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It started after Adam, Elizabeth, and Jane passed away suddenly and we were making the initial long drive to Las Vegas to be there to support family. I already suffer a pretty horrific case of depression, but the anxiety and grief I felt then was at a whole new level. Mentally I couldn’t even wrap my head around using the time in the car to answer emails, sort pictures, or even read a book – my mind just couldn’t handle even the allusion of productivity. I needed to escape. And I let myself.
I downloaded Candy Crush onto my iPhone. Yep, candy crush. I’m about a decade late to the game, but I figured if it was so popular, there must be something to it.
I also re-downloaded Wood Puzzles and 2048 (these have both been problems for me before because I can just mindlessly play them without realizing time has passed, so I had deleted them before). I also decided to download Wordscapes.
I already had Facebook on my phone, and though I found it difficult to go through my newsfeed and see people living regular lives while I felt like the world should have been stopped, I used Facebook to feed my new addiction: Golden Doodle Facebook groups. I can escape for hours into the vortex of pictures posted by other Doodle owners. I love the videos and stories of adorable puppies. I also love positive feedback about my own adorable puppy. This has been a warm, fuzzy, cuddly escape … so I’m going to keep this one and try self-constraint. I think I can do it.
I won’t call all of these escapes necessarily trouble at the time they started, but my addictions definitely started to be troubling.
I hit rock bottom this weekend. It started with Friday afternoon when I heard about a new game, Drag’N Merge. Sounds innocent enough, but evidently I found the most addictive game for my personality. I played it in every spare second this weekend and could hardly sleep Friday or Saturday night because I couldn’t put it down. Bad, bad Mary.
Tonight as I was playing it after the kids went to bed, it started to dawn on me (ok, I had been ignoring self-improving thoughts all weekend) … this game is not good for me. In fact, I have pretty much zero self-control with it.
And I want to have a good week. I want to Spring Clean and get some good work done and make some good progress on my to do list. I also don’t want premature arthritis and eye fatigue. Let’s be real – too much was getting to be waaaaay too much.
So, I deleted all the things on my phone that are sucking the life from my life. And then I thought – I’m going to blog about this because I’m probably not the only one with these embarrassing addictions.
I’m grateful for these diversions at a time I needed help to cope with extreme shock and grief. But, now is the time to face the grief without the numbing. Time for the next season, the new normal, to begin.
Maybe it is time for you to delete the things out of your life that are sucking the life out. Maybe it’s an app or maybe it’s that extra nap or maybe it’s the lack of that extra nap or maybe it is tv or bingo (is that still a thing?) … whatever it is: Choose life instead.
If you just need to survive and you still need a few escapes, that’s okay. Maybe pick ones that are easier for you to control. But maybe it’s time to end survival mode? Only you know, but maybe you don’t have to wait until rock bottom like me.
Thanks to all of my friends and family who haven’t expected much out of me the last few months. Thanks to all the readers too. You are a pretty amazing and empathetic community. Thank you.