I like to escape into a good book or even a good movie. But sometimes that escape becomes something else. It becomes more than a reprieve. It becomes hiding and numbing. The desire to numb and distance myself from perceived darkness is sometimes a real problem.
I am much more aware of the lure of escaping to deeply. Of trying to numb myself out of what ever I am feeling. When I first started going to college and attending residencies four years ago hiding was high on my list of needs. At the time I did not handle being around large groups of people very well. (I am still not comfortable with it but I can stand it longer than I could then.) After about an hour it would feel like there was a hive of bees in my brain all buzzing simultaneously. Thinking, let alone responding, was always difficult. To keep the bees to a minimum I would hide in my room. I talked to friends and my beloved husband on the phone so that they could talk me through the darkness. And I hid in television shows I could watch on the internet. I spent the first residency reliving a good part of my childhood by watching the old Dark Shadows.
The next residency I came out a little more often. But managed to watch all of the first season of Bones. The following semester it was another show. I didn’t really get to know very many people. And very few people got to know me. Which was unfortunate since there were so very many wonderful people to get to know.
When I started the Psychology program I was going to do better. And even though I was fairly locked away during the first residency and didn’t talk to very many people I was definitely more present than I was before. After the first residency I made a decision to stop hiding and escaping and be with people. That was a very hard thing to do. The lure of escape is strong and overcoming it was really hard. But I did. I talked to people and did not hide in my room as much and actually ate with people in the cafeteria and talked even more. WOW! It was amazing.
I still want to go run to my room and hide and not talk to people and the bees still show up. But I am not hiding as much in the rest of my life as well. I am trying to be present. To allow others in to my life and be open to new experiences. As long as I have chocolate nearby I think anything is possible. Perhaps I should work on my dependency on Chocolate next? Nope, I think that one stays.