Memories as a way to escape reality when things are bad. We seek shelter wherever we can. Too often our mind seeks refuge in dangerous places. Sometimes this is in self-destructive behaviours like substance abuse. Then there are times our mind sprints to our past as it is often a place of comfort and security. It acts as a form of escapism when you find yourself overwhelmed by life.
Memories are powerful
Burying yourself into your past gives you short-term relief; it takes you to a place where things seemed perfect. Maybe it’s your perfect childhood, a day out with your family or a surprise birthday party. Maybe it was the best date you’ve ever had or else, just a crazy adventure. It is an enriching escape route because the past is a constant; it is rigid and inflexible because whatever you do in the future, your past is set. Using your memories as escapism is powerful. In comparison, your present and your future are of a fluid composition; it may seem bleak, scary and unknown.
It becomes a habit
The problem with sinking into your nostalgia habitually is the fact that it has the same effect as substance abuse and overindulgence in anything at all. Using your memories as escapism does not actually aid you in the ‘right here right now’. Too often, I find the past may as well fall under the category of a hallucinogen because over-indulgence and the misuse of it is damaging but cunningly masked. It’s something that is great as long as you don’t refer to it in excess. Reveling in a place and time that is no longer relevant as you run away from your presence.
You fail to see the full reality of your past memories and keep grasp onto those ‘perfect’ moments. You think of them so much so that you forget that there were inadequacies. So, of course, nothing will ever measure up to your past because you have managed to idealise your memories.
It gives rise to a vicious cycle. Your presence becomes all the more unbearable as you equate your idealised past to your present and start believing that your romanticised recollections are the norm or ought to be. What you may fail to grasp is that the situation was never perfect; it was your emotional response to it that was. If you were to be aware of that simple fact that your attitude decides everything, it would make you want to zoom back into the present to adjust yourself emotionally.