My Brain is a Shitty Car and I’m Trying Real Hard Not to Crash: A Depression Metaphor
I’ve started thinking of my brain as a shitty old car. I’ve got anxiety, I’ve got depression, and my bumpers are a little dented.
I’ve had this car for such a long time. I can’t get rid of it, I’ve just got to learn to cope with the quirks and issues as they come. My brain is a piece of machinery with faulty parts and break downs. I’ve got a routine to cope with the parts that act up on a regular basis. I try to remember what things it doesn’t like and will cause it to behave worse than usual. Like an old car, I have a terribly hard time getting going in the morning if it is cold and gray outside.
As often as I can, with extra time and money, I fix the parts that most need fixing or are easiest to repair, or slap some duct tape and zip ties on the rattly bits while I wait for a part to be delivered.
My car brain is not perfect. There are a lot of people with new, shiny cars that never give them any trouble. Clean on the inside and out, they require nothing but routine maintenance at a scheduled interval and the most minimal amount of emergency supplies. Sometimes I am jealous of them, and resentful that they can hop in their car and know it will take them where they need to go with low effort and no stress.
So I work on coping with what I’ve got since in this analogy one cannot buy a new brain from a dealership (yet). This is where I am, and this is my shitty car, and these are the tools I’ve got. Fighting it and dreaming that I’ll wake up one morning to a Porsche in the driveway is a waste of my time. Instead, I try things to improve my day to day life and handle problems that I know are going to return.
I can seek out the knowledge of experts, and sometimes pay them to help fix things. This might be temporary, and it might be expensive. It’s absolutely worth it if I can manage it, though.
I can find friends who have had their own shitty cars and get advice from them. We can talk about our experiences, joke around about flat tires and dead batteries, sympathize about the time we had to call a tow truck at 3 am.
I make concerted efforts to ensure that I don’t run over any pedestrians or fellow drivers (even the ones with Tr*mp bumper stickers who really deserve to be run into).
I can pay attention to patterns and issues that happen all the time and figure out how to plan for the inevitability of them happening again. I can make sure that I’ve always got some bottles of water and granola bars in the back to keep me going in case there are times I can’t make it to find other food.
I can schedule extra time to get where I need to go. I can keep a toolbox and emergency supplies in the trunk. And I can accept that for right now this is what I’ve got to work with. I don’t have to fight it, or wish it away, or hate myself for not finding some magical solution to faulty mechanics and a lot of accidents along the journey. My shitty car is held together with tape and dirt and dents and zip ties and hope and good intentions. It has gotten me through storms, across dirt and gravel, over hills, and even over a few gentle grassy hills of grazing sheep and blooming orchards.
My shitty car is not perfect, but for today she’s still running in spite of so much damage, and I’m going to keep being proud of that.