illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
by Jon Gomm:
The monkey on my arm is one side of my bipolar self. The aggression, insecurity, instability. The crazy.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in dealing with mental health stuff, is to not accept your inner voice. It's not you, it really isn't. Any thought you didn’t deliberately have, is not you. It’s the insecurity that lives in the back of your brain, your subconscious, leaking out into your mind. It wants you to be anxious, alert to danger, critical of yourself. (It’s trying - in its own messed up way - to help you.)
Only the thoughts you CHOOSE to have are actually YOU.
To shampoo-commercial up the science: We kinda have two brains when we are embryos: A primitive animalistic monkey brain, driven by fear and anger and hunger and lust, and a second, logical human brain. When you’re depressed or anxious, your monkey brain will get frustrated and attack. So, how do you beat it?
Imagine someone you love, your sister for example. If your inner voice is telling you "you're useless" or "what's the point in trying", imagine that voice is saying that stuff to your sister. You wouldn't tolerate it! You'd tell that bully to back the hell off.
Don't accept it against you either. When that angry, frightened monkey in your head tells you you're useless or stupid or ugly, don't tolerate it. “No offence, my furry friend, but you aren’t the boss. Now get back in your cage and chill the f**k out.”
For normal people reading this: The best thing you can tell someone with depression is: “It’s OK, you don't need to be happy all the time to have a good life." Oh, and "Listen to Jon Gomm and buy all his products.” Actually the last part is the best thing you can say to anybody.