My apologies if this post makes no sense to anyone!
I am pretty convinced that everyone has a twisted mind. No one person’s mind is just ‘normal.’ I mean when you think about it, what the hell depicts a ‘normal mind’? no one can tell you what is normal but there is an obvious line drawn between one who exists in life as an active passenger of sound mind, and one who goes through life encompassed by their ‘dark passenger.’ I recently finished watching the full series of Dexter. Amazing show. I was hooked from episode one, and I hate TV. This is the only time in my life I have EVER watched a TV show.
If you have suffered an eating disorder or traumatic mind altering experience in your life, then you have a dark passenger. It follows you everywhere. It is always there. It will always be there. I recommend anyone who thinks they may have a dark passenger to watch Dexter; you will relate. He makes sense to me. Everything he does I understand. It’s twisted, distorted and out of the ordinary. His mind works much like my own and probably yours to. There is this inner monologue that is shared throughout the show, and while it is used as a punch of comical relief it is insanely much like my own mind.
Dexter defeats his dark passenger by killing people; he is a serial killer. He cannot experience peace in life without taking a deserving person’s life. It’s like his adrenaline rush and stress relief. And it’s sick because I understand it. Dexter is a man who believes himself inhuman, much like me, a monster incapable of human emotions. He constantly examines his life via this inner monologue and he catches himself with emotions which often surprise him, and often serves as a clue to what is going on around as well as within him.
I feel like I go through life with no emotions whatsoever. I have this inability to talk to people if emotions are involved. My mind, often just comes up with these sick and twisted thoughts or ideas. I always keep them to myself because they are definitely not normal. Or the opposite end, I just bash out at people in my head; obviously not something to be shared with anyone vocally. Like I make the snarkiest smartass comments but it is all inner monologue with myself. My mind stays occupied 24/7 with my own inner monologue. It’s like I lack to ability to ‘get out’ of my head.
For me to be able to just conversate with someone I have to really try hard at it. I have to distract my ‘dark passenger’ from myself which is a constant struggle. It’s almost as if it is easier to stay quiet (because there’s plenty of conversation in my head) than it is to face the constant struggle of distraction. I do not understand emotions. I really do not know how to express them or feel them. I know I love my mom, dad and brothers but I have no idea how to feel it, or how to express it. I lack words ALL the time. Take for example, a kitchen table with my parents and brother, and myself sitting at it. Everyone is chatting. This blows my mind. People can just talk, like it comes naturally. I just sit and listen, and even that is hard in itself. I have to pause my inner monologue and try to take in what is being said.
It is so hard because my mind just keeps going, having conversations with itself. Sometimes it’s funny and I will be at my desk and start laughing for no reason. I also find some really twisted things hilarious. Like videos of people getting hurt. Like, I pee my pants laughing. Have you seen the youtube video of the guy who gets hit by a bus trying to dance to ‘teach me how to dougie’? I couldn’t control myself after I watched that video- it was so flippin funny.
But my dark passenger is not an eating disorder and it never was. However, my dark passenger became anorexia when I lost the ability to keep it occupied. Malnutrition pretty much caused this morph in my mind and from there; all life was a struggle that I could not occupy. I couldn’t get out of it. There are bigger emotions and experiences in life than the petty ones I cling to and carry along. That still holds true today. Everyday is a constant struggle to keep my inner dialogue still.
I am not a depressed person, but the depressed mind struggles with itself and adopts stances and ideas it can latch onto and hold like a cross in a catholic church. What the depressive mind latches onto serves as encouragement. This usually leads to obsession and ends up in an unstoppable loop of inner dialogue that keeps you going. Taking views and seeing experiences in a certain way will shape how you handle them. Some can be made brighter and some can be self tormenting. I relate a lot to the depressed mind, but my dark passenger was forever changed the day I accepted recovery from anorexia. I cannot, and don’t ever expect my dark passenger to go away- it will always be there. But, anorexia has left me.
But it’s hard. Besides having a 24/7 internal conversation with myself, I have to distract my mind from feeding off starvation. My dark passenger loves malnutrition, loves starving. My mind gets amplified from a lack of nutrition and my thoughts morph into self hate, self harm etc. I needed in my recovery, to find a way to tame this beast that had become of my mind.
Enter self discovery and self challenge.
I am a stubborn person. A quiet stubborn person. I’m never ‘sick’ or ‘hurt’ or ‘in pain.’ Maybe because I don’t much know what that means or maybe because I hate people worrying about me or even thinking about me. I found only one thing during recovery that keeps my dark passenger…. satisfied. That is pushing myself to the extreme- twice a week. I needed to do something that would temporarily exhaust me to the point of no thought. But this lack of thought brought me total satisfaction, peace of mind and comfort. It is the only way I could release the built up everything in my mind. I can’t share my thoughts usually because they are just fucked up. I can’t feel emotions because I don’t really know how to. I can’t conversate well because I don’t have anything to talk about.
But I can tell you when I do a set of pushups until my chest is going to smack the ground I do not FEEL ANYTHING in my head afterwards. It’s gone. The dark passenger temporarily leaves. It’s like the sky cleared and I have an understanding- of something. It’s a moment of optimism and confidence that appears, a glimmer of hope, of normalcy and everything seems brighter. Obviously given this post, it doesn’t last. It wears off and the dark passenger needs to be fed another eat-my-shorts exhaustive episode of something. It’s my own struggle, my own internal struggle.
Who do we blame for our internal struggles? I have never ever in my life thought that my ‘self’ was the fault of anyone or anything but me. It has always been all my fault. I have always been quiet, and weird. When shit goes bad, it’s on me because I make it that way. When I am silent at a table of talking people, it’s my fault. When I don’t get a phone call return from a left message, I fucked something up. Anorexia as well, I have always thought was my own doing that started as some measly desire for a 6pack turned obsessive turned uncontrollable.
But recovery was all me as well, that is real power. Real strength. No one gets credit for my recovery but me. No one understands why throwing around heavy shit and myself periodically keeps me sane. I have a need to exert my mental turmoil, shit, congestion (whatever the hell it is) onto something so as to release it. Heavy stuff works. Challenging my body works. You’ll never see me jog a mile or step on an elliptical machine ever again in my life, but you can bet I will challenge you to a pushup contest. The thing is, when I accepted recovery my dark passenger was not a part of it. Eating enough food for my desire to lift heavy shit is NOT hard. Gaining weight is not hard. Food isn’t part of my warped mind any longer. It doesn’t tally and count and obsess about portions or macronutrients or pre & post workout eating. There’s no when how or why to eating. That is freeing, peaceful…crazy really.
My dark passenger won’t ever leave. It has been there my entire life. It’s constantly chugging away with mental conversations. But it no longer takes my good health away from me. It no longer pinpoints food and my body image as a means to rear an ugly side of me. It no longer feeds off starvation and I no longer live in denial or a place where I need to justify my every move. If my mind would like to be on ‘go’ all the time I can accept that as I have never felt it any other way. If I am always going to be a quiet person I can accept that. If I fail to understand real emotions, I believe a time in my life will come where I can understand what it means to have real contact and feelings with or for someone else. What I have is inner strength as long as I have my health. Real power.
My thoughts seem to be in control a lot. Sort of sick, but it’s mostly to pass time and is usually, to my weird self, comical. If people in general knew the unstableness of my mind and its thought pattern that I keep so tightly cased away within myself I can’t quite imagine what would happen. I have such an inconsistent perspective on life, on anything. I can change my mind 100 times just to entertain my mind. Its why having a desk job is hard for me, why watching TV is damn near impossible, and why constant repetition of something, even if it is thoughts is a joy to me. Some people can sit in the park and feed ducks all day. Sitting on a bench at a park would be damn near impossible for me because there is so much going on in my head. Maybe, if one day I could gain power over my dark passenger, this shadowing cloud over my every move in life, then I will productively be able to share feelings and conversation with other people.
But for now, I sit with myself all day, 8-10 hours at a desk at my job and allow thoughts to pop in my head and move about. One thought cues a wide array of reactions and associations and all the sudden there’s a whole series of connected thoughts going on. I don’t let the dark passenger ‘get to me’ like it use to. I can’t change it. I am who I am and I will always be. Maybe along with accepting recovery and health I accepted that I am ‘different’ and carry a dark passenger with me wherever I go. I don’t let it get out of hand though- I get to a point where I cant possibly think of anything more twisted and I recap at how someone could actually think of the stuff I do. And it doesn’t upset me. A normal person would find that disturbing, really really disturbing. Why doesn’t it upset me?
There isn’t an absence of people in my life to talk to. There’s plenty of social contact between me and people, but it happens just because. I have daily interactions with coworkers and friends but at the end of the day, there is me, and my thoughts. I am left with only my own thoughts.
What if everything you ever wanted cost you everything you ever achieved? Would you still?
I don’t want anyone to think I feel sorry for myself. I don’t. I didn’t write this post for sorrow or even anyone to relate to. You can’t relate to me. You can’t relate to my recovery. You can start your own. You can understand your own recovery and your own self. Not everyone has a dark passenger. Some people who ‘recover’ are still forever encompassed in food obsession. I find this very saddening and I would argue malnutrition but it’s not my choice. I don’t end the day wishing tomorrow will be better, I accept today and look forward for tomorrow.
I think now, with acceptance my dark passenger keeps me from going over the edge, from giving up and giving in. My private struggle use to mean loneliness and despair but now I am free from the darkness and pain and fear. While my mind may seem as a comical relief compared to the past, it is still my ever thinking rolling mind.
Do I think this is normal? Nope
Do I think you can relate? Yes, but not in a personal way. We are all so very different
Do I think it’s a good thing? Anorexia resulted in death. I look at my dark passenger as a Zen tradition “Nen nen ju shin ki” which means something like “Thought following thought.”
There are so many maybes to everything too. Maybe I am just lonely. Maybe I am just a freak. Maybe I am normal. Maybe I am broken. Maybe this is the way my life should be going. Maybe I should accept it.
I think this is why I could watch Dexter. It compelled me to see someone act like I do. A part of life, holding a job and her health, but seriously carrying around this dark passenger everywhere she goes all the while striking me as comical. When I do muster up emotions, they surprise me. I don’t always grasp what is going on around me, or within me but I have experienced remorse, and guilt. I have experienced accomplishment, especially with recovery. So I am not just a mute to life, its more like mild autism if I had to give it a name.
It makes me scared to know I may one day share my everyday with another person, a husband. That I will have to find a way to heal this constant mind. There’s troubling truths I carry, everyone carries with them everyday. Everyone has secrets. Everyone has wounds, distastes and everyone is their own freak surrounded by normalcy. I mean look at the current state of the U.S…moral idiocy. No one knows how to act, what to believe, where to turn and what to abandon.
Erratic thought is neither completely centered nor completely bizarre. I lack the indecision and second-guessing associated with so much. I have a preference for creativity and intuition, but also enough sufficient verbal skills to be able to translate in any meaningful way to myself and others.
***All in all, you are likely to be quite content with yourself and your style although at times it will not necessarily be appreciated by others. You have sufficient confidence to not second-guess yourself, but rather to use your critical faculties in a way that enhances, rather than limits, your creativity. You can learn in either mode although far more efficiently within the visual mode. It is likely that in listening to conversations or lecture materials you simultaneously translate into pictures which enhance and elaborate on the meaning. It is most likely that you will gravitate towards those endeavors which are predominantly visual but include some logic or structuring. You may either work particularly hard at cultivating your auditory skills or risk “missing out” on being able to efficiently process what you learn. Your own intuitive skills will at times interfere with your capacity to listen to others, which is something else you may need to take into account***