My depressive mind is my best friend. Beyond its constant presence in my life, my depressive mind is my first responder; the first on the scene. It is immediately available and eager to be included. It’s always there, ready to offer a cup of tea, a blanket, and a strong shoulder to cry on while whispering soothing tones of hateful words.
If I’m not vigilant, my depressive mind becomes the central dialogue of my mind. Because my depressive mind has been with me my entire life, it has been fastidiously keeping a mental record of every fuck-up, trip-up, miscalculation, misjudgment, mistake, and faux pas. Lately, though, it’s had a lot to work with. My depressive mind is a crafty, intelligent, harsh little shit.
“Hey! Hey!!!!! How are you? It seems like you are feeling anxious. Don’t worry. Don’t worry. You are not a total fuckup. You are not a total loser. You have a lot to offer.”
Subtle, no? Comforting? No? It continues.
“But while I’m here, I want to remind you what you don’t want to have happen, ok? So, I want you to replay painful conversations. I want you to re-experience upsetting moments. I want you to remember how each and every day is like a punishment for being you. So, that’s what we don’t want to have happen, ok? Ok? We are hoping things go better than, well, pretty much everything in your life beforehand. But don’t you worry, kiddo. I got your back. It’s gonna be ok.”
That’s when the nausea starts. Then, the mind zooms out.
“Look, most likely, everyone hates you. And don’t even think about your parents. Oh my god. You are a total embarrassment to your parents. But you’re doing the best you can, you little trooper, you! They know you are trying, and that is what matters most. Of course, I think you’re going to be homeless. But what better place to be homeless than Southern California??! Right? You are set up, I tell ya.”
When I get to “homeless”, I start to think that maybe this isn’t something I should be listening to. I start actively trying to ignore it. The depressive mind fights back.
“Hey! You can ignore me if you want, but you know that everything I’m telling you is completely true. Do you have anyone to call? No. Do you have anyone to hold you? No. Have you failed at everything in life? YES! What are you going to do about that, huh? HUH???? You’ve had more than enough time, and more than enough opportunities to make this work. Clearly, you can’t. Clearly. You. Can’t. You are trapped in a prison of your own incompetence. Does that hurt?? I hope so. Fuck you.”
When I feel like I have been punched in the stomach, and hope has dimmed to a small needlepoint of light in the distance, my depressive mind moves in for the kill.
“You could kill yourself. You could. You could slit your wrists. With just a little effort, you can be free of bills, and stress, and worry, and the suffocating weight of the future. We can fix alllllll of these problems easily. I have a solution. Just think about it. A little flick….just flick…and all your problems, all our problems, go away.”
But, that’s not a solution, I tell myself. I have resisted this same dialogue most of my life, and my wrists remain perfectly pristine. I won’t do it. I can’t do it. It would hurt people. It would hurt the important people too much. I need my depressive mind to shut up!
“Fine. Fine. I guess we’ll just keep trying. There really is no point. Nothing works out for you. It’s like you’re cursed. But, kiddo, if you want to keep trying, we will keep trying. Maybe you should get married. Maybe you should move home. Maybe you should move into a cheaper apartment. Maybe you should get a job at Starbucks. Is… Are you ok? Is your stomach hurting? Ohhhh, poor thing. Sucks to be you. You really have no options and things will always suck. But don’t worry, I’ll be there to whole time to keep you company.”
Imagine sitting in a room with someone saying those things to you. Imagine you are not allowed to leave that room. You have to sit there and listen to it. You’d want to fight back. But, the depressive mind is perfectly armed to humble and shame you into accepting its criticism: a running trailer of all your greatest hits of shame, embarrassment, hurt, and pain.
Remember that time you fell down the stairs in front of your boyfriend and his friends? That’s there.
Remember getting fired? That’s there.
Remember crashing your car? That’s there.
Remember that fight you had with that friend that time? That’s there.
Remember those people that don’t talk to you anymore. Let’s list them.
Remember the boyfriends you don’t talk to anymore? Let’s list them!
Remember the friends that have turned on you? Let’s list them!
Remember promises broken.
Remember how much you suck.
Essentially, that is what my depressive mind comes down to: it is an ever-present entity designed to tell me I suck at all times, in a multitude of ways, and it has my own personal history on hand to back up everything it says.
Like I said, my depressive mind is a crafty, intelligent, harsh little shit.