outside the box

man-watching-television

I woke up sometime last week and decided that I was going to stop watching tv. It’s day seven of no Game of Thrones or Friends, and I’ve started to have weird dreams. They say dreams are sometimes your brain’s way of filtering out the unnecessary, so it makes sense why my dreams resemble an incomprehensible mash of The Magicians, Peaky Blinders, and Planet Earth.

The television has always been my pacifier. I’ve been addicted to it since I was a toddler, up until now. I didn’t realize how addicted I was until I realized I was willing to go to the store at the middle of the night to get batteries for my dead Roku remote. Sorry to say fellow binge-watchers, but TV is actuallyย really bad for you. You go through a phase of real depression when a show is over, you have insomnia, you’re at higher risk of dying from an inflammatory disease. You escape your anxious reality for a brief time, sure, but still have to face it again when you tune into the real world.

In the time I’ve stopped watching tv, I’ve managed to get a lot of stuff done. I’m finally redecorating our apartment. I broke out my sewing kit and hemmed and patched up my clothes. I’ve written a story I’ve put off for a year and have an interview to hopefully wrap it up today. I have added about 10 more ideas to my “to-write list” and I’ve signed up for freelance writing advice. It made me realize who I am again and what I’m capable of, and I just need to do it.

Who I am again. How did I forget in the first place? The optimist in me shrinks away when I come to the conclusion: my depression. I’m pretty sure I was born with it and environmental factors growing up did not help. I can point out three times in my life when it’s hit me hard: when I moved from Ohio, when I went through aย really bad breakup, and most recently, my wedding. That’s right: my wedding. I talked about it a little a few months ago. I had a lot going on. It wasn’t the actual wedding itself, but everything around it that contributed to me holing up and telling you all to go away. Through my journaling, I’ve had to come to terms with a lot of sad things that left me remorseful of who I used to be. I’m not who people think I am anymore. And I wish everyone would leave that memory of me in the past, because that memory is the effect of multiple people manipulating me and hurting me over the course of my life.

I mourn who I used to be because who I was was very misunderstood and broken and needed help (which was seldom given). Sometimes, you still can see the remnants of that person slip through. In the midst of reliving the past, I got carried away in it, drowned my sorrows in my damn Netflix, and forgot who I was.

You’re a writer at heart. You’re a journalist. You’re a good wife, friend, daughter, and sister. You are kind, smart, and hardworking. You’ve chased your goals and look where it’s taken you. You will succeed at anything.

Positive affirmations, something I started in the summer but stopped, came back after I cut myself off from the television. Something I’ve desperately needed to help kick off my writing. My depression is obviously going to be a balancing act for the rest of my life, but at least I know a warning sign is when I sink back into the box.

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