Sweet baby Jesus, shit-fire-and-save-the-matches, how I love my fucking shrink. I swear to god, I just wanna take that chick to a seedy bar, buy a bottle of fine bourbon, and just start throwing back shots, (wo)mano y (wo)mano, with her until we’re piss-drunk, hanging off one another, slurring, and saying “no, scherrriouschly, I love you, man! No scherrrriouschly, soooooo much!”
One of the things I’ve been doing differently to try and stave off The Suck this time is to actually communicate with the people in my life; mainly, my wife. Plus, now that I seem to have this cadre of shrinks managing my life, I figure why not use this to my advantage to help me from, you know, being depressed?
So The Wife and I talked about many of the issues I wrote about in my last bleak-ass entry this week in couples’ counseling, and holy shit, was that ever helpful. The shitastic thing about depression is how much it makes you want to crawl into your own hole and hide because you’re ashamed or you think no one will understand you or you think no one wants to hear about your dark thoughts. Trust me, I did it last time, for well over a year and a half. And the longer I did it, the worse it got, and the more and more isolated I felt from The Wife and my friends. It was fucking awful. I am determined NOT TO DO THAT SHIT THIS TIME.
We basically spent the whole hour talking about me because it seems I will do anything to make it all about me, diva that I am. And the more he dug, the more we got into why I was having problems with motivation and achieving things. And we nailed it down to I get myself to a point in a project or endeavor where a voice says “Why are you even doing this? What’s the point? What will this achieve? This is stupid. You should just stop this shit right now. Meh.” Then I lose interest and wander off to start something new because that shitty voice in my head convinced me my original idea was idiotic. So Shrink #1 was all “Since you’re so fond of naming things on your body, you should give this shitty, negative voice a name.” The Wife and I agreed that was a cool idea and decided to go home and ponder over what the perfect name for the no-good, useless, nagging, piece-of-shit part of my psyche should be. I’m a big fan of naming things to make them less scary.
So next day, I drive into the city to see Shrink #2. She’s my pain management shrink, the one I did some EMDR sessions with, and the one with whom I feel a great connection. We’ll call her Jess because that’s her name. I’ve been seeing shrinks, on and off, for 10 years. For most of those 10 years, I never really thought therapy was really anything more than paying a stranger to listen to you bitch about your problems because your friends have finally gotten sick of listening to your shit. My experience is that they didn’t actually solve your problems or even give you the tools to solve your problems. I mean, if you think about it, isn’t in their best interest for you not to get better?
Not Jess, man. From Day 1, she got right up in there and was solving my puzzle right and left. And so I tell her all the same shit I talked about in my last entry, plus some of the stuff that The Wife and I had discussed in our therapy session the day before, and she’s all “You should name your shitty voice.” I’m all “That’s what Shrink #1 said too!” A lot of times, the two of them will say the exact same shit, which always makes me feel validated somehow.
So then Jess asks me if I have a name for my persona when I feel powerful, larger than life, in control, my best self. And I swear to god y’all, if you give me shit for this, I will kick you in your collective tacos, but yes, I do have a name for this larger-than-life persona, and that name is TEXAS. It’s my loud, buoyant, I-own-the-room-right-now, funny, witty, charismatic personality. And yes, there is plenty to mock about my home state, lord knows, but that is an entry for another time. Rational or not, Texas is my kick-ass-and-take-names persona.
God bless her, Jess doesn’t miss a beat, she’s like “Okay, so now we need the opposite of Texas. We need the name for the persona that is useless, serves no purpose, does no good for anyone, you wish it would just go away, it causes nothing but trouble and just pisses you off. It represents all that’s ugly about you.”
We both paused, stared at each other a beat, then exclaimed: “FLORDIA!”
AH MAH GAH, we just fell out.
It’s like the woman is inside my head and knows how much I love to mock Florida, how many times I’ve cackled at Florida, Man’s Twitter account, how many times I’ve posted that Bugs-Bunny-sawing-Florida-into-the-ocean gif into comments sections on the internet, how many stories about Florida I’ve posted on my Facebook page with the simple caption “Because Florida.”
I’m sure she’s a lovely girl.
So we spent the hour talking about Texas vs. Florida. Texas is the very best of me—she is my superhero self, my creative self when all the juices are flowing, my energy is high, and all pistons are firing. But she isn’t sustainable for long periods of time. When I feel like this is when I sit down to write. The words pour out of me onto the computer screen. I don’t think; it just comes.
I know there are any number of famous and successful writers who claim they treat writing like a full-time job; they lock themselves away in their studios for eight hours a day at 8:00 a.m. every morning and clock out every night at 5:00. They are scheduled and disciplined. For me, things are percolating in my head all day long. I’m observing, storing away little witty lines in the back of my brain, observations and notes, putting together allusions and connections. Then suddenly my brain ties all these little bits together, and like an explosion, out it all comes in a two-hour torrential brain dump. Jess asked if afterwards I felt exhausted, and I said I did. She asked if that’s when I most felt like smoking pot and binge-watching Netflix, and I said “as a matter of fact…” She said “THAT’S California! You also need California to help you recover from Texas. Texas AND Florida are both so fucking intense, California is where you go to recover from all that intensity. I’m giving you permissionto hang out in California and not beat yourself up for that. You need California.”
Fuck, seriously y’all, she’s rad.
Jess says we all have a Florida in our heads—that negative little bitch that is there telling us why we will fail at something, why something is bad idea, why it will never work, what all of the sticking points of a plan will be. She says the next time Florida starts yammering away, she wants me simply to observe her. Yup, there that bitch is, chattering away, talking her smack again. She says there will be days I will choose to give into Florida, to wallow, and that’s okay. But if I just start observing her from a distance, there will be more days than not that I will make a conscious decision not to give into her bullshit. “Yup, I hear ya sister, but I’m not feeling your shit today. I’m making a conscious decision to get off my ass and get out into the world today and work toward one of my goals instead.”
Credit: Allie Brosh
It ties back into one of my Five Ps (Be Patient, Be Polite, Be Positive, Be Powerful, Be Present). By observing it when it’s happening, I’m being present in the moment instead of just being swept away in it. I’m sitting with it and really observing it and asking myself “Is this really where I want to be today?” And it’s being powerful too, I guess. It’s not letting that trashy whore, Florida, in her tube top and cutoffs, have control over my life for days at a time.
So here I am, with all my states of being (get it, states of being), coexisting up in my melon, yammering away, battling for which one will be king of the sand pile on any given day. Will it be scabby Florida, all high on bath salts, scratching at my brain with her negativity, telling me why I can’t accomplish my goals? Will it be stony, unmotivated California saying “Dood, come do some day drinkin’ and chill,” which is fun for my id to give into, but maybe should be used more as a reward rather than a way of life? Or will it be Texas, who represents the best, most creative part of me, the part with vision and dreams, the part that, yanno, wants to do some shit with her life?
When I look at the big picture like that and take the approach of trying to observe them objectively, I’m hoping it will allow me to be more present and more powerful so that I can take a more active role in which one I want to occupy the most space in my head on that day.
And y’all know every time I wake up and it’s a Florida Day, my go-to vision in my head will forever and ever be this: