Coping (Part 3)

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Escape by Any Means: Sleep, Books, Computer games, Fantasy life

Sleep is a means of escape for me. I love to sleep—good, solid sleep with REM and deep sleep and all of that. I am a good sleeper. The problem is that I need a fair amount of sleep. Oh, some nights I am fine with six hours, and I can get by on four hours, but most nights I really want about eight hours of sleep. In all honesty, I want to go to bed with the sun and get up with the sun. That means I want a lot more sleep in the winter. Life doesn’t work that way. Well, maybe if I were a hunter-gatherer, it would be great. Unfortunately, I was born about 4,000 years too late. I can escape most of my problems in sleep.

The only thing that interferes with my sleep is financial difficulties. And babies, but I’m past that stage. That means the work problems, the family relationship problems, the daily life problems—they’re all escapable in sleep. When I don’t have anything to get up for, I can stay in bed and sleep a couple of extra hours. The problem is that if I sleep too much, I feel awful for the whole day. There is the number one reason why I don’t escape life in sleep. I hate, hate, hate feeling awful all day. I’d rather get up and make lists of things I have to do and tackle them. Sometimes I use other avoidance techniques, but sleep is mainly a night-time diversion.

I am an avid reader. If I have nothing else to read, I’ll read the backs or sides of cereal boxes. I’ve learned a lot of chemistry this way! I blame my reading on my parents. They never got around to buying a television when I was a kid. My dad was also an avid reader and he subscribed to a wide variety of magazines along with a daily and two weekly newspapers. He also belonged to a book club. I currently subscribe to a newspaper and two magazines, and visit the library a lot. I saw the librarian in the grocery store this week, and she recognized me.

When I have nothing better to do, reading entertains me. I can lose myself in a book much better than in a movie. As a matter of fact, movies usually disappoint me and often bore me. In books, I find adventures in far-away places and other lifestyles. I lose myself in the story completely. I can read for hours, or until I feel the need to go get some physical exercise. After I’ve gotten my daily quota of exercise, I’m good for several more hours of reading. If the book is really good, I’ll even short myself on sleep. Avoidance through reading works really well for me. It doesn’t have to be books either. It can be on-line stories or newspapers. The internet is a little bit of a dangerous thing for me. I am cognizant of it and usually reward myself with internet “play” time for finishing something else. It works better that way.

Computer Games and Fantasy Life
These operate in the same way that books do, with very minor differences. I have a couple games that I like to play because I can be successful at them—the rules are defined and luck or other people’s decisions don’t affect the outcomes. I like those. I can grasp the concepts that lead to success and implement them readily. Real life doesn’t work that way. When my real life is bottoming out, I really need something to be successful at, and these are my answer. I find it difficult to motivate myself to move on towards goals that will improve my life at those times. I can do it, but I have to make lists, set an alarm, and get up and get at it. I also have to feel that there is a way out. Sometimes, finding that way out is the tough part. Right now, I’m struggling with that, and working on finding my way out.


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