"I was sad" - it took me so long to be able to admit these words, to hear them coming from myself.
I had a counseling session in the past and this was one of the simple realization that I had at the time. The words carried so much weight that many things finally start to fall in place. I hated to be called anything but happy, to not be "okay" or to feel that something is wrong with me. To find that something is indeed broken and I was displaying them outwardly shamelessly.
And all this while I unconsciously found myself digging deeper into escapism over time, refusing to acknowledge that I was unwell. I drowned myself in fictional works where I felt validated when I discover characters who's suffering from similar or worse situation. I couldn't bring myself to cry, so I let these imaginary entities cry for me, laugh for me, and find companionship for me.
In this increasingly divisive and ruthless world, I wanted others to understand my inner feelings and the pain I accumulate. And since I couldn't find the compassion I sought, I turned the other way. I couldn't accept that reality is this bleak and unforgiving with people so unwilling to listen and share their worries in fear of judgment. The pages of a book, the screen of the TV, the emotionally somber songs were all a safe haven where all this won't have to happen. They're places where I get to wallow about my thoughts unrestrained. They brought me to the highest peaks and lowest trenches at my own control, restricted only by works I could find and consume.
What finally forced me to confront this was when I put a complete stop into escapism as part of my attempt to understand myself better. Instead of hoping for these imaginary one-way para-social activities with no reciprocity or solution, I started talking to therapists and counselors who helped me to process my thoughts. What prevented me from confronting this before was the fear that at the end, there's only an unbearable loneliness that awaits me. It wasn't until I had enough support network that I gathered the courage to do so.
As an end note, it's both enlightening and terrifying that as a social creature, we're able to dream up our connection to other people and completely substitute them with the strength of our imagination alone.