Saturday, 3 September 2011

Knowing what is real and what is not - recognizing the difference.

No, this post is not about cats (for a change).  Just an illustration of my point
Her name is Lady Penelope, she was bought from the Tuesday antiques market in Aylesbury about 15 years ago.  She is not REAL.

Yesterday,  I had one of my all-too-rare visits from John's daughter and grandson.  Technically I suppose, my step-daughter and grandson, but this is not how I have ever thought of them.

John had a son and a daughter from his first marriage and both children were brought up by his ex-wife and her partner.

We saw them about once a month after our marriage and took them out for the day usually to the coast, since they lived pretty far down in Kent.

We ceased to see the son many years ago - no details since this is not the place and it is not my story - but continued on a fairly irregular basis to see the daughter.  When she married and had a son we saw them both much more frequently and became closer as a family.

The grandson became an army cadet and joined the regular army at the age of about 17.  He is a lovely boy and both his grandfather and I were very fond of him.

He has been to Iraq at the age of about 20 and then after a spell back at base went to Afghanistan.  He has a pretty action-based profession and is (unfortunately) once more in line for a tour of duty in Afghanistan.  He is now 23 with a wise head on young shoulders and looks life straight in the face.

His mother is (rightly) very proud of him, his progress  has been rapid and he never fails an exam or test, but she is of course, worried and fearful for his safety.

I, perhaps more than most people, tend to live in a fantasy world.  When life becomes too difficult to cope with I tend to retreat into a dream-like existence where anything can be what I want it to be.

Most of the time, I am able to snap back to hard reality, but, lacking close companionship find this form of retreat works for me.

I don't think I'm any less balanced than most other people, but have found this 'safety-blanket' a useful tool when situations around me would otherwise cause too much stress.

So far, and I hope for ever, it has always been possible to snap out of 'escape' mode and step back into the real world.

I do know the difference, just sometimes make the easier choice.


  1. I too put a fence around me, or retreat into novels .It is a defence. I don't want any more hurt or stress in my life, but am trying to give it to God the minute it happens.Even the hurts of the past when recalled I give to God before I wallow. I wish I had realised all this years ago.(Take captive every thought). I am trying to face up to things more and have friends I trust to share with, knowing they pray for me.
    Fantasy worlds and real worlds are as you say Ok as long as we know the difference-you clearly do, or you wouldn't have called your blog Daydreamer.

  2. I get it, Ray. I'm spending a lot of my time in the 12th Century right now solving mysteries with Brother Cadfael. Life is hard (even while God is good) and sometimes we can only look at it sideways, if that. But it's clear you know the difference....The main thing is to stay connected to people - it's the isolation that is harmful to you.

  3. It's interesting you should be speaking about retreating into a fantasy work when things become tough...... I had some meditation lessons a few years ago and one of the first things you had to do is to establish a safe, beautiful and relaxing place - one where you could retreat to whenever things got bad.

  4. Margaret, Penny, Freda, thankyou all for your comments.
    While each of you in different ways appears to share some of the reasoning behind this behaviour, there is nevertheless for me, a strong element of escapism. A way of avoiding situations I feel unable to deal with openly.
    Playing out imaginary scenarios with very different endings from the real ones and deriving comfort from my inner version is probably not all that healthy, but is still a way of coping, without publicly capsizing under the weight of stress.
    If that is too much information I'm sorry, but it is not a cosy solution, merely one that works.

  5. this summer is the first time I have actively retreated away from a scenario that was causing too much stress. Now I am facing the harsh reality of choosing whether to stay fenced away from it or to step back into it - such a hard decision to make.

  6. I am so sorry you find yourself in this situation Jane. I read your blog so am aware of what is involved here.
    What works for me is not necessarily the right choice for anyone else, nor would I advocate my escapism for others' problems. Sadly, introspection tends to feed on itself and for me the only reason I use this type of armour is my extreme loneliness.
    I am not in any way qualified to offer advice but would always advocate using other people as sounding boards if there is anyone available.
    I will include you in my prayers.

  7. It's an amazing gift, the imagination. I like it best when it's about play versus coping, but I'd say either way it remains a gift.

    From some very painful & long ago experiences of my own, I found that place of retreat so very helpful. I doubt I'd have found my way to the depths of it on my own, so in that sense the pain took me where I might otherwise have not gone.

    Though well beyond the hurt of that time, I am now (finally) grateful for those deep places. I have been enabled to empathize in a more meaningful way, if not to see/create in a more colorful dimension as well.

    Bless you!

  8. Hi Kathleen.
    It is true, I think that imagination is a gift, it is not enough in any sense, to cope with all of life's problems, but it can provide a good, strong barrier from the worst of hurts. Until at least, it is possible to face up to the problem in 'real' life.

  9. I think when times are tough it's good to 'play', whatever that is for the individual. I paint and get lost in what I'm doing. I think it's good for our mental health.

  10. Thanks Jenny
    I'm glad some people recognize the need to escape sometimes, and that not all of us greet each day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.