I was hoping you guys might have some insight or opinions on a particular coping mechanism I’ve developed lately…
It’s been two years since I last had a psychotic episode, but I tend to get extremely paranoid that one is going to start, so much so that I don’t often do any of the things I previously enjoyed. It’s not that I’ve lost interest in them exactly. It’s more that I’m afraid that if I care about the quality of what I’m doing, I’m going to start “listening” for feedback in my own mind, and I really don’t want to relapse.
Because of that I’ve stopped writing, drawing, participating in e-sports (competing in video games for titles and/or prizes), and even going to college. Half the time I won’t even play multiplayer video games without large amounts of alcohol to make me “not care.”
Recently, though, I’ve started “streaming” while playing games. I’d always avoided it in the past because I’m female and couldn’t think of ANY reason to let people watch me play except to get attention, buuuuut…I’m getting some unexpected emotional/psychological results from doing it. If I can look at my dashboard and physically see a number indicating that I have viewers, it eases my apprehension.
It seems like knowing people are watching, and that it’s with my consent, calms my fears of being illegitimately “watched” (That was always one of my biggest delusions). Before I accepted my diagnosis, I got really used to “putting on a show” for the people I imagined were watching me. I think it turned me into some sort of adrenaline junkie and I miss the spotlight. But talking into a camera and being able to see the number of viewers on my screen is calming me down enough to be a “try hard” again. It’s actually discouraging me from drinking alcohol when I play because alcohol dulls my reflexes and I don’t want to look like THAT much of an idiot.
I’m also finding that karaoke does something similar for me. If I go to a karaoke bar and sing, I drink less. It’s like I already know that I’ve put myself on display for judgement and that people already know I exist, so I’m not getting as paranoid.
I guess I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced something similar or know of anyone who’s used “performing” of any type to cope with the fear of relapsing or looking “weird” to other people. So far, it SEEMS to be doing me a lot of good. It’s cutting down my drinking and the time I spend sleeping, and it’s getting me back into some of my old hobbies. I just don’t want to be an attention junkie or be coping in an unhealthy way. I don’t know anyone in person who can relate, so I thought I’d ask you guys…