“Well don’t talk about it, write it down, but don’t ask for help,
But I can’t be honest with even myself,
Did you ever wish you were somebody else?”
–‘The Difference Between Medicine and Poison is the Dosage’-Circa Survive
I spend a lot of time inside my own head. Not in any deliberate attempt to come across as ‘mysterious’ or ‘brooding’, but simply because it’s familiar and I find a sense of security in the familiar. When I stop and actually listen to my internal dialogue I find that most of my time is spent ruminating on the past, catastrophizing present and possible future events, and always-ALWAYS-finding ways to undermine any and all bright spots and accomplishments of my life. The flaws in this logic of sticking to the familiar are glaringly obvious but even still, I tell myself it’s safer than people. After all, who can you really trust with a past you’re ashamed of? It seems to me that snap judgments are more regularly made nowadays than in the past and pack mentalities run rampant. What happens when I fall, yet again, on the wrong side of those judgments?
I catch a lot of grief from people in my life for being ‘oblivious’. I spend time looking at my phone because when I feel uncomfortable or out of sorts, there is a whole network of people who think and feel in similar ways as I do a mere screen press away. People who understand. I’ve seen what happens to people who land outside of what is socially ‘normal’ and I don’t dare become one of them; being misunderstood seems to come at a higher price as we get older. So I continue to keep it to myself. I continue to allow them to think I’m disconnected because that’s just who I am. It’s what we do that defines us anyway, right?
Here’s the thing about living inside your own head all the time though: it sucks. It really does. People don’t understand. We hear the same response that we get when we’re depressed or angry: “just snap out of it”. —Gee, thanks for the advice, why didn’t I think of that? –I try diverting my attention to something else, say going for a walk and noticing a bird singing in the trees, flitting from branch to branch, clearly not having any issue with being present and in the moment.–Why can’t I just be like that stupid bird? She’s not stressed about what all of her bird pals might be saying when she isn’t around. She’s not concerned about bills or where the next meal may come from. All she knows is this moment. —Suddenly I find myself trapped in a mental feedback loop: actually berating myself in my own head again on the topic of not living inside my own head. And what’s worse is that I’ve managed to find a way to hate nature in the process. I’m actually loathsome of this beautiful, magnificent creature who just wanted to sing me a song and peck at some seeds. Boo Radley would be most displeased.
I wish I knew how to combat the monsters that rattle around inside my head and yours, but I don’t. I wish that I could remember that my head isn’t a safe place to constantly dwell, yet I continue to run there and hide. I wish a lot of things, but you know what they say about wishing, and gross, no thanks. I wish this was one of those posts with a new earth-shattering insight into how to get out of the thought loop inside your brain once and for all and my peers would sing my praises and I’d collect my Nobel Prize and go down in history as the man who took a giant leap forward in helping the fight against depression. It’s not. I have no idea how to beat this. But I will say this: don’t hate the bird.