The Gremlin Speaks

There is a voice in my head that spits bile into my brain and tells me horrible things; she calls me names like pathetic, worthless, hideous. My therapist refers to this voice as The Gremlin.


I’m sure all of you have little gremlins of your own; it is not unique to mental illness to have a negative voice in your head that beats you up. I wouldn’t try to say that my gremlin is any worse than yours, but she did make a pretty spectacular showing last night and in the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to share what she said.


If you read my last post you know that I’m getting into the dating world again. I had a first date with a guy I really like. (So far) he seems kind and like a genuinely “good” guy. I had a great time with him and was hoping he would call me to schedule another date; he did yesterday afternoon.


Later, last night, my gremlin appeared and started whispering poisonous things to me.


My gremlin told me that this nice, good guy shouldn’t have to deal with me and my crazy. This nice, good guy doesn’t deserve to have his life ruined as my life has been ruined.


I have seen how my illness has drastically altered the lives of my parents and, according to my gremlin, I’ve done enough damage to other people.


My gremlin says I should stay single forever. I should protect nice, good guys from me. I should suffer this disorder alone.


My gremlin insists that even if I get close enough to this guy to tell him about my bipolar disorder, it’s impossible that he’d want to stay with me. My gremlin speaks for him: “You’re insane and I don’t want to see you anymore.”


My gremlin is a nasty old bitch. I picture her as tiny, with a hunched back. She has green scaly skin and fat warts on her nose. She has no hair, except for huge tufts coming out of her lumpy ears. She certainly doesn’t look very trustworthy. Why should I listen to her?


I tell myself I won’t listen to her. I had the urge to call off my date without explaining myself and I didn’t call it off. I am keeping this date and damnit, I will go on it.


I can fight the gremlin. I can yell back at her to shut the fuck up. I can counterbalance everything she tells me using a skill in DBT called “checking the facts.” I can prove her wrong.


However, I cannot kill her. She will always be there, cackling and spitting in the corner. I wish I could banish her permanently, but she’s here to stay. The best I can hope for is that the longer I fight her, the weaker and quieter she gets. Here’s hoping.


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