Happy Nerd: How the Culture Helps My Anxiety
I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a nerd. I think it was hardwired into me from birth, much like joy or sadness.
Unfortunately, though, so was an Anxiety Disorder and Depression.
Lurking in the corners of my mind like teeny-tiny little gremlins, those two have been questioning every decision I have made my entire life. I imagine these delightful guests are probably hanging around house-party style in everyone’s thoughts every so often.
*Quick question: Who doesn’t feel bogged down by the wonderful shit-show that is adulting? Anyone? Moving on, then.
There are a lot of us out there
It wasn’t until I mentioned this while talking with some of my friends that I came to an interesting realization: there are a lot of us anxious folk in Nerdland.
What’s the correlation between Anxiety and sweet, glorious nerddom? Probably the same thing that makes Halloween (the holiday, friends, not the movie) the huge success that it is:
The ability to experience something other than reality, even if only for a little bit.
I personally got really into Harry Potter in my late teens (like, REALLY into it, guys), and my love for immersing myself into something more fantastical was born. I’m not even going to lie and say that I am not still into Harry Potter an uncomfortable amount for an adult woman (especially when my three sons are so over it), but it will always represent a sense of security for me.
This has been a pattern for me over the years: Supernatural got me through postpartum depression the first time around, Sherlock the second time.
When life feels a little heavy in between the stress of jobs (and raising kids and paying bills and remembering to socialize and… great, I’m doing that anxious thing now, aren’t I?), Penny Dreadful always has a way of making me feel like maybe my current situation isn’t really that bad.
I have found that disappearing into a movie, series, book or video game has helped me to process my thoughts when they seem to be flying at me a mile a minute: it’s my form of self-care.
In a culture that tends to sweep the “unpleasantness” of mental illness under the rug (which is ridiculous that there is a stigma around this in the first place, but I digress…), it’s really no surprise that we are finding ways to cope by escaping.
That, and it sure is a blast being a nerd.
What do you think? Does getting your geek on help with your stress? I’d love to hear your take on the subject!