Survival Guide: Living in a Psych Ward

Negative Feedback Loops

“How could you do this to us again? You’re fucking pathetic and I’m tired of you embarrassing me,” he said, snickering and hissing in his whispering voice.  I had just quit my six-figure job a month before to follow a dream and had no certainties it would work out.  It was beginning to get a little stressful because my dream was taking a little longer than expected to materialize.  Unfortunately, neither a bill collector nor my roommates were sympathetic to that excuse. So, without any motivation to fight back, I let them continue taking turns at viciously insulting me.

“God you’re so fucking stupid!  What do you have to say for yourself now? Think about what everyone else thinks!  You seriously thought this was going to work?  How?!  You never complete anything…and if you do, it’s either done wrong or you ruin it.  At least when you were fucked up you had a plausible excuse for being such a fucking idiot!”  I felt the sting of each insult as they pierced my chest and hit my soul.  While one was having their way with me, the other 4 of them were laughing at me and waiting for their turn to chime in.  The inferiority washed over me like a title wave and I was drowning in the aftermath.

My roommates and I used to be friends a long time ago.  When we were in kindergarten together they told me to spit on someone to stand up for myself, they encouraged me to confront people that insulted or bullied me, they’ve always pointed out when people were threatening me and helped me resolve most of my problems.  The more chaotic my life became, the more I began to question their advice on life coping skills.  We started to disagree so much that they began to tear me down instead of building me up.  They bullied and harassed me with a vengeance whether I did something right, wrong, or neutral.  I would try and avoid them at school, at work, and even at home but they always showed up when my character was ripe for the tearing.

“Who do you think we are?”  As if I owed them money or an explanation.  Well, the, “who do you think we are,” is actually an interesting question.  Technically, they were my roommates, but they didn’t pay rent…ever!  As a matter of fact, they had never paid their way for anything, always mooching off of their oldest friend.  I was always the one paying the tab for their bullshit.  I was the homeowner and they were the squatters; living in my home rent free and then asking me to borrow a couple bucks.  I had gotten so used to them doing whatever they wanted that I never even noticed it anymore.  It’s similar to having a pet except I was the pet and they were my master.

Who am I?

“You’re a nobody, you’ll never amount to anything!”  Always taking shots at me and shattering the glass wall of self-esteem to attack my inferiority complex.  It was an old tactic the voices of negative self-talk used to try and push me off course.  The only way to invalidate their sentiments was to create a character that seemed like a hero and try to become it.  Impossible for a guy like me, but luckily 50% is a passing grade in this department.  The stronger my character grew, the weaker they became.

This is the part where I say, “Now I don’t have that anymore, it just went away because of (insert lie here).”  They never go away, I just objectively dissect or completely ignore their commentary because it is irrelevant unless I make it that way.  It’s hard to talk about the inferiority you feel because you usually think you’re the only one that has it…because how inferior would having inferiority be.  They like hiding in the dark corner of your mind, that’s where they thrive…where no one else can ever see them.  No one can tell you how to stop watering them if you deny they exist.  I’ve never met someone cool enough to not have them.

The ruthlessness of the way in which we speak to ourselves far exceeds the savagery we would ever inflict on our worst enemy.  Although it has caused me great harm, I can at least be aware of it most of the time now and so can you!  This is the only thing holding you back from being who you want to be.  You can’t be who you want to be unless you believe you already are.  That being said, there is nothing more heartbreaking than helplessly watching it unravel someone else’s life over and again.  I witness it daily, they have been completely broken spiritually, morally, and emotionally without any way to atone for it mentally.  Contempt is the virus that stops us all.  There is nothing you can say that’s worth listening to if it’s being interpreted with their beliefs.

The one who heard, “I love you,” and quickly withdrew, is an unlovable person that knows its untrue.  Just remember that voice is a monster masked as a friend, and they will deceive you and mislead you again and again.

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