There are periods in my life when depression takes things away from me. Sometimes it’s a small monster. Sometimes it grows into an uncontrollable force that overshadows my life.
This always coincides with a reading slump. I have books that have bookmarks a few pages in, in the middle of the book, and even close to the end, and yet I haven’t picked up any of them for almost more than a week now.
You might think that might not be long, but when I was younger, my mother could always tell something was wrong when I didn’t read that day.
Somehow, the combination of the two makes it harder. Not only do I have an overwhelming feeling of despair settling in, I can’t even escape from that despair in the usual method that I have grown to love.
But, even depression can’t keep me from story.
I find another way
I’ve been deep enough into depression to the point where I don’t do anything, but this time it’s not this way. It hasn’t been this way in a long time, for which I’m grateful for.
Instead of reading lately, even though, deep down, I’m still interested in what I was reading, I’ve been escaping into visual forms of story. TV shows and movies, mostly of the fantasy genre, though I’ve escaped into a few comedies too.
Lately, I’ve been watching a favorite: Stargate SG-1. It’s almost like meeting old friends again.
Some new ones I’ve watched and enjoyed are Warrior Nun, The Old Guard, and just recently Cursed, all on Netflix. I laughed at Pitch Perfect with my mother. I watched Bad Boys for Life and Bloodshot on DVD, and watched an old favorite, A Knight’s Tale. We have this last movie . . . on VHS. I got the DVD from the library, which is a resource I often use to watch movies and TV shows that are not already on the streaming services I use.
What’s My Point?
They talk about fantasy and science fiction as escapist genres, but I think all story can be a form of escapism. But more than escapism, story can remind you of reasons to get up in the morning.
When your watching that story about the girl who lost her mother, and you remember you still have yours, and you love each other. When your watching that team face an impossible situation and they still have hope, that can remind you to still have hope too.
When your watching that character overcome fears . . . despair . . . failure. Sometimes it can remind you of things you overcame.
It’s not so much escapism, all the time, but more like getting out of your own head. When it comes to a turmoil in your spirit, or mental agony of some kind, sometimes getting out of your own head for awhile allows you to recover enough strength to continue.
I don’t know why more serious periods of depression effects my ability to read. Maybe because it’s such an intrinsic part of my mental space and my daily life. Depression interrupts everything you are. It’s not who you are – it buries who you are.
Story helps me dig myself out, sometimes. This time, I guess, story took the visual form.