Friday, January 24, 2014

How Fandom Saved my Life

(Trigger warning for allusions to suicide, depression)

I get excited about things like book releases, movie premieres, and new television seasons because in the past it was the only thing to keep me going. Harry Potter saved my life more times than I can count. “You would miss out on Deathly Hallows, you need to find out what happens,” I would tell myself. “You need to see the final movie before doing anything drastic,” I would tell myself. There was a bit of time after everything was done where I felt numb. Yes, it was my childhood and those Hogwarts students were my friends who I would never see again. Mostly, however, it was that I didn’t have anything to look forward to.

I had things to stick around for, yes. Things like my family and my friends, but when you’re at those low points of which I was often, you start to think it would be in their favor to rid them of you. When I was stuck lower than I had ever been before, my love for my family wasn’t going to save me. Self-hatred prompted me to think that everyone would be better off without me, so if I loved my get the picture.

Knowing in my heart that I didn’t want to die, I looked for other things to look forward to. I tend to sign in to my old Neopets account whenever I’m feeling depressed, because I know from the Post-Potter Depression that doing those daily things like collecting the daily freebies, feeding my pets and playing my favorite games three times a day gave me something that I had to get up for. I’ve had my same Neo account for 10 years and I’ve been active for at least two months every year, because it’s a coping mechanism that I know how to use. However, it wasn’t community based enough for me. I never was quite accepted into a peer group on the message boards (although I did manage to make a few friends who I’m still in contact with today). No one was all excited for one thing at one time, the closest thing only ever being the Altador Cup and that was only once a year. It wasn’t enough.

So then comes Nerdfighteria and looking forward to their videos and P4A. Then comes Starkid and waiting for their new musicals to go up on YouTube. And then Glee. And then Doctor Who and a variety of other shows (and the Marvel movies and THG books/movies) I could distract myself with while I was busy trying to stay alive to watch the next season of Glee. I actually kept a calendar of fandom type things that were happening throughout the year to keep myself calm and grounded. It sounds silly, but it worked. It got me through. Just, wow. What a great thing. I am here to see another year. I am still here. It doesn’t matter how it happened, as long as it happened.

I’m currently on great meds, going to counseling weekly and feeling really good, mentally. I still happen to know that there are 85 days until Orphan Black season 2 and only 31 days until the new season of Glee. It’s now just a habit, but I also keep up with it as a fallback, a just in case. If 2014 isn’t as great as I’m predicting and if everything goes to shit, I have my fandoms to fall back on. It makes me feel safe. Safe enough to maybe start tippy-toeing out into the world and taking a few risks. We’ll see.

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