’m empty. The act of escape, for me, lies in fiction- I don’t have to live my own life if I can live vicariously through someone else’s.
I have always loved fiction. Books were first as I learned to read before Kindergarten. Movies came next, then television as it became more like movies with deeper stories and broader characters. I get lost in romance, suspense, danger, adventure- as anyone does. As a romantic, I am deeply moved by difficult romances that require the characters to go through great hardship to be together (because it adds so much meaning, according to my brain chemicals) and I adore reading couples who have epic romances with lots of gazing and smiling and seeing no one but the other person. Typical romantic notions, right? These are the things every self-described romantic dreams of.
Where the line is drawn in dissociation and escape is still a little foreign to me. I can become heavily involved with a book or movie and have no problem recognizing myself and my own emotions. When I am “having trouble” (as I actually do refer to it), almost anything fictional will become real to me. Not in the sense that I think the characters are real or that I talk to them, but in the sense that I start feeling what they feel. If they’re yearning, I’m yearning. I don’t even yearn for what they want- I just yearn for… something. Do you know how confusing and frustrating that feels?
So escape is a scary word. It’s not a word I associate with beaches or airplanes or even fleeing from a predator or an insane killer. It’s a word that means sick, unstable, scared, lost, broken.
Right now, I’m okay. I’m not experiencing anything unusual and I’m enjoying all the fictional realms I’m involved with. My mind isn’t telling me to GET OUT NOW! I’m fortunate to have a best friend who listens to every word I say and doesn’t judge a single one of them. She just hears me and responds with kindness and understanding. That’s not to say she doesn’t give me tough love sometimes, but she’s pulled me out of dark places just by understanding from whence I come, arms flailing. I’m also fortunate to have a spouse who loves me so much he got used to my episodes and accepted the responsibility of being there for me through them instead of resenting or hating them. It’s can’t be easy to be married to me all the time, so I’m thankful that he wants to stick around and tries to respond to whatever my flight of mind is this week (Will she be clingy? Will she want me to be wildly romantic? Will she want me to leave her alone?) I try to be perfectly honest with him so he knows where I am when I’m having a crisis. I sound like a terrible person to live with, I’m sure. Just reading that over, I feel very bad for him. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often and it’s something that can be halted and fixed if I catch it in time and let people know I need help.
None of this has ever affected my job, my relationships, or my desire to live. I am so thankful for that. I am not ashamed to say that I am very, very good at compartmentalizing those problems when I need to for things like work, family, and dealing with others. Many don’t have that ability (I didn’t for a time).
So, escape. The act of fleeing from danger.
Unless it creates more danger in a mind that’s wired a little differently.
Stuff and Sundry
- No workout today- I was exhausted. I did a few SDHP and stopped when I felt like I wanted to pass out dead on the floor.
- The lack of sugar in my diet is causing really alarming changes in my body.
- So… I ate some. It felt gross.
- Ethan Cutkosky, also known as the brilliant ten-year-old sociopath Carl on Showtime’s Shameless, will be on Law and Order: SVU tonight (9/8central). He’s a good kid. Watch this.
Stuff I Found Being Lazy
- 24 Romantic Movie Moments That Will Never Happen In Real Life
- Get Your Sh*t Together, Carnival
- This is My Town- Hiding Beef in Your Pantyhose
Every morning, every evening. Look at my dirty, dirty car!
*I hate the phrase “spirals into depression”. HATE IT. But it describes it so definitely and exactly that I feel obligated to use it. Many apologies.