I remember the distinct moment I knew I had to leave the country for the sake of my sanity. I had spent most of April and May 2017 indulging in nearly every single Amazon Original video series created, as well as a smattering of Netflix shows and movies. I would find a show with an eccentric TV family and melt into their made-up world because it felt like I belonged somewhere and was a part of a whole family – albeit messed up — but still a whole family. I binged-watched so much television that I developed a bit of anxiety about going outside. It got to a point where I would have to spend a couple hours psyching myself up to go out in the real world. Several times, I’d walk towards my front door, then somehow panic would take over, and I’d quickly sink back down into the couch again. I knew the only way I would make it outside was if I made appointments that I couldn’t miss. So I decided to get a checkup.
“You are severely vitamin-D deficient,” my doctor told me when I finally made it out. That was expected. I told him about the circumstances surrounding my dad’s death. Nodding in sympathy, he replied that he could give me some anti-depressants if I would like. It was then that I realized it. That was my aha moment. It was the realization that brought me back to this reality after floating around in an alternate universe since December. I declined his offer, and walked home determined to not lose what memory I had left of my dad in a haze of pills.
A couple weeks later, I booked a one-way ticket to Paris. Knowing I didn’t want to stay in Paris but needed to get out of the city, I sent out two messages to two separate people — both of whom I hadn’t seen in nearly a decade — to ask for advice on where to go. Each had lived there when we went to school together. Both responded. One of them changed my life.