Insided Out

We watched Inside Out for our family movie night last week. Since then, my husband and I have had a lot to think about. He relates to Joy.

“I’m like Joy. I draw a circle and tell Sadness to stay inside it….” -Him

Me? I relate to Sadness, then Anger, then Fear. Sadness runs my little control panel, and tells Joy to keep it contained. We wouldn’t want things to get too happy, you know?

“Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.” -Sadness

I know it sounds depressing. You don’t really need to tell a depressing person that she’s depressing. The funny thing is that, when other people express similar sentiments, I put on a little mask and cheerleader demeanor (though not ever the outfit). “I’m sure that problem would be helped by _________” I say. “You’re not worthless,” I add. “Every human being has worth and I have seen you do amazing things.”

Inside, however, my coagulation of Sadangryscared says rotten things.

“There is no point to life and no one really likes you.” -Me

I’ve expressed the feeling that others are driving, that life is ho-hum, that I don’t know what to do and that I feel badly for feeling this way on top of it all. At rarer times; I have been a little happier and explained how to move on, get over oneself, and improve.

The problem is Depression and its insidious friend, Despair. When both of those are too lazy to try very hard, they kick Apathy over to sit on me. I can’t care about much with her sitting there.

…. -Apathy

See? She can’t even be bothered to construct a sentence, let alone give me the idea that I ought to try to try.

Why are things that way? Why can’t I try a little joy? It’s because when Joy is loose inside my mind, she’s a tad crazy. We’re talking toga party crazy. We’re talking repressed emotion crazy. She bounces off walls, says embarrassing things, and doesn’t really know how to respond to others’ comments. As Fear slowly gets a good grip on her arm to put her back over in her circle, she turns into Anxiety.

“Oh, no. What did I say? I should never have allowed myself to feel happy.” -Me again, or Joy as Anxiety

Like in the film, I believe my emotions need to get along better if I hope for more stability. My mind islands need a fusion; a cohesive Pangaea where all may play and get along.

After all, Riley’s mother’s dominant emotion is Sadness. She and the other eyeglass-wearing, ponytail-toting gals get along fine and don’t seem to be collapsing in crying heaps all over the place. I can aim for that, can’t I?

Until then, here’s a final message from Sadness:

“I’m too sad to walk. Just give me a few …hours.”


32 thoughts on “Insided Out

    1. Yes, I do. It’s not artistically fabulous like “Up” or “Finding Nemo,” but is incredibly insightful.

      (As a side note, the two films I mentioned are NOT among my favorite Pixar flicks.)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. That film was on here over the Christmas holidays, so I get what it’s about. We’re each controlled by a committee of our emotions. It’s disastrous. 🙂
    I’m disappointed that I have nothing useful to say, but I am reading and following your words. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting read, Chelsea. I am more like your husband in that I see the happier side of things before I see the sad, my sister is more of a depressed person. It is good to learn about both perspectives on life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My husband also said that now he sees Sadness has a purpose. Funnily enough, I couldn’t help thinking that she didn’t seem to in the film -even with its conclusion. 🙂


  3. Depression and other mental health issues suck. But good on you for thinking critically about your emotions, about your family, and, most importantly, I’m sure you’ve mulled over the concept if broccoli on pizza.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Secret life-secrets coming out now:

        I lived in the SF bay area for 4 years (grad school). I’ve eaten at multiple of those pizza places, multiple times. The worst one was when the pizza was covered in corn, fried potatoes, and pine nuts with a white sauce (carb load, anyone?). I thought the business model was foul, and I never understood why people wanted to go to them and support this BS. They were always filled to the brim with people, though, so I must assume it’s just a bay-area thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My response to this was so wordy I had to email it to you. I used the addy on your Hire Chelsea page for lack of a better place to send it.. Nothing private about the correspondence, just a very lengthy reply.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie, but I can see how it would strike a chord with you. As you touched on in another post, though, it isn’t all just what is inside us – it’s also the people around us and their plethora of emotions. You had mentioned to interact with other people when you were feeling depressed, but in my case much of the depression is DUE to the other people and their breach of my trust. Once bitten, twice shy, as they say. But hiding in a cave (real or figurative) doesn’t work either, so there’s the challenge of finding the balance. If nothing else, the movie helped you recognize and sort out (somewhat) what your inner emotions were doing, and realize how they differ from hubby and others. Thanks for sharing the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Boy are you ever right about social interactions.
      Despite my encouragements, I realize I expect flawless behavior in others in order to feel I may trust them.
      I know we need human connections; I also know I need to trust with forgiveness for human behavior. :/


  6. “I believe my emotions need to get along better if I hope for more stability.” What an interesting perspective. We so often tend to place emotions into boxes (or circles) and label them. Perhaps that’s not really helpful. A thoughtful post, Chelsea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, D.
      My counselor says we have ‘core feelings,’ and you’re correct that those are not Joy, Sadness, etc. They’re what resonate with us and are probably all in boxes of reactions. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like looking at emotions as being on a sliding scale. It’s easier for me to nudge them on the scale rather than try to jump from one box to another (which I find almost impossible and therefore frustrating). Does that make sense? Anyway it’s helpful for me. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I heard a sermon a few weeks back, and the pastor was talking about emotions. I was encouraged because he struck what I thought was pretty solid middle ground when he said that emotions are a very important part of who we are as human beings created in the image of God. In scripture God often commands our emotions (like when he says to rejoice). But at the same time, in light of the fall of mankind, our emotions are fallen, too, so they’re not infallible, as if what we feel determines truth. He said it this way: Emotions are gauges, like what we see on a car, that alert us to some deeper truth about ourselves. They’re indicators of something else that’s happening underneath. That was really helpful to me personally–I think because I tend to be so prone to such intense feeling emotions. And his balance was well struck because I’ve heard it said by some that emotions should basically be ignored as unimportant and by others that they are ultimate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is very helpful, Eric; thanks! I totally agree that I ought not to take every emotion so seriously although I feel them deeply.

      For one thing, I took hormones for a brief period of time (I stopped when a *ahem* more legitimate doctor explained some of the side effects) and experienced completely different emotions during social situations than I had before. -so, the feelings really can just be miopic perception.

      I also really like your metaphor of a gauge.


  8. I hate it when my emotions are all over the place. I was that way last night. One thing that helps me is to let them all have a go at it. I cry when I feel like it. I laugh at myself afterwards… I basically let them do their thing until they (or is it me, actually?) get too tired so I can have my peace. I find that the more I try to analyze them or control them, the more difficult time I have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, of course. I have learned to repress, repress, repress. I did not like the way people were out of control and felt that a calm demeanor was preferable… come to think of it, I’m teaching my children that, too. :/


  9. So well written, Chelsea! Your creativity & way with words amazes me. Inside out is one of those movies that I couldn’t stop thinking about for a while after watching it! It’s was so well done & really spoke to the essence of well.. just being a human & dealing with emotions. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.