Root Facts. The things you believe, or know to be true, without ever examining them. Because it would never occur to you to examine them. Because they’re true. Obviously. In your head.
They are little germs of things that were planted in your brain, maybe by someone else, or maybe you did this to yourself. They’re not always bad – sometimes they’re just dumb. For example: for longer-than-I-care-to-mention, I was certain that babies were born with their eyes shut, and didn’t open them for a few weeks. This fact stuck with me until . . . well, like I said. Longer than it should have. Simply because I never saw a newborn, lacked any interest in learning about newborns, and never had any reason to examine something of which I was sure. You know what I had seen? Newborn puppies. And kittens.
Well, anyway. Suffice it to say that it came up in conversation with a friend of mine who was kind enough to clarify things for me without mocking me too much. (Unlike the friend who laughed hysterically when I said the word ‘subtle’ but pronounced it … like it’s spelled. The hazards of reading more than you speak.)
That’s a root fact. Now, the root facts of depression are far less benign. They could be something someone said once, in jest – like, ‘Move your lazy ass!’ – never in a million years thinking that someone like YOU would ever believe it. But depression, the bitch, gripped that little comment and filed it away for future late-night-ceiling-and-soul-examining times, so that when you had the following conversation with yourself:
Flailing Brain: “I’m so lazy. Lazy and useless. Well. I’m not really. Except I kind of am. Am I?”
Sneaky Depression: “You must be. Remember that time when that person you love said that thing? About your ass, and it’s lazy, lazy habits?”
Brain, No Longer Flailing: “Shit.”
Depression sneaks in and tells you all sorts of things while you’re not paying attention. You’re useless. You’re lazy. You have no worth, no ethics, no hope, and therefore no future. And then it uses tiny things throughout the day to reinforce these facts – like that moment where you decided to just leave the dishes. The moment when you cut your workout short. That time you forgot to walk the dog. Those things prove the point that depression was trying to make! The root facts dig in deeper and deeper and soon, you don’t notice that they’re there. They are part of you. You know these things as surely as you know that you breathe oxygen.
Although really, you breathe more than just oxygen. Else you’d be really lightheaded and ALERT ALL THE TIME.
See? Another root fact, shot outta the sky.
It takes work, and self-examination, and work, and sometimes medication, and work, to find these little buggers and dig them out and pour citric acid on the soil so they can never grow again. I mean, you can’t go digging around your brain for all the things you are sure of, you’d go batshit. But. You can wait, and lurk in the shadows until you notice something in your day that makes you feel like hell, or makes you want to go lay down, or makes you hate yourself a little bit, and then pounce! on it. Find out where that root came from. Then get it! Sic!
Well, that was all a little more violent than I meant it to be.
So, insert something about nurturing and loving and, um, fertilizing the soil of your mind. (Read into that sentence what you will.)
How about you? Does any of this make sense? What are your root facts, if you have any? If you don’t know what I’m talking about feel free to give me a rating of ‘crazy’ on a scale of 1-10. But I warn you: None of my root facts think I’m crazy. We’re pretty good that way.
p.s. On the off chance that anyone has been getting this in e-mail and then replying to the email to comment? Stop. I never, ever get the e-mails, and I do so very much want to know what you had to say!