My best friend’s new best friend since moving to San Francisco (hi! Can’t wait to meet you in person when I visit, and other niceties) introduced us to the term “psychobabble”.
As I understand it, this phenomenon occurs when one is off guard, a couple drinks in or caught by surprise – i.e running into an ex-ish in the supermarket (in sweats and no make up, obviously). One’s brain shuts down and anxiety, emotion and shadow take over, which causes this poor person to spew out nonsensical, possibly defensive, definitely inappropriate, rapid-fire word salad that inaccurately represents them. The longer the babble, the worse it gets.
We all do it.
My psychobabble happened to me on a third date; yes, a couple drinks in. Having not been on one of these in a while, I was fixated on the social pressures of everything the occurrence connotes: maybe we extend the evening a little more, maybe we air some dirty laundry.
I was really nervous about how to reveal the first nugget of my baggage to this person. So, being me, I practiced it until it was solid. And yet, in the wrong moment it came out in a way that was very different than how I saw its unveiling in my head.
It was rushed and anxiety-induced; and even though I was attempting to convey how great I’m doing despite a harrowing experience, I did it in a “!!!!” tone with way too much build up, completing inverting everything I was saying in real time.
And then I topped it off with a post mortem babble-esque text. PB man – once it gets you, it’s like quicksand.
I know that I am not one fuck up. I am not my mind or my feelings or even my psychobabble; but I am how I choose to react. Post psychobabble I woke up and ran six miles. I journaled (the result of which you are reading) and held space to feel this. I took me time. I let myself eat a carton of whole grain Goldfish for dinner. And then I finally had a good night’s sleep.
Through writing and processing and talking this out with my people, I’ve decided that the cure for psychobabble is simple: to remember that we always have control over ourselves.
My story is mine to tell, in my own time, when I feel safe and when I am ready. I used to wear my experiences like a scarlet letter and now I see them as a source of strength. One incident doesn’t undo that.
I’ll get ‘er next time.