Escapism – How the Y&R Helps my Bipolar Disorder

Life happens. There’s a lot that goes on. Good things like family, children, marriage, and friends; and not-so-good things like financial problems, work pressures, health issues and mental illness—any of these factors can cause stress in your life. Stress is a major factor in bringing about a bipolar episode—either mania or depression. So reducing stress for someone with bipolar is not only a good thing but a crucial thing.

When someone has bipolar, life can be overwhelming. There’s too much going on, or not enough. Everything is too loud, but you can’t hear a thing. The up and down of the mood cycle is exhausting. So, too, is putting on a face—wearing an emotional mask of sorts to hide true feelings. The fatigue and stress demand relief. I escape.

Everyone has different methods of escape. Escapism sometimes has a negative connotation. That is the case with some means, like drugs, alcohol, gambling, over-eating, etc. Even a positive means of escape can have negative results if you do it to excess. Like many things in life, escapism should be practised in moderation. For example, for some people surfing on the internet is not only enjoyable, but it allows you to get sucked in, to the point where you can spend your entire day surfing away. If this happened regularly it would obviously cause problems in your life.

The escapism I’m talking about is positive. It helps people. It helps people escape from their daily life and move to a place of mental stability. Your escape won’t make all your problems go away. But it will give you a break from reality—a break from the exhaustion and stress.

Escapism is a coping mechanism—something I can add to my arsenal of self-care. It is not something I do for long—maybe an hour a day, some days just moments. I don’t let any one thing take over my life. Some forms of escapism include: reading, music, video/on-line games, sports, crafts, movies/T.V., puzzles, gardening, driving, outdoors, exercise, anything creative, yoga, and meditation. I’m sure there are more.

My escape comes in the form of a daily soap—The Young and the Restless. You may laugh and brush aside the abilities of a soap to help my bipolar disorder, but you shouldn’t. For that one hour I am immersed in the world that is Genoa City—the world where Victor and Nikki reign over everything Newman and pursue anything Abbott. It’s a world where I don’t hurt. I don’t have problems. And there’s no stress. I am swept away by the tales and woes of the Genoa city elite. And at the same time I am swept away from my worries and responsibilities of the day. Escape is more than something I allow myself, it is something I need.

Sort through the elements of your life and discover ways to bring some peace to your mind—some quiet to your life. Give yourself permission to escape.

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