COCKALORUM- The Little Annoying Man in My Brain: Living with Mental Illness
Depression is its own monster. Not you!
Cockalorum is an obsolete Flemish and early Dutch word that has probably been influenced by Latin that means:
“A little man who incorrectly has a very high opinion of himself.”
“A little man with an exaggerated idea of his own importance.”
I am going to be more focused on depression in this rant while on my soap box. Let me introduce my little cockalorum, Larry. Now if your name is Larry… Know that your name is beautiful, just like you. A friend chose the name at random and Larry “stuck like glue”. (Thank you Sugarland for your contribution.)
Larry is my depression and he has a wicked kind of Joker smile. We will dive into anxiety later, that is somebody else. Here is an important thing to remember: Larry is Larry and Kajsa is Kajsa. Our relationship is complicated. I hate his guts and he loves my insides. His favorite hobby is to mock, criticize, judge and belittle me.
Whenever I picture Larry I imagine a big fat balding man lying on the couch with greasy fingers, crumbs on his mouth from chomping down on chips. He sure knows how to make himself comfortable and there is no way of moving him once he settles in. (Maybe unless I had a crane…) He represents everything that I hate about myself.
Depression has a heavy and demanding presence. (See what I did there? Sorry… Bad joke… But seriously Larry is hefty.) It causes physical pain that makes your head heavy. An exhausting weight making an already grumpy person grumpier. (Isn’t that one of the names of the seven dwarves from Snow White? Maybe his middle name is Larry?)
It’s interesting because Larry can be more present at times than other times. I can feel him coming and for the longest time I wasn’t strong enough to hold him off. I winced when I would “see” or “feel” him coming. (Like watching the water ripple in the movie Jurassic Park when the T-rex was coming.)
I found it problematic to explain how strong and present Larry was because I was the only one who felt it. (Need to send him to Weight Watchers even if I have to pay the entrance fee.) I came up with the concept of Larry coming to “my house.” (I don’t know why but I always picture my house being yellow with a nice white picket fence.) To my surprise I found that those in the know of who Larry was could better understand where he was in compared to how I was fairing mentally.
He always started outside on the sidewalk walking along my nice white fence. Present, but not an immediate threat yet. Then he would climb the stairs onto the porch. (Peeping Tom… Always trying to look in the windows.) He would then have the audacity to wipe his muddy feet on the welcome mat and knock on the front door. At this point I had a dull pounding headache, centered mostly in my forehead.
Without permission, he would invite himself in. He’d walk down the hallway to the family room as if he owned the place. Next thing you know he’s sitting on my beautiful leather couch. At this stage, I am having a hard time holding my head up with a strong steady pressure headache and my energy is starting to dwindle. I start losing track as to what’s going on around me. I would pull into my shell to cut myself off from the world and people around me.
Then Larry has the gull to start talking. (Blabbering more like.) He filled my head with nasty, hateful, vile falsehoods that tore me down further. I am too far gone mentally and physically to fight him off so I listen. His talking turns into yelling and a tantrum. He would thrash “my house” and rip down my wallpaper. (AH! The nerve of some people! Oh and picture light yellow wallpaper with tiny blue flowers on it. Yeah I have I thing with the color yellow. Don’t ask me why.)
With the wallpaper torn, I’ve reached my point past function. I’d have a migraine and tunnel vision, unable to stand any kind of light. I felt separated from my body and the definition of life itself. The only thing I could handle was to lie in bed. Sometimes rocking myself back and forth crying, begging for relief. Occasionally I didn’t have enough energy or tears to cry. All I wanted was to kick Larry out of my house.
This analogy helped me stop thinking of myself and depression as one, but as two separate “entities” if you will. Larry was Larry and I am myself. (And aren’t we all so grateful for that! I am too funny not to be me. Not to toot my own horn or anything.)
Some of my friends use the same method to help them define who’s who. One uses the concept of a black dog in the valley. Another one’s depression looks like a wicked scary teacher with a ruler named Ursula. Everyone is different, thus depression LOOKS different. It has similar characteristics so you can identify it, but still unique to the person.
Maybe your depression looks like a unicorn getting kicked off a rainbow by a wicked elf. I don’t know, but what I do know is that this was one of the first tools I used to get a better grip on depression and I being separate and different. Identify who your annoying little man or woman is.
For myself I am proud to announce that Larry has received an eviction notice and a restraining order and I haven’t seen him for almost two years.
And that is how it is going to stay.
There is now a YouTube channel for Mental Health Naps- Click 10. COCKALORUM- The Little Annoying Man in My Brain: Living with Mental Illness to watch!