The 10 Rules for Escaping Bullshit (And Taking Care of Your Sanity)

Image: Rory Bristol

Image: Rory Bristol

Depression lies. Those two little words are beautiful. I don’t know who said it first, but it’s been said by greats like Jenny Lawson and Wil Wheaton, and it’s true every time. But Crazy comes in many forms. Mental illness fills our brains with bullshit. The media, the Internet, you know, people in fucking general, they fill our heads with bullshit, which is condensed, magnified, repeated, and prioritized by our crazy brains. There is hope. It takes work, but I’ve found some tools to help me along the way.

I’d like to take this moment to share the Shalts of Escaping Bullshit and the Jailor.

1) Thou shalt not compare your emotions to those of others.

You are your own person. You have your own needs, your own scars, and your own love. Never say, “So-and-so has it worse,” or, “It’s not so bad.” Your experience is valid, and you matter. I don’t say, “I’m not allowed to be hungry because there are starving kids I’ve never met,” and I also don’t say, “My experience with molestation wasn’t that bad. At least I’m not dead.” See where I’m going with this?

2) Thou shalt not hold hate.

In all things, let hate go. Now, I don’t mean that you should never hate at all. It’s just toxic to hold on to that shit. Hate someone while it helps you. Let it go when it’s time. Hate always turns into a ball-and-chain eventually. Learn from it, and move on.

3) Thou shalt say “Yes, Please.”

At all times, you should be able to graciously accept help. If you are too proud to accept help, you are doing yourself a disservice. Be there for each other, and let them be there for you too. If someone offers me help, I often default to, “No, thanks.” That’s Bullshit, folks. Let people be there for you when you need it. If you don’t need help, help someone else!

4) Thou shalt be the sole determiner of who is your “family”.

In no way should you feel compelled to hold ties to people who don’t make your life better. Your circle is who is there for you, not those who expect you to be there for them “just because”. My birth family is enormous. A large number of them are not my family any more. I still love them, but I don’t trust them with my emotions, my safety, or my kids.

5) Thou shalt ignore the lies of the Jailor.

That voice in your head doesn’t get to win. Your life is not determined by the negative lies of your mental illness. Check yourself before you accept the lies of the bastard. I think I need this tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

6) Thou shalt be excellent to yourself.

It’s great to take of others, but for the love of all holiness, be excellent to yourself first. It’s a matter of practicality. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be around to take care of others.

7) Thou shalt call bullshit.

Fact check everything. Accept no ill message at face value. If something you see, on the Internet or offline, makes you angry, take a second to ask yourself if you smell something bad. Snopes is the Saint of Bullshit. Pray to the motherfucker.

8) Thou shalt not obsess over what you said at dinner three years ago.

Nobody else remembers that shit. Let it go. I’m working on this one, and probably won’t ever stop. That time someone said, “That shirt makes your eyes look great,” and I said, “I know, right?”… I don’t even remember her fucking name. Ten years later, I still feel like a dick. Let’s do this one together.

9) Thou shalt not make decisions after 9:00 pm.

Seriously. If you haven’t decided to do it by 9:00, then you can wait until morning. Buying a BMW or buying that My Little Pony hat on eBay? Wait until morning. If you still want it in the morning, then groovy.

10) Thou shalt be someone’s Person.

Being someone’s Person is part of being whole. You can be your spouse’s Person, or your cat’s Person. You can be a teacher, and always be a new someone’s Person every semester. For your own solace, peace, comfort, and sanity, be important to someone. Being someone’s Person means that you are an anchor to someone else, and that need is an anchor for you. Work hard to be important to someone. They deserve it, and so do you.

There. Enjoy. If you think something else belongs on this list, let me know. Comments are always welcome, folks. I want to know what helps you.

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  1. Here’s to wishing the jailer wasn’t so fucking clever. Thanks for the list. I came back to read it again.
    It’s needed today.

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