The Sandbox Writing Challenge #58 — It’s all in your head!

On Oct 4th, Calen continued on with questions from Learning to Fall: Recording the Blessings of an Imperfect Life by Philip Simmons. This time, we are asked to go deeper:


What usually happens in your mind
when you fail to solve a problem?

I wouldn’t wish my mind on my worst enemy on a good day, so I definitely wouldn’t want to open it up to anyone when I’ve failed at anything. But since I’ve signed up to answer these questions, I will try to explain.

My mind is a twist of mazes, with rooms that lead to nowhere, sections that represent a swamp, a graveyard, a castle, and a courtyard, among a few (trust me, there are some places in there best left to the imagination). When I fail, the maze becomes a twisty-curvy set of mirrors. When I first enter my mind, I am met with myself, a reflection of that failure running for eternity. Words like shame, blame, and/or loser are tattooed upon my forehead. There is no mercy or compassion. If I manage to make it to the center of the maze, there is usually a swampy mote to greet me. If I want forgiveness, I have to cross it, usually on foot, dredging through the mire and muck. Previous versions of myself float face down, drowned from my own self-inflicted wounds. I will either drown there again, or I may make it to the other side. That’s where the graveyard, castle and courtyard are. Depending on my self-loathing, I could end up in the graveyard, or make it to the castle itself. If I do get to the castle, I am met with past abusers who laugh and jeer at me. If I seek to hide from them, I could get lost inside one of those other rooms I spoke of above. That’s usually when depression drags me into holes impossible to escape. On rare occasions, I will make it to the courtyard. Only there can I find hope and resolution and come out of my mind unscathed.

Of course, the outcome comes down to how severe the problem was and how badly I failed. The varied levels of depression will also determine how long I remain inside my mind. There is rarely a determination to accept my failure and move on. Instead, failures just get compounded and build up and up until I am forced into treatment again.Such is the life of one dealing with Mental Illness.

8 thoughts on “The Sandbox Writing Challenge #58 — It’s all in your head!

  1. This is not surprising to me at all. There is an enormous market for work dealing with this type of mental illness. Your scenario reminds me very much of a book called “The Castle of the Pearl” by Christopher Biffle. Though it’s not about mental illness (it’s about reviewing your life and getting to know yourself) it kind of follows a similar journey. You know, Lori, you could have a book waiting to be written there. One that would morph into a workbook of sorts. Check out Biffle’s workbook,

    I hope you’re journaling about all the time you spend in that world because one day it may come in handy!

    • Thanks, Calen. I appreciate the book suggestion and have ordered it. I do journal about my mind map/maze. I probably have six notebooks filled with my experiences inside my mind. I began them years ago during therapy. I never thought about writing a book/workbook about my experiences, but it’s an interesting idea. I wonder how many others have similar experiences.

      • Oh kiddo, I would think most of us struggle with SOME issue related to what you’re talking about. But most people don’t know how to articulate what they feel IF they’re brave enough to admit they struggle. I think that’s where workbooks come in handy.

      • I only bring it up because my therapist (the one I had years ago) said it was unusual for someone to describe their mind the way I do… so I wonder if others experience it, but just don’t have the words to describe it. Yeah, I think a workbook would definitely help. I know the questions you’ve been posting through workbooks has helped me a lot.

  2. Pingback: Sandbox Writing Challenge #63 — Live long and prosper? | Impromptu Promptlings

  3. Pingback: Sandbox Writing Challenge #58 — It’s all in your head! | Impromptu Promptlings

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