We all use escapism as a coping strategy to some degree. I quite fancy playing word games on my iphone as it brings me a welcome interruption from anxious thoughts. I can also get lost in a forensic documentary or two. it’s when escapism becomes the main form of coping that we might be heading for trouble.
Some people are so good at escapism that they very rarely tackle the underlying issues and can end up like a rat in a maze, repeating the same unhealthy behavioural patterns over and over again.
Forms of escapism that are popular (and hard to escape ironically) take the form of drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling and other similar types of behaviour. These temporarily transport us to a mental place where we don’t have to feel the anxiety and distress connected to the reality of our lives.
Escapism as a coping strategy is only a temporary solution that actually ends up adding to our stress levels. We feel guilt for escaping and become more self critical. Self hatred then in turn leads us to want to escape even more and the cycle continues.
The best way to counteract escapism is to be brave and face your fears. Face the reality and find solutions. Not only will reality be somewhere you want to escape from less (because you are actively dealing with your issues), avoiding escapism can increase your self confidence – you feel better about yourself for approaching your problems and you also get added confidence from resolving them.