Sometimes I have to escape for a bit.
And there are several ways I prefer to escape either the reality of my world or the depressive thoughts running through my head.
Reading has always been a hobby for me and I can’t wait for breaks from school and summer because I can finally read again! I have several authors that I love to read, but if a book sounds like something else I have read and enjoyed, I will often give it a try.
Some of my favorite authors/series/specific books that I have read and enjoyed include:
- Rick Riordan-Mythology and Heroes, Action, YA
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Five books)
- The Kane Chronicles (Three books)
- Heroes of Olympus (Five books)
- Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (Two books released so far)
- Alex Flinn-Fairytales Retold, YA *KC after the title means that this book is part of the Kendra Chronicles series by this author
- Beastly (KC)
- A Kiss in Time
- Bewitching (KC)
- Mirrored (KC)
- Beheld (KC)
- Pittacus Lore-Sci Fi, Action, YA
- Lorien Legacies (Seven books)
- Jenna Evans Welch-Romance, Finding Yourself, YA
- Love and Gelato
- Rainbow Rowell-Finding Yourself, Romance, YA (more for college-age young adults)
I’ve loved puzzles for about as long as I have loved books. And again, this activity is limited to breaks from school, so it doesn’t make for an everyday escape option. I enjoy completing puzzles, even though I realized yesterday that I can forget how stressful they can be.
I have completed a handful of 3D puzzles from Bepuzzled (a Level 1 Diamond, Level 2 Treasure Chest, and a Level 3 Pirate Ship) and hope to find more 3D puzzles because though they present a challenge, they are beautiful to keep once put together.
I also complete classic jigsaw puzzles. I can complete a 100 or 300 piece jigsaw in less than a day if I have unlimited time to work on it. 500 pieces would probably take me a few days. 1,000 pieces about a week. I have completed one 2,000 piece puzzle (Starry Night) and that took me three weeks working several hours a day.
I have bought an overwhelming majority from thrift stores, some may be missing a piece or two, but that is fine. A lot of them either have all the pieces or the box may have been cut open but the pieces are still sealed in their plastic bag. I currently have twelve puzzles of Thomas Kinkade paintings that I bought just over a year ago for less than $3 at a random thrift shop that will provide me with plenty of escape this summer.
The thing about puzzles is that I hate taking them apart. This isn’t a problem for 3D puzzles, but it creates a storage issue for 2D puzzles. I have resorted to gluing all my completed puzzles to foam poster board and currently have a large stack of completed puzzles in my closet. My favorites may get displayed in my garage one day when I have a place of my own.
Music is one of the few escapes I can make use of all year round. I primarily listen to music on Spotify because I have found that even without a subscription, you have a nearly limitless list of songs at your fingertips. I like that Spotify allows me to make my own playlists and on my laptop or tablet, I can choose if I want to listen to a playlist straight through or if I want it shuffled. Spotify for cell phones is not as friendly and will only shuffle the playlists. Spotify mobile will also play recommended songs, so if a playlist is short or you’ve gone all the way through it once, it will start playing random songs that might not be related to what you were listening to in anyway. This might be a good reason to subscribe to Spotify Premium, but it doesn’t bother me much for I just switch to a different playlist. The only other differences between Spotify and Spotify Premium is that Spotify has ads roughly every thirty minutes and that you cannot listen to your playlists if you have no internet connection or data available.
Now back to music. I will listen to most music, but the playlists I listen to most often are Disney and musicals. Listening to music I know like the back of my hand helps me escape because I know the songs and find this calming in times of stress. I can tune it out if I am doing something monotonous and it almost always helps lift my spirits. When doing schoolwork I find that instrumental music or movie scores work best because there are no words to sing along to, but it follows the same patterns. It seems I can only listen to regular music when working on lab reports, which I think is pretty weird.
Depending on the whether, I can find my escape in nature. Either with or without music, I can be found walking around in the fresh air and within half an hour I usually feel much better. Sometimes I will settle at one of the many benches hidden in the green strip at the end of the court I live on. Other times I will walk to the nearby park and go to the swings. Sometimes I just walk. I feel that the fresh air helps to clear my mind and though I might still be emotionally stressed, the time away helps. This method works best in Spring, Fall, and on summer nights when it is cool.
So in my house, we have two cats: Luna and Spice. Last year Spice bonded with me and if I am upset, she will try to comfort me. She does not always realize when I am upset or having a panic attack, but when she does realize, she helps me immensely. She will come to me and rub her face on my hands and face, trying to get my to pet her. She will usually settle down and just keep me company while I try to relax. During a really bad depressive episode last summer, she nipped at my face twice to get my attention and get me out of the spiral I was going into. She is an amazing cat and I am thankful for her keeping me company, especially at night when the dark thoughts try to keep sleep away.
Corny old movies from the 50s and early 60s, rom-coms, and many others fall into my comfort movies. These movies may seem like a random assortment, but I feel that each of them is comforting depending on what kind of mood I am in.
Some of my favorites actors/movies include.
- Doris Day
- Calamity Jane
- The Thrill of It All
- That Touch of Mink
- Howard Keel
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
- Keri Russel
- Julia Stiles
- 10 Things I Hate About You
- Nia Vardalos
- My Life In Ruins
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
- Pirates of the Carribean
- The Curse of the Black Pearl
- On Stranger Tides
- Dead Men Tell No Tales
- Beauty and the Beast- Traditional and Live Action
- The Princess and The Frog
- Big Hero 6
- Studio Ghibli
- Kiki’s Delivery Service
Music and Spice are two of the constants in my life that help me to deal with whatever comes my way at almost any time. All of these things I’ve listed could be considered distractions, because that is what they are. They help to distract me from the thoughts racing through my mind, they help to quiet those thoughts and give me time either to think clearly about them or to ignore them, to take care of myself and come back to them later. And I believe that the use of these things is what has helped me come to the place I am now, a place I hadn’t dreamed of being for quite a long time. I am relying on my knowledge of how my mental illnesses affect me, how they present themselves, and these methods in addition to others to help me cope when life becomes too much and for now, this is what is working for me.