My relationship with TV was a normal one up to a certain moment in my life and then it slowly began to change into something, different. As it does when one is a shut in and dealing with social anxiety and trust issues.
Let me start by saying that despite having a troubled childhood that mostly stemmed from some abuse that I suffered at a very young age, I was pretty happy and normal. I had friends, and I socialized. I went out, they came over. We had a lot of laughs. I didn’t have a huge entourage, but that was fine with me, what I did have were closer than family, since I wasn’t that close to my own family they were what I considered family.
The years went by and I got married, the first in my group and my apartment became the place to hang out. My oldest was born, and things went pretty well. My friendships went through a distancing period, as does when one has children but your friends don’t. But my friends were good and we managed to keep our bonds. Then my daughter was born and then my youngest son.
He was 9 months old when we began to become concerned with him not meeting milestones and we began testing, MRI’s, CATScans and blood work and one month after his first birthday he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
At that point it became difficult to focus on friendships, my life becoming about doctor appointments, dieticians and therapists. My son’s follow up diagnosis as failure to thrive added a feeding tube to our routine in an attempt to allow him to put on weight and actually grow.
My son is now 17, he is totally dependant on us for his day to day activities. He is non-verbal and with eating difficulties and incontinence, my life is still pretty much revolving around him. Now, please don’t get me wrong because I am not complaining about this. It’s life, and I love him more than anything else in this universe. He’s my superstar, a trouble and mischief maker who has an infectious laugh and such a great attitude that you can’t help smile when he’s up to his elbows in mischief.
But, while I was dealing with all of the stuff around my son, my friends slowly slipped away. Those people that I thought of as family showed me with so much ease that they didn’t feel the same for me that the betrayal was devastating.
So as each friend slipped away it hurt. Hurt that they wouldn’t attempt to understand what their friendship meant to me. Hurt that they wouldn’t attempt to keep our friendship alive and it was devastating that I was so easy to cast aside.
Add into that friends that gossiped and judged me for my parenting skills, they knowing that if my son were theirs they would have done things so much better than I. Their betrayal was like a knife to my heart. People that had once been my family were so callous and cruel, believing that I would never see their true nature and they’d be able to continue racking me over the coals.
It’s draining dealing with that negativity and so I shut myself away. I made new friends over the years but nobody ever understands what it’s like for me. I can’t just take off for a fun girls night. I can’t just pop out to a movie when most of my money goes into my son and the things he needs to just live, extra clothing, feeding supplies, special diet, and equipment.
So I began to develop social anxiety, because every person I meet is judging me. Or at least that’s what’s going on in my head. And because I am lacking in social contact, I am now awkward in social situations. So when I do meet new people I tend to replay the conversations back a million times, picking apart the moments where I believe I made a faux pas and either insulted, embarrassed someone or was just plain ridiculous. It builds up in my mind so much that by the time the next social activity comes about I’ve convinced myself that there just isn’t any point in going because while on the surface people might actually be pleasant and nice, in the end it’s just not going to be good.
But as I drew away from the world, I turned to TV. TV never cancelled a night out because something better came along. TV would never toss me aside because someone new is on the scene. TV would never talk about me behind my back.
So, when I watch TV it’s my social interaction. I watch with my family and we discuss it, in depth. We try to climb inside the characters minds and understand where they are coming from, what is motivating that character and what is it about that character that makes us either love or hate them so much.
So, when I say that I have a special relationship with TV, it’s true. Others look at my love of these stories and probably wonder why I am so invested in them, but I don’t care.
It’s a sad existance, pushing people away in fear of them being a force of negativity in my life and one day maybe I’ll find a person that I won’t be able to shove away, but until then, I’ll just be happy with my family and TV.