Sometimes when people go through painful experiences, they don't immediately 'deal with it'. One of the ways I think I escape emotional turmoil when I'm not ready to face it, is overworking myself. My focus on the work I embark on during that time is incredible. I'm highly inspired and dedicated to the project I navigate towards in that period, but overly so. I could work for 25 hours straight and sleep for only five. 9 out of 10 times, I complete the task at which point I realize that I still haven't healed from whatever I've gone through which is why I believe this to be a form of escapism.
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True, reading has to be one of the best ways. Writing in your alter ego sounds interesting, almost desirable - If I ever get to write fiction, I'll use that. Perhaps I could even learn using an alter ego. Thanks for sharing :)