Romanticizing the Past

            As I mentioned in my last post, this time of isolation and staying inside has made many nostalgic feelings arise within me, and, the most pressing feeling of them all has been a yearning for how things used to be. In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s easy to try to escape the present and ruminate on the past, but I finally had a moment of clarity yesterday that I felt led to share here. 

            When I was younger, I spent a lot of time participating in escapism. I was constantly reading—constantly—and when I wasn’t reading, I was playing video games. When I wasn’t playing video games, I was watching television. When I wasn’t watching television, I was playing with my twin sister. There are few moments that I can remember outside of major events or holidays that I was simply being, instead of having to be attached to something that pulled my attention. I rarely looked within myself to figure out what it was about my life that made me want to escape so badly, I just actively hopped from one distraction to the next and then had meltdowns every now and then when things bubbled over too high.

            What this means as an adult is that I look forward to, and crave, moments where I have to be fully plugged in and present. I’ve written a lot about my efforts to be present here on my blog, and it’s absolutely not something I have perfected just yet—and I likely never will. However, living through a global pandemic where we are all being commanded to stay inside has reintroduced that itch for escapism without introspection within me. 

            For the first few weeks of quarantining, I spent a lot of time playing games with my sisters, reading, watching TV, and playing video games. At first it was nice because it was nostalgic. It was what I always wanted to do growing up because I wanted so badly to be anywhere but where I was. However, after a few weeks went by, I realized it was something that drained me. Not because my sisters are draining or that the other things I was doing were overwhelmingly taxing, but because I realized how quickly I’d slipped into that pattern of escapism without introspection. I wasn’t checking in on myself or meditating or journaling or keeping up with my mental health, I was aww, this is so nice, this reminds me of my childhood-ing myself to death. 

            I realized halfway through last week that I was extremely depressed, in a way I haven’t been in a few months or so. Not because of what’s going on—even though that is depressing—but because I haven’t been taking care of myself, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve been detaching and suppressing while also romanticizing the past because it mirrored my current situation, and I distanced myself from my friends and family unintentionally because of it. I realized that deep down, I was really angry and really sad about a lot of things, and I have been working since that realization to turn things around for myself.

            As with all things written here, I am hoping this encourages even one person to remember to take care of their spirit during this time. Take time to meditate, take time to move, take time to consciously breathe, and be kind to yourself as you process hundreds of emotions and thoughts at once. 

            A lot of us are feeling lonely, angry, sad, and really, really, scared. That’s okay. Just take care of yourself—you can’t pour from an empty cup, even for yourself.

            I love you all, and I’m here for you. 

            If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to connect to a network of crisis centers providing emotional support and guidance to people in distress 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They are also available via e-chat and have a special number for the hearing impaired. 

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