When I am my happiest, I am thinking the least. Not a lot is going through my head when I’m having a good time. I’m not thinking about my own personal failures, the fact that humans are currently causing our 3rd massive extinction of animals, or about the inevitability of implicit bias and how our collective unconscious mentalities only further subjugate the already oppressed and vulnerable. I’m not thinking of any of that, or feeling the inevitable depression that coats those thoughts, but instead I strip down, allowing my brain cavity to empty out the pesky thoughts of the overwhelming inequality in the world, leaving space to forget all that momentarily to instead notice the beauty, hope, and potential all around me… and then of course I take another hit of weed.
When I’m at my most depressed, I’m thinking a lot. My mind is filled with the futility of my artistic pursuits – how I’m just spinning wheels, existing in a vortex of my own mediocrity and meaningless efforts. I question why I spend my time yearning for something I’ll never achieve because my poor life choices mixed with average abilities have rendered me forever insignificant. My head will then fill with the living nightmare of my political and social impotence to be part of a real revolution that annihilates the economic system that has corrupted every facet of human culture and serves as the driving force of ecological terrorism we’ve enacted on the planet. I’ll lose myself in these thoughts that everything is so insurmountable and regardless of my emotional boner to penetrate society with my positive influence, I’m instead a flaccid inactive member that hangs pathetically, ashamed of my own inadequacy.
Everyone feels this way right??
Most people I know battle with depressive thinking. We all choose to handle it in our own ways. We self-medicate, masturbate, and believe that smoking a vape is safe. Yet the truth is, there are countless things to be legitimately depressed about, yet we all crave reprieve from that all consuming feeling of no feeling. No one wants to be depressed. There is a massive industry promising you relief from this encompassing emotion, and people will deal with the side effects of dry mouth(s) and soft dick for liberation. Depression is a pervasive feeling that has swept across this country with millions of people aching to sweep it off the platter of their emotional plate for good.
We can be depressed about a romance gone sour, a love that has curdled in the cup of your heart that you don’t know how to reverse the rotting process. So you think about this person obsessively, not because it feels good, but because it feels bad. It’s almost as if you’re not the one doing the thinking. That someone else is controlling your mind as if with a remote. Every time you try and change the channel to something else, they change the channel right back to your heartbreak. You try desperately to watch something benign like animal planet, but this demon keeps forcing you “Clockwork Orange” eversion therapy style to instead stay tuned to the reality show of your bitter rejection.
Maybe you’re depressed because you can’t have the career you want, the baby you want, or the life that you want. When your needs aren’t being met, or you feel at the mercy of a culture that’s designed to keep you down because you’re not the status quo, it’s natural to feel hopeless, helpless, and despondent. Yet those feelings are often not in the backdrop of your brain, quietly murmuring in a corner of your mind, but instead they are the loudest voices in your head – reminding you constantly of their existence by screaming their discontent.
Why is it that when you WANT to think about something else, you CAN’T? Aren’t you the only person in your mind? So then why can’t you choose what you do and don’t think about!? If YOU don’t want to be thinking about something, yet can’t stop thinking about it, then WHO is the one making you think about it? Is there a real-estate agent in your mind renting out the rooms of your psyche?
Imagine your brain as an apartment building, and each feeling is an apartment in your head. Let’s say you’re in a relationship, and you give that person the keys to your penthouse. The penthouse is of course the pinnacle of your mental energy, so by living in the penthouse your lover becomes the thing you think about the most, care about the most, and are most consumed with. If the relationship is good, or you’re in that initial phase of love/lust where everything seems perfect and full of possibility, then allowing yourself to daydream about that person all day feels okay. But what happens when the relationship starts deteriorating? Then thinking about that person is going to make you feel like shit, yet you can’t not think about them because they live in the fucking penthouse of your brain! In order to stop thinking about them, you need to get the keys back!
You tell the real-estate agent in your mind that you’re breaking up, so your lover can’t live in the penthouse anymore. The real-estate agent then says “Okay, so we’re evicting Chad from the penthouse – who wants to rent the space now? Oh ‘Crippling Self-Doubt’ your application looks good and I see you have the full down payment. Wow, ‘Self-Loathing,’ your credit score checks out – y’all wanna be roommates? Now, who wants to rent the anxiety apartment because we just remodeled it and added a few extra rooms in including a master bath for depression! Oh Chad you’d like to live in anxiety now? Sure that works out, and you’re new girlfriend can even have her office in there, so perfect. Ummm let’s see, looks like suicidal thoughts has a room to fill, any takers? Looks like Chad wants a few more keys to some other apartments. How about right before bed thoughts, and first thing in the morning thoughts? Great. Oh, and of course Chad, here is the key to listening to music and watching people kiss on the street.”
Who lives in the penthouse of your mind? If it’s another person, career goal, how fucked up the world is, or a specific vision of how your life should be – chances are that you’re going to think about things that make you miserable. We have no control over other people, we have no control over our success, we have no control over the Illuminati, and we have no control when it comes to constructing the perfect life. If your penthouse is rented to something or someone you have no control over, then you will always feel powerless in your own mind. Instead, why not rent out the penthouse of your brain to the process of self-growth? Not a specific vision of what that looks like, but rather the simple journey of self-reflection and actualization. If you decide that your one goal in life is to evolve at whatever pace makes the most sense at the time, then you are no longer a victim of circumstance. You are the architect of your own personal progress, and you can design your penthouse for you. Maybe your kitchen is messy and the master bedroom is still under construction, but you still sleep well in the guest room and the walk-in closet is finally finished. As long as you’re working towards progress, you will always feel some sort of mental peace. Yeah the world is a fucking trashcan filled with racism, sexism, hate and fear – but the greatest form of activism starts with empowering yourself to have the mental energy and emotional bandwidth to put yourself out there in the face of all the adversity and try. Why rent your penthouse to anyone else besides your self-awareness? It’s YOUR penthouse after all. Would you own an apartment building and live in the basement? So why would you do that in your own head?
Of course for some many of us that are in debt, the targets of bigotry, or suffering from severe trauma – your penthouse is going to have some squatters. When you are struggling financially and worry if you can feed your family, those thoughts are going to plague you. If you’re a person of color constantly reminded that your life doesn’t matter, these thoughts will haunt you. If you’re the victim of some awful crime it’s going to be incredibly to hard push those thoughts out of the penthouse. You maybe have to have some unwanted tenants in your penthouse, but you STILL have to insist that it’s YOUR name on the lease, and your RIGHT to kick them out as you gain strength and need more rooms.
Then don’t forget how do you want to design the rest of the building? You are going to have an anxiety apartment, a self-doubt apartment, a self-loathing apartment… But how big are they? Who are you renting them out to? Who are you allowing in these spaces? What about your love apartment? Your feeling optimistic apartment? How big are they? And what is your screening process like? Don’t let rats and vermin take over your building and make sure you’re only giving out keys to those with impeccable references!
Look at this lovely bath in the penthouse in your brain!!!