Let me tell you a story about Grummy, Parp, and Whimble.
When an episode begins, my mind usually splits into three entities: Grummy, Parp, and Whimble. Without fail, these three characters form very distinct personas of each aspect of my depression.
Parp is the child you might see in the foster care system – beaten down one too many times. Parp feels worthless. No one loves or cares for him. He doesn’t understand why no one wants him. He thinks he’s a good boy, and he tries not to hurt anyone, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Parp doesn’t matter.
Grummy is the school bully. He’s big and strong, both brawn and brains. He knows that he can beat Parp down and say the things that will hurt him the most. It doesn’t matter whether they’re true or not. Grummy knows that Parp will accept them without a fight.
Whimble is the voice of reason, my residual logic that most becomes overrun when I’m in an episode. Whimble is almost an out-of-body entity, who is able to step away and see things from the outside.
When I fall into an episode, my mind forms these three distinct characters, and it’s always the same. Parp begins to remember how useless and worthless he is. He curls up in the corner and cries as he remembers that no one wants him and that he’s so small, he barely makes an impression. No one really knows he exists.
Then Grummy comes along and sees Parp in the corner, and he begins to do his thing. He kicks and beats Parp, affirming that Parp is worthless, a waste of space, useless, and unloved. Grummy tells Parp that he’s better off dead, no one would miss him, and everyone would be better off without him. The more Grummy beats him down, the smaller Parp feels.
Whimble always makes an appearance, and to be honest, she always makes it worse. Whimble comes to Parp when Grummy is taking a break and tries to tell Parp to snap out of it. Whimble knows that Parp is worth so much more, that Grummy is lying, and seriously, you’re making us look bad! You’re coming off as rude to these people! Everyone thinks you’re mad at them! Come on, snap out of it, you know just as well as I do that this is just your emotions getting the best of you! Please!
Unfortunately, this just makes Parp feel worse. He begins to loathe himself for being unable to fight off Grummy. He hates himself for being so weak, for being unable to control himself. He hates himself for not being able to pull on a smile. He hates himself for being on the verge of tears no matter what happens.
It’s hard to break out of. Eventually, Parp and Whimble will work together to overpower Grummy, and peace is temporarily restored. But just like any person who has been bullied, the scars are still there. Parp still remembers those feelings of worthlessness at the peripheries of his emotions and Grummy knows it.
Grummy is just waiting for the right moment with Whimble’s defenses are down.
And when that happens… Well… then a new episode beings.