in which the author beats an analogy to death

… and then revives it and beats it to death again. Because this is my best explanation for The Depression, as ridiculous as it is. Bear with me here, okay?

You. You with the depression. Inside your head is… Tokyo. It’s a wonderful thriving place, this in-your-head-Tokyo, full of beautiful and fascinating things. I am not saying this because real Tokyo is, although I’m sure it is; I’ve never been there. I’m saying it because you are, and I know you are because you’re human, and we’re all of us beautiful and fascinating and important.

Unfortunately, since you have The Depression, your lovely mental Tokyo has a monster. It’s got Godzilla. That is the depression, the monster in your head: it’s fucking Godzilla. It’s all stomping around and making that horrible screechy Godzilla noise and wrecking your city and scaring the hell out of you. Which is okay, it’s perfectly okay to be scared, because gigantic monsters that want to destroy you are scary. You’d be a whole different kind of nuts if you weren’t scared of it.

But there’s something mental-Godzilla can do that movie-Godzilla can’t: it sounds like you. Sometimes it sounds so much like you that you cannot tell whether the ideas you have are yours or Godzilla’s. And these threats it makes, these thoughts it has, can wreck the beautiful city of your innermost self. It’s hard to figure out which is which, when you’re in the grips of a monster attack, but from the outside there’s a pretty easy way to figure it out.

Is it a good thought, a healthy one, something that will make your life better? That’s you talking, even though you don’t believe a word you’re saying.

Is the thought harmful to you somehow? Is it saying you should give up or go away or fuck off or die? Tell Godzilla to shut its stupid monster mouth, because that. IS. NOT. YOU. It’s the monster. It’s a tricky monster, and it’s a very good mimic, but it is not you. Not now, not ever. It’s just a monster that comes up and tries to wreck what you’ve built, every once in a while.

The bad part about this is, so far, we don’t know how to kill Godzilla for good. You’ve seen the movies. That fucker always comes back. Just when you think it’s gone, there’s a tremor in the ground, a ripple in the water, and that screech that sounds like you — but isn’t, remember that, it is not you — saying DOOM AND BADNESS. It’s saying YOU’RE A WALKING CALAMITY AND EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING YOU KNOW WOULD BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT YOU. (Caps lock is how Mental Godzilla feels inside.)

This is, of course, completely bullshit. But it’s hard to realize that because it sounds like your voice, like your thoughts, and when you cannot trust your thoughts you are in a very bad way indeed.

Now. When Godzilla attacks, you have to fight back. There are things you can learn from therapists to help you fight it. There are medicines you can take that will strengthen your resolve to kick that monster back to whatever nuclear cesspit it crawled out of.

You have to fight it for one simple and perfect reason: you are worth too much to this world to let the monster win. I don’t know what you believe, and I don’t much care either; for this analogy, just accept that being your own self is enough. Being a unique individual is enough. Enough for what? Enough to be worthy of protection and healing, is what.

(Shut up, Godzilla, I am talking to the person you’re chewing on.)

Sometimes when the Tokyo of your mind is under attack, other human cities of wonder and beauty might say things like, “Can I help?” Or, “Is there anything I can do?” Or, “I don’t want you to do this alone.”

Godzilla really fucking hates hearing that. Godzilla wants to destroy your Tokyo. It does not want the neighboring cities of Bestfriendland and Familyburg and SignificantOtherville to send in aid or troops or weaponry. (This, in the real world, is more like company or food or helping around the house. Whatever. But for the analogy… look, I never said it was a good one.) Godzilla uses its mimic voice and is all “They’re pretending, they don’t care, you are infectious or some shit, everything you touch and do turns to awfulness.”

That is when you gotta say: Godzilla, shut your big lying monster mouth. Because the monster will say or do anything to keep you alone, keep you vulnerable, keep you convinced that you cannot withstand whatever horror it wants to inflict on you. It does this because that makes you weak, and when you’re weak you are easier to destroy.

Remember: never let the monster win. Never let the bastards grind you down. Never.

Now, listen: you can make it through. You’ve made it this far; you’re very strong. There’s a quote I can’t remember precisely — “People with mental illness have had to be too strong for too long.” This is true. A lot of times the monster will come get you when you’re exhausted after a fight. But the flipside of that is, you are one hell of a strong person, to have made it this far with all these epic battles inside your head. You have to hide them, you have to pretend they’re not happening, you have to act like you’re not hurt when you are. I know. It’s hard and it sucks and it’s horrible and it shouldn’t be that way.

But it does mean you are strong. Strong enough to punch Godzilla in its stupid face and send it running. There are ways to learn how to use this strength to shore up your mental Tokyo, add ICBMs and gigantic walls and monster repellent, flaming trebuchets, whatever you need. You can do this. You may not know how, but other people do, and they can teach you. It’s worth doing. It’s something you have to do. It’s hard, doing this, I won’t lie. It’s easier to let the monster run rampages whenever it wants. It’s much easier. But you can’t take the easy way out. You have to fight.

You have to fight it because, even though the monster says you are worthless, you are not. You are the only you that ever has been or ever will be. That’s worth fighting for. That’s worth saving.

I've had this toy since I was a kid. I keep it around as a reminder of sorts, these days.

Besides, do you really want this jerk telling you what to do?

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