Now of course, depression is not as simple as saying it is a mental health condition because truthfully, there are many aspects to depression and how it portrays itself
Like you might already know that if someone were to have the feeling that they don’t want to leave the bed or don’t feel happiness for a long time already
So I won’t be touching on those too much
I’m going to be sharing a bit on something which most people don’t really know about
And that is on escapism
Now of course, even if you exhibit escapism, it doesn’t mean you have depression
Vice versa, just because you have depression, it doesn’t mean you will have escapism
Mental health issues can be rather complex like that…
However, I want to share on this so that you can be made aware of this
And if you note in yourself, or see it in someone you love
I will rather you err on the side of caution, to check and inquire just in case there is a chance
Of helping either yourself or someone else better 🙂
Briefly, what is escapism?
In my own words, escapism is where the person will do things to escape from a situation or feeling, or to avoid another situation or feeling
And yes, we might do this to varying degrees
For example, something minor or small might be smoking
Yes I call it small because of the context I will be presenting it hahaha
In this example of a minor or small form of escapism, the person might use a smoke break to avoid work or to avoid the chance of meeting the boss
Like if you ever notice that when boss is returning to office say from an outside meeting, and a colleague or yourself use the excuse of a smoke break to leave the office for the duration of 5 minutes just to avoid meeting the boss
Then that to me is a minor or small form of escapism
Naturally, this doesn’t mean the person has depression!
I’m just sharing about escapism for now
However! What if you encounter a colleague who uses a smoke break every hour?
Yes, it could be an addiction, but it could also be escapism to a greater degree or level
In this case, its could be to avoid work as a whole
Of course, there could be other factors such as using smoking to relieve stress, or to have some private time to think
There are a lot of variables
What’s in a game?
Another form of escapism which you might know of is gaming
Again, it depends on the context!
Never forget that
So a gaming influencer might not be escaping from something…
But a student might use gaming to escape from studying…
Or a child might use gaming to escape from an abusive family…
It’s also possible if the family has a lot of shouting and arguments, and the child to “run away” from it
I recall a case where the dad came to me with his young teenage son who had a gaming addiction and didn’t want to study
Chatting with the dad revealed that he and his wife had a lot of arguments before they eventually divorced when the child was a young age
Now if you think from the perspective of a child, there were a lot of arguments between parents and now parents are no longer together
One big question a child might have is “Why can’t mummy and daddy be together and happy?”
The child may develop escapism in the form of gaming
Think of gaming as an alternate reality from this reality where the parents are arguing and divorced
This might be more obvious if the game was a role playing game (RPG) type or similar
The game also provides happiness through achievements, beating the bosses etc
Thus the escape into another reality such as gaming can potentially grow into an addiction later on
Which is what the above case had
The joys of travelling?
Something that you might not realize that is a form of escapism is travelling
I know what you are thinking hahahaha
Sadly travelling to another country is a literal shift of physical space, from one country to another
And thus, can be seen as a type of escape for some people
This is especially so when the person travelling… travels like extremely often, maybe 4 times a year
Again, it is all about the context
If the person details a work that is stressful and horrible, and have unsupportive family or a partner who is negative etc, or even enjoys travelling alone
That will be something I will consider and just take note in my mental checklist
Sometimes I even wonder about certain phrases one might say
Perhaps you heard of this before too
“Oh I need another vacation for the last vacation!”
Of course it is entirely possible that they were so tired from packing and unpacking that they need another vacation…
Or is it that they didn’t want to return to this reality yet?
Where work stress abound, and family matters are burdensome?
Food for thought eh?
Entering virtual reality
Now of course, daydreaming or fantasizing is also a form of escapism
This is pretty straightforward so I don’t need to elaborate too much on it
And yet, something that made me ponder recently is a modern twist of escapism
You may or may not know this but what I am pondering about are the videos of people playing games, or living their life, or whatever
What I am curious about is whether someone who enjoy watching other people live their life… is a form of escapism?
Afterall, it is potentially imagining their life as someone else, away from this life and identify in the here and now
So the key isn’t so much the video, it is them fantasizing about living as the other person
Or being the other person and playing games and stuff
So yea, if you are watching in order to learn how to play better, that’s fine yea?
But if you catch yourself imagining way too often that you are the other person in the video you are watching then I want you to hold yourself and consider if it is getting too much
Because honestly, sometimes we won’t know when is too much too much…
Quick story time
You see, when I was studying in Junior College, I couldn’t handle my dad’s sudden passing
And while I didn’t know at that time, I know now that I fell into depression
And used escapism as my way of handling things
I wanted to avoid the reality of it
What I did in the beginning was to play Chinese Chess
That was my escape into another reality
I will play and play and kept going for competition after competition
I recall one of my teammates and friends asking me
“Shouldn’t we be studying for our A levels instead of joining competitions?”
And I remember getting angry at his remark!
I know now it was because I was in depression and using Chinese Chess as my mode of escape
Which is why I got angry at his remark
Fast forward and I enlisted into the army
Now imagine this
The entire time in the army as a soldier is an actual different reality from home
And oddly enough, due to this huge physical change
This physical shift in reality
I suddenly realized I was happy again about a year into army
And that moment made me realize I was suffering from depression for the past 2 years
Because I didn’t feel happiness at all!
These are just possibilities
And in truth there are many things to look at
Many factors and considerations
For escapism, depression and the other mental health issues as well
So it won’t be possible to cover everything and to understand everything from the get go
Yes, the above is just a fraction of one aspect
However if you want to have just one takeaway
Is that things in the current day and age aren’t always what they seem
Some addictions could be the end result of an initial attempt to escape reality, and not just because of the thrill or the high
While some enjoyable and happy travel photos could be signs of something unseen, deeper and core
Don’t take things at face value
Even the “dreaded” army enlistment has helped someone get out of their depression before 🙂