Too Much of a Good Thing...
The protective measures our minds take to protect us can hurt us.
There’s a whole world in your mind isn’t there? There are characters, problems, climactic resolutions, and emotions; all only for you to witness and feel. They’re your personal story reels and you’re the star of it all. Everything can go your way-or against you- and it feels like the only semblance of control you can manage in a world where the decisions of 7.53 billion other people can and will affect you in some way. You’re a star in your mind but you feel like a nobody when you open your eyes. The sobering realization is enough to push you back into your head, isn’t it?
These are coping mechanisms created at a younger age to adjust to outside problems we didn’t exactly know were problems until we were older. At home, there may have been issues or you were probably treated differently in school; We believed there was something wrong with us. My childhood wasn’t a pleasant one but I looked forward to quiet moments in class where I’d put my head down and let my mind race. Different holidays and seasons would influence what I did. I had gone on roller coasters,fell in love, and felt heartbreak before having ACTUALLY experienced them. It was nice to run away mentally and just be somewhere in what I felt was nowhere, where I could do or be anything.
As I got older, it had become a constant issue. I resisted the comfort of people for fantasy and found myself hiding in "fandoms" to cope with how meaningless life felt. Ending my life attacked the people I loved personally and refused to do it to them, but it was always in my head that I wanted life to end. Fantasy was where I could escape and be away. My slow descent into depression spiraled out of control and I was locking myself inside for days and ate little food. Yes, my family was worried but they felt they couldn’t do much in their position. Maybe I hid my real level of melancholy from them well? Whatever it was, for two years, I sought no help from anyone. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and denied I even was depressed. I had become a hermit.
Even once I had gotten semi-better in the years to pass, I still fought with the occasional dissociation in my late teen years as a way to fall asleep. This was the most mild form. I’d occasionally do so in class but otherwise focus. These were more of my panic attack years. As I became a young adult though, anger, frustration, and some poor choices on my end have led to self-loathing. Fantasies aimed at personally hurting and bullying myself are some of the only things I can think about when trying to put myself to sleep. I have become separate from myself and looking in a mirror is like looking at a completely different person. I do not feel like I am a person with a personality, just a shell that reflects other people's emotions.
Now how does this conversations? Not well. Since becoming an adult, it has started to become a habit that I dissociate in the middle of conversations. I then have to try and piece what they said when I come to. One word is all it takes to trigger a recall/fantasy/whatever my mind wants to go off into. It’s frustrating and difficult to manage. I find myself becoming embarrassed when they expect a response to something long winded and I just had a blank. It’s a lifelong problem that got out of hand and needs to be handled now.
Thus, it’s time to take the first steps to work on bettering my life and mental state. My childhood doesn’t define me and it’s how I choose to look at it that will help me move forward. Intrusive thoughts are likely but how long I choose to focus and how well I can distract myself will all play a part in the journey to healing.
This isn't to say I'll stop fantasizing, it's a switch I need to learn to control. As of right now, it happens compulsively and affects me in my personal life. However for stories and writing, I may indulge in a safer way, with characters not associated with me in any way and turning it into something that becomes a new, unique story. Thus, working on stories in my free time to relieve the pressure in my head in a healthier way.