On Over-Exposing Yourself to Media That Makes You Emotional

So… between writing that post on scarred characters and going back and replaying Katawa Shoujo… I’ve put myself in a really horrible state of mind. While the fact that I’m able to feel such an incredible connection to scarred characters like Hanako from Katawa Shoujo is wonderful, it also… It changes the dynamic. Playing through that story again was an emotional roller coaster that I was entirely unprepared for.

That story is done well. Like, really, really well. Well enough that, honestly, I get a little triggered from it. I’ve spent the last nine hours sad to a degree that I’m normally not. I suffer from pretty severe depression, but for last two months or so, it’s been manifesting as apathy more than anything. The inability to really care. About anything. I’ve barely left my room, only exiting for brief excursions to eat or go to the bathroom so that I don’t die.

As unpleasant as that is, I’ve spent the last nine hours miserable to a degree that is pretty hard to quantify. Lots of bawling. Lots of desperately wanting someone to help, but being unable and unwilling to ask for it. And kind of… not wanting it from anyone I actually know. I’m in such a bad state of mind that I don’t think I could accept an act of kindness from anyone but a stranger at this point. I found myself searching for burn victim support groups, which turned up nothing, at least in my area. I went broader, looking up general trauma groups, and the nearest one is a four hour drive away, and I don’t have a car.

I hate this town. In my desperation, I looked up broad depression support groups. 4 hours away. I looked up therapists. Every single one of them that I could reasonably travel to has a religious background. I live somewhere that unapologetically sucks.

I guess immersing myself in my past trauma made me feel really lonely. Like, in Katawa Shoujo, Hanako finds someone who cares, and has problems of his own that would make having a relationship with someone “normal” difficult. I saw a stark contrast between that and my own life.

I have never spoken to another burn survivor in person. I have had very brief interactions with someone online, once, and that’s the extent of it. It’s very easy to feel like no one in the world can understand me when I’ve never met anyone who could. Burns are a unique kind of injury… They stay with you forever, and the indescribable pain of being burned severely is impossible to forget. And you have scars that serve as permanent reminders of that pain, the memories of it literally branded into your flesh. No one who has not experienced it can possibly understand what it’s like.

So, I did too much. Spending those six hours reading a story that felt so much like my own life… except with a happy ending; it really ruined me for the day. And I don’t know how long it will last. I know I can’t handle feeling like this for much longer, but I’m so utterly miserable that my usual distractions are ineffective. I can’t even bring myself to open up Katawa Shoujo again, to try one of the other routes. Something like this happened last time, too… which is why I never played the other routes back then, either.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post. I guess I just wanted to mention that it can be easy to inundate yourself with media that opens up old wounds, and if you aren’t careful, it will not only rip them open, it will create new ones.

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2 comments

  1. There can be triggers everywhere. One of the things that my wife has been taught to practice is mindfulness (you can look it up online easy enough). However in developing the ability to be mindful you can be more aware of those emotional triggers and learn to avoid them.

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    • I think it was me absorbing in too much all at once. I could probably manage that game if I played it in short bursts, and posting that piece about scarred characters right before playing it really just put the nail in the coffin. I definitely need to get a better understanding of exactly how much I can take when it comes to triggering stuff like this. I’m normally pretty thick-skinned about this stuff. I mean, I guess I get sad about it when it comes up. But most of the time, I don’t really spiral out of control like this. Thanks for commenting, Vic. It helps to know that someone is reading this stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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