A letter from Erin: On denial and my radio silence

This week’s post is a bit more of a life update than what I normally write, but I think it’s important for me to say.

As some of you know, shortly after I posted about why I’ll never regret not finishing my idea about D&D, my grandmother passed away in the hospital.

Since then, so many of you have reached out to me to make sure I’m okay, and I honestly don’t know if I even know strong enough words to express how much that means to me. It’s been kind of hard for me to express how I’m doing, so indulge me for a moment while I share what’s been happening and why I’ve been relatively radio-silent.

My struggle with denial

The last few weeks surrounding my grandmother have been an emotional roller coaster—one day we thought we were losing her, the next the hospital was sending her home. Following her death ten days ago, I’ve been somewhat in a state of denial. I know that’s not necessarily healthy, but at the same time, I’m not ashamed to admit that’s what happened.

Instead of facing the facts of what had happened, I lost myself in my games. I guess I thought if I closed my eyes and didn’t look at it, she’d still be there next Christmas. I wasn’t really present in those games; although I remember a few things, I couldn’t focus well enough to be able to come up with a topic for today. I just played them because well, that’s what I do.

For a while, that strategy worked.

I very happily lost myself in alternate worlds, constantly falling off the Moonfire Faire jumping puzzle in FFXIV and almost party-wiping us in D&D because an absent-minded cleric is not the healer you want on your team.

It wasn’t until last Friday I realized what was going on.

I had completely closed my eyes to everything. I couldn’t think about my grandmother, I couldn’t bring myself to work on my blog—something that almost always helps take my mind off of whatever else is happening in my life. I couldn’t even concentrate long enough to write a gosh-darn Instagram caption.

That was a hard thing to realize, because I knew as soon as I looked at one thing, I’d have to look at all of them. And on Friday, that’s what I did.

I had a full-out tear-filled meltdown because of everything. I cried over my grandmother, I cried over not having a dress for the funeral, I cried out of frustration for not having a single solid memory in my head that I could share with my dad for his eulogy.

It was the worst feeling.

My hope for you

Back in July, I wrote about why I thought escapism wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. And I stand by that opinion; video games can be a great way to unplug after a rough day.

But the way I used escapism, it was a bad thing. I didn’t turn to my video games to get out of my head for a bit; I was using them to ignore what I was feeling and hopefully push life back to normal as soon as possible.

I sincerely hope you don’t have to, but if you ever find yourself in the same position as me, I hope you can take my experience and find the balance I couldn’t. As much as it’s perfectly healthy to turn to our normals in tough times, we shouldn’t turn to them to hide from tough times.

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