I thought since we’re all struggling through this pandemic together that I might share some thoughts on comfort reads. I’ve been staying home, sitting with my dog, and picking up a gorgeous fantasy while I listen to atmopheric ambience. My family, the ones I’ve managed to hold on to, are health workers. I know things are going to get worse and I can’t even fathom that they could die because the government isn’t prepared for this. Because I have complex PTSD and the anxiety, depression, and overwhelming fear that goes along with it, I’ve been having trouble with just….being calm.
People who are staying calm are not me. I don’t have that luxury. And I know I’m not the only one or even that my situation is the worst. What the hell can I really say in this situation? I’m just a mad hatter without the hats.
I deal with panic, with fear, the way I’ve always done. I go into a nook, pick up my comfort reads, and read with a flashlight because I’m a damn MESS.
All I want is darkness around me. I want the only source of light to be from that book, that world. This is how I escape. The more epic. The more soft and dramatic the romance. The more gorgeous the prose, the more I can feel myself getting away from all of this.
Is that insensitive? That by escaping you are ignoring the pain of others? Here’s the thing, though. People that have never been through trauma or depression don’t get to talk about those of us that have to struggle with sever mental health issues. People need escapism in order to cope. Do you know what happens when people are unable to cope? They panic, they’re irrational, they can’t think straight, and they are utterly unprepared for a situation. People overwhelmed by their emotional responses don’t react the same. It’s too much for their mind. So they shut down and avoid it at all costs. So by actually not supporting escapism in books people could be causing more avoidance. Escapism isn’t forever. It’s just for an hour or two. It’s like when you charge your phone or you do an hour of meditation. It recharges your mind so you can cope with things.
No one can stay in a state of struggle without a moment of break. Your mind would be traumatized if you did. This is why escapism is such an important discussion when discussing tragedy and trauma. Your brain needs some happiness in order to process the situation. It enables you to help others.
This is purely centered around mental health and the perceptions of people outside of the community. I want to make that absolutely clear.
If you’re struggling like me, you’re welcome to share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear them.
I want to share some content I’ve been diving into lately. Reading and the book community are my two tools of escapism when I’m really in the dark no stars realm of depression. Here are some book related escapist booktube content I’ve been diving into:
I’ve been loving booktubers doing reading date/read ins. It’s my favorite thing. Here’s some favs.