Ah, fandom. The kind of fantastic shit I've been hiding from my mother for years.
Hello Internet, it is I, Charlie; here again to make a fool out of myself online over stuff I like. Like my old deviantart account once did. The one that I never ever ever, EVER want to associate with myself ever again. And unless you want to see some middle schooler's ms paint fanart of InuYasha, you won't either.
My rantings are less about what fandoms I'm a part of, because honestly I'm not prevalent in any fandoms. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of shit. Like, more than I should. But I'm not really integrated into any communities. I haven't contributed anything (unless you count ms paint InuYasha fan art). I wasn't a theater kid, I don't cosplay, and I'm not huge into the con scene, though I do love going from time to time. Cons are just rough when you have anxiety, and I know my limits.
But my personal fandoms, my private loves and thoughts, those mean the world to me. I have had a lot of people in my life who have a hard time differentiating between passion and obsession, and have tried to tell me that my passions were obessions. Too strong, weird, fleeting, and ultimately, unimportant. (See previously mentioned mother.) They couldn't have been more wrong.
Time to overshare!
As a person with Depression, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I didn't, and still don't, see the world like most people do. I formed friendships differently, interacted and thought differently, and functioned differently. Some might say with more difficulty, and at times, rightly so. My passions, my fandoms, were a thing that I could enjoy uninhibited, not like the rest of my life. For once, there didn't have to be work. I didn't have to struggle. I could just love something.
I know you've probably read about people who have said that a certain fandom has saved their life, and maybe you rolled your eyes at that, but let me give you pause. There are times where that's true. There are times where when you feel like you have nothing; but having something, that one thing, can change everything. I'm positive that there was a point in my life that, yeah, Kingdom Hearts saved my life. (Even If it is currently killing me, where is my Kingdom Hearts 3 goddamnit.) Then later, Doctor Who saved my life, or Sherlock Holmes, or the Inkheart Books, or Bioshock or Dragon Age. All those things mean so much to me, and they always will.
And as I moved from interest to interest, enjoying things, I found people. People that saw the world like I did, and understood, and enjoyed the things I enjoyed. The things that kept me around opened doors, and bit by bit, I wasn't alone anymore. Passion can not only save, but provide a support group.
Fandom is fun, that's a fact. It's one of the most fun things in the world. Loving something and surrounding yourself with other people who love it just as much is so invigorating, so edifying. But it can be so much more. Sometimes, it can make all the difference