Psst! This is an episode of my podcast, That’s What She Said. You can read it by continuing to scroll or listen in here. Either way, this is a snippet I wrote *years* ago, and I am in no longer in the place I describe. ::mwah::
I’m deeply depressed and can’t see it because I’m FINE, DAMMIT.
I wake him up and lay into him with a list of all the things he’s done wrong: too this, not enough that, too much this, not nearly enough that. Poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke.
He doesn’t get angry.
He doesn’t even defend himself.
He just says, “If you really feel that way, maybe I should pack my things.”
Tears are streaming down my face and I can’t understand why I’m doing this, but I hear my voice mutter, “Maybe you should.”
He’s in the hallway gathering a handful of possessions when asshole brain pipes up: good. Now you can kill yourself.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME, ASSHOLE BRAIN?
You’re pushing away this person who adores me because he would never let suicide happen?
You’re taking these absurd actions — seemingly against your will — because you’re too cowardly to take action unless you’re entirely and utterly alone?
It only takes that one sneaky sentence for me to see the long, snake-like tail of depression slinking through my life.
I call him back into the room and tell him what’s going on, weeping and sobbing and hysterical and oozing snot like a sewer-dwelling blobby monster.
As long as Bear is in the house, asshole-suicide brain is permanently foiled. Asshole-suicide brain doesn’t like this, so it’s pushing as hard as it can to rid my life of him. I feel like an idiot and a moron.
How could I have fallen for this nonsense? How come I can’t see what’s right in front of my face?
He softens and holds me.
I apologize again and again.
He forgives me just as many times as I can utter “I’m sorry.”
We agree to tell on our dangerous thoughts from then on, no matter what.
We agree to announce, “Asshole brain is saying…” and then fill the other person in on the latest.
We agree to be uncomfortable with sharing our thoughts because shame can’t survive the light of day and an articulate conversation — and because losing a person you love is far worse than hearing what their whacked out asshole brain has to say in any given moment.
Tell on yourself.
Tell on your worst thoughts.
Tell on all the ways asshole brain has power over you, and suddenly, it won’t have so much power.
As a shame researcher, I know that the very best thing to do in the midst of a shame attack is totally counterintuitive: Practice courage and reach out! – Brené Brown
When you have a safe person to share asshole brain with — a friend, lover, relative, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or doctor — asshole brain loses its stranglehold on your life.
When you share asshole brain’s rants with those in your inner circle, you stop being afraid of every thought that isn’t lollipops and rainbows.
You’re able to enter deeper into your own experience without fear of asshole brain, because you know nothing it says has to be yours to carry all by your lonesome. Further, when you say asshole brain’s thoughts out loud, you can see their absurdity with ease.
Yah, asshole brain? I should kick Bear out of my life because he didn’t run the dishwasher or take out the trash this week?
Yah, asshole brain? I should close down my business and work for someone else because I’m so good at taking orders and following rules?
Yah, asshole brain? I should stop working on my latest project because everyone knows it’s going to be a total fucking failure and the nuclear war is going to start any day now, so who cares anyway?
You don’t have to be scared of asshole brain.
You don’t have to believe a word it says.
….and if you can learn to share its macabre musings, your quality of life gets better.
Telling on asshole brain is like airing out a tightly enclosed, dark and dank room: when you throw open the windows and let the light come streaming in, it changes. There’s far less to fear when the sunshine can hit every corner.
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. – Brené Brown
A reminder: I’m not a medical professional, and if you’re experiencing dark thoughts like the ones described, please seek medical help AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. Please. If you’re having standard human asshole brain thoughts, know that I love you and you’re right there with the rest of us: human. And doing the best you can. 😉
P.S. Here because someone is saying all the things about depression? Here are more of my thoughts and struggles with depression.