My Own Inside Out

This Father’s Day I took Fitzy to see Inside Out, which was an absolutely amazing movie, in my opinion.

Spoiler Alert: I will be dealing with some of the content of the movie in this post, so you’ve been forewarned.


The gist of the movie is that most of it takes place in Riley’s head. Imagine the brain of an 11 year old girl, if you can. There are five main emotions displayed – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger.

Each emotion tries to control parts of Riley’s life. Fear keeps her from tripping over objects, Disgust makes her refuse to eat broccoli, Anger throws a fit when Dad tries to make her eat said broccoli, Sadness makes her cry as a baby, and then there’s Joy. Joy tries to make Riley’s life as happy as possible. She has basically taken control of headquarters (the main control room of Riley’s brain).

As Riley’s life progress she makes many memories, some happy, some sad, some angry…you get the point. Along the way, Core Memories are made. These memories when put together help make up Riley’s personality.

Riley’s personality is displayed in a series of islands. There’s Goofball Island, Friendship Island, Hockey Island, Honesty Island and last, but not least, Family Island.

Without getting too far into the plot, Joy and Sadness get separated from headquarters and Anger, Fear and Disgust have to take the wheel, which leads to a series of horrible consequences. Along the way Riley’s islands disappear one by one, and we see her become a shell of herself.

That’s as far as I’ll go. I’ve already given enough away.

My friend Tracie, recently experienced the terrible, unexpected loss of her young son Mattie. She penned an absolutely beautiful blog relating Inside Out to the processing of grieving that she and her family find themselves in. You can read that amazing post at her From the Heart blog.

Her post was what inspired me to write this. I got thinking about how this related to my manic episode I went through almost 2 (yes 2) years ago. Having a way to visualize emotions, memories and personality really made it stand out to me, and maybe it will to you as well.

When I went through my episode, my emotions went haywire, for lack of a better term. If I had to describe in terms of Inside Out, Joy became twisted, Sadness went out the window as well as Disgust and Fear. Anger also kicked it up a notch as well. Clearly things were dysfunctional.

But mores than that, I realized how my memories and personality were affected, again seeing from the perspective of the movie.

As I look back on my episode, there are large chunks of time that are completely gone. I have zero memory of them. And my family has assured me that for many of those memories, that’s a good thing. But it’s hard to deal with sometimes. The fact that time and life experience just disappeared and you have absolutely no idea what went on or what you did or didn’t do. What if you treated someone in a terrible manner? (check) or did something you wouldn’t normally ever do? (check). That’s hard to handle.

And then there are the personality islands. When I had my breakdown it was like (at least from my recollection now) my personality completely changed. I was more willing to speak my mind. I talked non-stop. I treated people awfully, etc. etc. The traits that made up Jared disappeared. Fortunately they came back.

My manic episode has definitely become of the “core memories” of my life. It was a life changing experience, for better or for worse. And in reality, the things that have transpired due to it have truly been for the better.

What my hope is is that this post gives those who are dealing with emotional or mental issues or have a loved one dealing with those kinds of issues can have a better way of relating to what they are going through and perhaps have a better way of expressing themselves.

Oh, and see the movie. You won’t be disappointed.

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