in my experience, distraction is often suggested as a means to cope with depression. what can you do to take your mind off of things? one voice or another may ask. translated: how can you, even temporarily, escape?
escapism has always been my thing, from drinking to escape a day or moving to escape a place. deleting everything to escape others, burning everything to escape myself. it’s practically a second nature to me—even now, living in a city i actually enjoy, any given day may bring up the thought: pack up everything, leave tomorrow, don’t look back. but it wasn’t always like this.
what i mean is, movement wasn’t always an act of escape for me. i was offered a job in manhattan out of college, but i didn’t want to work in advertising, so i moved to portland. this wasn’t escaping new york, it was choosing oregon. the difference between that & my recent move to la is in the root cause: was my self-interest coming from a place of hope or fear? when it’s been the former, the feelings of excitement are pure—whereas with the latter, they are that distraction from an open wound.
the wounds of a person are simple enough—they can be mended & turned to but a scar, a memory. but what about an invisible wound, one cutting in to an entire society? the 2016 election, the pandemic, the police, the courts—no matter where one american to the next may fall on the political compass, these events are collectively affecting. to watch one-million people die by proxy is, in and of itself, a psychic injury. we were all eager to get past the pandemic, to escape it.
but that wound still exists, and i hear it a lot from people who are just trying to live their lives. how what should be acts of joy are anxiety-ridden. how there’s no confidence in the bigger picture, the future. how it is making what used to be loved seem like a last resort of sanity.
the edge of the blade we collectively walk will only become sharper, the blade itself only longer. at some point, our days will not become just cuts—at some point, they will slice straight through to the bone.