DEALING WITH DISORIENTATION AND ESCAPISM
- July 07, 2020
Living through depressive episodes is exhausting. No, it’s worse. For a certain amount of time, it is like hell – but not the endless being burned and tortured kind of hell – the kind of hell that is too plain and ordinary to be bearable, just like the one in ‚Huis Clos‘. It’s waking up and not wanting to start the day because you know there is nothing new, nothing to offer. I have a poster of Camus at the wall opposite my bed and sometimes it makes me laugh..as if I’d need a poster to remind me of my existential crisis. I know what helps me. Theoretically. The usual. Eating healthy, exercising, social activities, trying to establish a routine. Often, I manage to stick with a lot of those but sometimes I fall and get caught in passivity, doubts, anxiety and escapism as a way to deal with everything…or rather as a way to avoid everything.
Subconciously or even conciously because lethargy is sucking me up. On the one hand, recognizing your specific problems is the first step to find solutions for them but on the other hand, recognizing your problems but not being able to solve them feels even more frustrating. Since I’ve started studying, procrastination has been an issue but it never was that bad. I study in slow motion. Sometimes I make myself believe that it is fine because it is but then there are times in which I have a really hard time to accept myself for my actions and non-actions. It has gotten to a point where I realized, I had to do something about it or I wouldn’t be able to break the circle. Staying up until 4 am, not being able to work, finish assignments on time or do anything at all, being overwhelmed by existential fears and self doubts. I talked to people, I did research, I even joined a sort of anti procrastination coaching group. Nothing noticeably helped because procrastination was not the problem to begin with, it is only a symptom – a symptom of my always present aimlessness, concerning my studies but also in general. I think a lot of other students who have majors that are not meant to prepare you for a specific job and that need you to explore and figure out what it is that you want to do with it, deal with similiar struggles. That’s the reason why I decided to take a break and focus on trying out things and taking part in internships next semester. I feel like that might help to get a new perspective not only on what is possible but also on finding a new sense of purpose. At least, I hope so. When I was stuck in such phases, engaging with media was always something I repeatedly did and in the last years, anime played a huge role in that process. I feel like the medium has so many characteristics that make it easier to get lost in it. While Slice of Life/Iyashikei shows can be very comforting and soothing, Shounen/Action/Adventure shows are something that make me feel excited and thrilled for something. They revive feelings that I lost conncetion with and to an extent, get me out of this bubble of lethargy. They can inspire and motivate and be really helpful but only when you let them influence your actions – or rather when you are mentally in a place where you have the strength to and luckily, most of the time, I am. Those phases are triggered from time to time but they don’t last. That’s the only reason why I didn’t actively seek therapy (yet). Even though I think it wouldn’t harm to.
Anyway, it can also go the other way and I know that for a lot of people it does. Escapist activities can become really harmful and toxic really quickly. The line becomes blurry and before you know it, you loose a sense of self and get lost in your consumption. One of my favorite animated music videos that covers this topic is MEMEME. It does a brilliant job in depicting the unsurmountable struggle to free yourself from this artificial cage in order to create actual human relationships. It focusses on sexual media but the problem of feeling a certain disconnect from your environment while diving into toxic fantasy worlds is a general issue and I think art is always a great way not only to express your feelings but to learn to deal with them. I love how the beginning shot of the video is also the ending. It impresses me because I think it is accurate to the experience but obviously, it is terrifying. We do not have to end up in this endless loop of insanity like the protagonist did. I don’t care how banal it sounds but as long as you’re alive, there is always an option. I know that besides all of this, I probably struggle the most with a feeling of not being able to identify myself with others, especially when it comes to specific problems like this one. I know it helps to talk to people who are in a similiar place, so feel free to contact me if you want to talk about this topic anytime. It is 3 am right now. Writing this short article actually made me feel better. A tiny bit. Thanks for reading.