My therapist used to ask me how I was so normal. She’d do this quite a lot. I’d be telling her about something, and she’d just lean forward and ask me. The thing is, I’ve never felt normal. Maybe it’s because I’m with me all the time, I see all my stupid mistakes and faux pas, and B only saw me for an hour a week. But then again, I guess everyone makes mistakes and faux pas, so that would be normal. Does anyone ever feel normal?
After a few years of being asked, I stopped treating it as a rhetorical question and thought about it. The only thing I could come up with is that I spent most of my time in fantasy worlds I built in my head. If I could have done this during my mom’s screaming, I might be even more normal, but yeah, you didn’t want to look like you weren’t paying attention. But the rides to school, during boring classes, anytime I had even remotely free, I was day dreaming. It stopped me from dwelling too much on what was happening at home and gave me something better to focus on.
I did the same thing when things got bad with M. Most of the time I was thinking of happier scenarios–a very single me living in an amazing house with an amazing job and just generally being happy. Occasionally I would fantasize about what would happen if I just undid my seatbelt and opened the car door when we were going down the highway. I could picture the way I would sort of bounce and tumble, the way the cars behind would move as the first few ran over me and the rest tried to swerve. The way M would fee horrible, knowing he was partly to blame. I never imagined myself with anyone else, however; even imaginary cheating seemed wrong to me. I draw weird lines in the sand.
I could go through every time in my life when I’ve resorted to this, but it would make for a long and repetitive post. The long and short of it is that any time I’ve been depressed over the years, I stop living life and start imagining it. Which I know can’t possibly be healthy. Even if it did save me from more damage than I already experienced when I was a kid. But how do you shake a coping mechanism?