Hello Humans of the internet! It’s Friday! I did miss posting on Wednesday because I found that I didn’t have anything to say or anything saved. I try to reserve Friday posts for things directly related to dyslexia, but I really want to talk about the mental hamster wheel that I mentioned in Monday’s post. And honestly, this was a lot harder to write then I thought it was going to be.
What is a mental hamster wheel?
Take a moment and picture a hamster wheel. One of the metal ones. The really squeaky ones. You know what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever had a hamster or a mouse (personally, I had pet mice) then you know that they will run on that wheel for hours on end. Even with the terrible squeaking noise. I don’t know anything about mouse or hamster psychology, but I’ve always imagined that the mice were running away from the squeaking noise and that’s why they wouldn’t stop. It’s kind of a fascinating thing to think about: in an attempt to escape something, they’re causing the thing that they are trying to escape.
Now, bearing in mind that concept, let me try to explain the mental hamster wheel.
I’ve always been a very insecure person. I do not see myself as good enough. And I cling to every negative thing people say to me. Every moment when I wasn’t enough, in my head becomes my entire story. Sometimes, when this gets really bad, I fall into what I call “the mental hamster wheel.” You remember the hamster wheel? I feel like the hamster, or mouse, on the wheel. Except, instead of squeaking it’s every negative I’ve ever been told, usually in a specific genre of insult. For example:
If someone where to say something disapproving of something that I’m wearing (which I honestly love to wear odd clothes so I should be able to handle this) I’m going to think that on repeat for days. Let’s say someone said, “Yellow doesn’t look good with your skin tone.” (for the record that is something that someone has said). After they said that, I won’t be able to stop thinking that yellow looks bad on me. But then my brain will start adding in other things. “You have a big nose.” “The small won’t fit her, her butt’s too fat.” “Why do you always were beat up sneakers.” “If you did make up boys would like you.” “Let me fix you.” “Are you a boy?” “Why did you cut your hair, it used to be pretty?”
(again all things that people have said)
So these start repeating in my head until I can’t focus on anything else. Usually, after a short cry, some tea, and a good night’s sleep I’m fine. But sometimes, I stay like this for days on end. Until my brain because a hamster wheel squeaking out that I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. Then I try to fix myself. I try new make up (and think I look uglier with it on). I try to dress up (and feel like I look ridiculous). I try to accomplish anything (and feel like int’s not worth it because it’ll never be good). It starts to feel like the harder I try to get out of the hamster wheel, the faster I’m running on it.
Eventually, something happens in me that turns off the mental hamster wheel. Anyway. I wanted to write this just in case any of you experience this. Because I know that I feel very alone when I’m running on my mental hamster wheel. I’ve recently been able to talk to someone in my life about this and realized that I wasn’t alone. If there’s anyone who might happen upon this blog post that this happens to, you’re not alone. And if you need someone to talk to, you can talk to me anytime. I might not answer right away, but I will answer because you matter.