I am running away from myself. Every day after school, I avoid. I avoid my responsibilities. I avoid my ever-growing to-do list. I avoid it. Instead, I distract myself. I allow myself to be consumed by other things: my phone, social media, friends, games, and sleep. I go on Instagram to look at other people’s lives instead of facing my own. I go on TikTok to mindlessly scroll through short videos to get a boost of dopamine. I take a nap to get some rest, supposedly. However, I know if I do my homework first, I could have the whole night to myself and relax. I know that it is more beneficial to tackle my tasks first, but it never plays out well. I would rather run away.
Why do I constantly repeat these self-destructive behaviors if I know that stopping them would significantly improve my mental and physical health? This is a question I always ask myself. If I keep running, I wouldn’t have to confront my problems. I wouldn’t have to agonize over the exam I have the next day. I wouldn’t have to worry at all. But I live with the fear of the realities that would emerge and my need to face them every day.
A more prominent example of this avoidance was my rapidly deteriorating social health and, in turn, mental health during the highs of the pandemic. I have always loved being alone and in my own company. I enjoy spending time with myself without the presence of others. I prided myself on being independent and rarely relying on others. But this desire for solitary transformed into social isolation.
As two weeks off of school turned into a few months, I began to think that I did not need interaction with others to live. I thought I felt completely content with being on my own for a long time. I did the same thing every day. I woke up to attend school and went to my zoom meetings, where I saw rows of black screens. I did my homework, ate food, and read books for entertainment. I occasionally texted my friends, but nothing in my life included physically seeing other people. I liked this lifestyle. It was perfectly fine until it wasn’t.
When the world began to open up again, I stayed inside. I was so used to being isolated inside my room from other people that I didn’t want it to change. I got used to this lifestyle and believed that disrupting it would lead to destruction. My irrational mind told me something terrible would happen. I would panic. I would run. I would disappoint myself and my friends. I knew something was wrong with me, but I kept running away from it. I didn’t want to address it because I would have to acknowledge that I had changed severely. That I made choices that let it get this bad. That I needed help. I ran until I couldn’t anymore.
This act of avoidance is present in many people but manifests itself differently. One may indulge in other people, social media, video games, sleeping, overworking, drug use, alcohol, and sex. People utilize these things to ignore their problems by drowning themselves in something else. Distraction may feel good at that moment, but it will bite back in the long run. Facing your problems and actively attacking them will have a tremendously positive impact. You can live freely without any guilt holding you back. You can live truthfully.