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I Don’t Get It

Sheridan Taylor

In which our hero marvels at how insanity looks from the other side, and offers his heartfelt apologies to everyone in his life who had to deal with a six foot, two-hundred-pound baby. 

I don’t get it. Mental illness made me do this really messed up thing. And it’s impossible, which I suppose is why we call it irrational…

How the decaffeinated, low-fat, sugar-free, non-alcoholic fuck could I not accept any responsibility for any of the negative shit in my life and yet be totally responsible for all of the negative shit in my life? How does that work?

Because that’s what happened in my brain when I’d go dark. I don’t know about y’all, but I bet it’s the same. I see it with everybody I’m trying to help. We all do it.

I blamed everyone else for everything, and if anyone tried to point my own culpability, I either flew into a full-on toddler-scale epic tantrum, or I started creating convoluted and intricate arguments against plain logic. I wouldn’t accept responsibility for anything. Everything was someone else’s fault. Maybe my wife, maybe the gods, but somebody, anybody, else.

While, at the same time, I blamed myself for everything to prove I sucked in every conceivable way and was utterly without value. I messed up both marriages (not true). My first wife died because I failed her (not true). My son’s irreparably damaged psychologically because I messed him up (not true). The list is endless. Everything bad that’d ever happened, real or imaginary, was entirely my fault.

Unless you told me so. Then, I’d fight you tooth and nail to prove nothing was my fault and I’m a victim, damnit!

Holy o’ shitsicle. It was amazing to hear me do it. To hear the illogic come out as I spun ever-increasingly more complex narratives to protect me from responsibility for things I was actually accountable for, while concurrently creating ridiculous narratives to explain how I was at fault for things I had no control over.

I guess the bright side is I became able to hear the bullshit coming out of my mouth and remember it the next day (or two) later, when I was stable again. That meant the amygdala was not in total control and the rest of the brain was functioning at some level, and I was getting better at maintaining some level of rationality.

What does this mean for you? Well, it means if your life sucks and it’s everyone else’s fault, you need help. It means if you’re the reason everyone else’s life sucks, you need help. It means if you’re hiding from your life behind booze or weed or something stronger, you need help. It means if you’re a helpless victim, you got work to do.