Monday, 5 August 2013

The Happy Place - Stress Relief Fantasy

Well, having typed out the title of this post, I have to admit, it does look a bit like I'm about to mention drugs... Trust me, I'm not! No drugs for me, my brain is messed up enough as it is. I'm not one for drugs at all, whether legal or illegal. That includes mood altering ones like Ritalin. I think I'd rather deal with my problems myself, rather than having them dumbed by drugs. But anyway, that's beside the point. This post is about one of the best coping strategies I've found for dealing with stress of everyday life. Hiding in fantasies!

By fantasies I don't mean the kind of thing that tends to come up when you Google that word. I mean as in stories, or games, things that suck you into their own world. Books, films, video games, even just my own thoughts, when I get lost in them it's like there's no stress anymore. The only thing that exists is the fantasy, and the characters in it. Sure, I can get stressed playing a game (sorry parents, you've heard my shouting), but that's just frustration, and disappears almost immediately. When I'm really lost in a fantasy, I don't have to worry about the mood of the people I'm interacting with, or how they'll respond to me, or whether any hypersensitivities are going to flare up, or anything like that. I can just be me, and if that means being silent for hours and hours reading a book, that's great for me.

As soon as anyone comes into my bedroom, it's immediately obvious that I have an interest in books. My bookcase is directly opposite my door, and is filled from top to bottom with a couple of hundred books, all of which I've read along with the other books scattered round my room. I get the best stress relief from them, as I can just imagine all of the characters and sink into the story. Films are a bit harder to notice, since I don't own many DVDs compared to some people. Instead I make a lot of use of Netflix, the greatest site since sliced I use it for TV shows as well. I love it when a story's universe is really deep, because then I can sink even further into the story by researching it. Recently I started watching Star Trek: TNG (Stereotypical I know!), and I love how deep and detailed the universe is! I could spend all day in it. Which admittedly can be a problem, losing track of time...

One other big form of stress relief is creating my own universe. I love to do that, drawing out characters or starships, weapons and vehicles, making biographies and timelines, and sometimes even writing little stories to go with them. It allows me to be creative and destress at the same time, which I can rarely do anywhere else. (College art class, I'm looking at you!) Now, I feel this post has been a bit self indulgent, so I should say that the point was that a lot of autistic people do sink into their own fantasies, for similar reasons to me. So sometimes, if they don't seem to be listening, or aren't paying attention, it could be because in their mind they're off elsewhere, on a great adventure that only they know about. There's a common misconception that we aren't very creative or imaginative, and stick with science and maths instead. Try saying that once you've seen some of the stuff we get up to!

Sorry for the gap since my last post, had a bit of trouble with motivation recently. See you guys soon!


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