My name is Joshua S Hill, and I suffer from anxiety and depression. I’m on two types of medication; one taken every day, the other taken when I need it which, lately, has been necessary less and less, which is nice. I work from home because at this stage in my life, I’m relatively certain that anything else would only serve me detrimentally. I prefer the dark, gloom, and night, and love it when it rains. I’m an introvert, and love spending time by myself. I write every day, if I can manage it, and if I’m not writing I’m often left feeling worse.
From what I understand, I’m a very stereotypical case of a depressive creative.
However, I actually rather like my life, when I’m able to take a step back from it and look at it objectively.
I have so far been able to manage my depression. Now, to be fair, part of that management is thanks to the medication, but relying less and less upon that is down to several things, all of which could be easily catalogued under the title ‘escapism.’
The most obvious one, which also serves to help me earn a portion of my living and hopefully the full portion of my living in the future, are books: both the writing and reading of them. I love the chance to escape to another world, one in which I am but a willing spectator. Whether it be a fantastical world of magic and elves, or a more modern world where MI5 agents are running across England to stop the next terrorist attack, it doesn’t matter. The chance to leave ‘this’ world behind is massively appealing.
And, seriously, can you blame me?
I spend a portion of each day reporting on the degradation of our planet’s environments, and the moment you put the news on you’re bombarded with reports of an increasing death toll on the roads or political upheaval in the Middle East or obscenely unintelligent people being posted to places of power throughout the world.
Another escape is through music. I think that it is very hard to find a medium as adept at transporting you out of your world and somewhere else than you would in music. Whether you’re listening to Bach’s Suite for Cello Solo Prelude or AWOLNATION’s ‘Jump on my Shoulders’ (both of which I would highly recommend), both have the ability to simply force your mind to shut down, almost, and to help you stop dwelling on … whatever it is. It’s almost reptilian, I think, some genetic portion of our makeup that is immediately soothed by a piece of music. It needn’t be the same for every person, and in fact it shouldn’t, but I’d probably put down a sizeable amount of money on the theory.
While not the final manner in which I escape, one favourite of mine is through gaming, the most obvious being World of Warcraft. In some respects it takes portions of the two escapes I’ve already laid out and allows you to take a place within and underneath them, to immerse yourself.
It’s definitely not for everyone, as some people are simply born without that gaming gene and cannot understand any of the parts which make up someone who is a gamer.
But for me, there is something really freeing about being able to take an hour out of my day to live in a world that I will never have the chance to live in. Which is really what the escape is all about. Going on a holiday, leaving your job, all might serve as temporary escapes, but unless you are immensely lucky, they are only ever going to be temporary escapes. Reading, music, gaming; all of these are temporary escapes as well. But the difference, I think, is that those can always be there for you, and allow you to fully step out of the worries that are suffusing you. While, on the other hand, a holiday is going to leave that one portion of your mind keeping a track of the amount of time you have left, the work that is piling up, and other issues of ‘real life.’
So, go do yourself a favour. Pick up a good book, put on some music, sit down with a cup of tea (an escape in and of itself, but one deserved of an entire post, methinks) and lose yourself for an hour. I think you’ll feel a bit better on the other side.
I sure do.
Books @ Flickr
Music @ Flickr