I used to think I did a great job of being alone in my own head.  I mistook being introverted, shy and alone with being in my own head.  And I do better than a lot of people at being alone, but I’m not sure that I was ever thinking about anything serious.  I did/do play a lot of games of “what-if” in my head but I think I also spent a lot of time pushing things down and avoiding a lot of stuff.

I have behavior that I’m not proud of.  A lot of it was referring to as “self destructive behavior”.  The biggest is/was retail therapy.  As a kid I spent a ton of money on stupid stuff, ran up credit card debt, etc.  I still do it today, but I do a better job of controlling the spending and make more money so these little sprees don’t necessarily impact me as bad.  What I didn’t realize (slow kid, remember?) is that I don’t think this is self sabotage like I originally thought, I think it’s a distraction.  I think when things are going so bad that working out, or loud music or reading, tv, movies aren’t enough to distract myself things like retail therapy kick in.  I get so focused on the pursuit, the technical specifications of what I’m looking at, shopping for the best price, comparing alternatives that it’s almost an addiction.  And it is, I’m addicted to turning my brain off and not feeling/thinking about whatever it is I’m avoiding.  This is up there with my “need for speed”, riding recklessly on a motorcycle, going so fast and silly that I have to completely focus on what I’m doing to (hopefully) stay alive.  Or tying more than a couple on, or back in the day finding a group of soldiers who wanted to go to the strip clubs and tagging along.  Nothing distracts a young, hetero male like naked breasts.

So great.  Again, how to apply the knowledge?  Obviously, learning how to deal with bad things without having to hide from it would be best.  But I think sometimes the brain does what it needs to to protect itself.  So then I guess learning healthier ways to distract myself.  Religion/prayer has helped.  Longboarding when the weather is good.  I’m not sure if as I get better if that will go away, it requires a lot of concentration right now.  Art will do it for me, but it’s a lot of work, and when I’m feeling depressed I can’t see myself wanting to get into something, but maybe with practice, with making art a habit, then maybe when things are good or bad I’ll do it?  I’ve never been a big video gamer but I’m wondering if that’s not a good idea.  Lots of people are more than able to spend hours and hours zoning out playing Call of Duty…

What do you do?


2 Responses to “Distractions”

  1. I’m assuming you aren’t looking for the self-destructive coping mechanisms, because I have those, too. :/

    Physical activity ~ I like old school calisthenics and weight lifting, although I used to be into climbing. Behavior mod ~ I leave my building at least once a day, every day, regardless. Computer games ~ may be solitaire, may be Bejeweled, may be a time management game (those were big for a while), but I can fall into those the way other people fall into console or online games. Audio books ~ this is specifically for sleeping (those 3 AM hauntings), but Harry Potter has been my refuge for almost 10 years now when I can’t sleep for thinking. The key is something that you know well enough that you don’t have to see how it ends, but is interesting to hold your attention, so the Hauntings don’t get in ~ and you drift off.

    • Yeah. I can usually distract myself from the “little stuff” with most of you mentioned. I haven’t slept well in months unless I take an Ambien. So I’m reading til 3-4 most morning just so I’m not alone with the haunting thoughts. Work out/physical exercise works on some level, walking outside/focusing on the beauty, etc. It’s the big stuff that calls for the big distractions.

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