Woman Unsure Where Toxic Thoughts End, Toxic Reality Begins

Melanie Soto has been stewing in some really negative energy recently, but she’s having a hard time locating the source. Melanie’s baseline skews a bit cynical, but recent events have thrown her perspective entirely out of whack. Simply put, she’s not sure if the toxicity is “coming from inside the house.” The house being, well, her effed-up brain.

Melanie, who was recently laid off due to events outside her control, is still waiting for her first unemployment payment to kick in. When asked to explain her emotional state, Melanie stammered for a full six minutes before attempting to answer the question.

“Normally, I would advise myself to just quit it with the self-punishment. But in this case, I’m like, wait, is this self-punishment? Or just…punishment? Because things are inarguably really bad, right?”

From a logical standpoint, Melanie is well aware that she is not personally responsible for a global pandemic, but when pressed to confirm, she equivocated by stating, “I dunno man.”

As the interview wore on, Melanie appeared to become increasingly confused, as if vexed by a particularly challenging logic puzzle.

Melanie continued, “Normally, I would ask a friend for feedback. Using people as a sounding board can feel really centering. But uhh, I’ve been holed up in my tiny apartment for 60 days with no one to talk to.”

Sounds tough! No wonder the line between her subjective interior and objective exterior are blurring, hardcore. To gain some clarity on the difference between toxic thoughts and toxic reality, Melanie researched positive thinking online, and found out about “re-framing the narrative.”

“The aim was basically to tell myself a different story than the one I’ve been telling myself for years.”

That’s where she hit a snag in her process.

“I was like, okay, I need to stop the negative thoughts. But what if all my negative thoughts…are correct? And life is just like…a prolonged negative experience? I don’t know, something to think about.”

Mary Gulino
Author: Mary Gulino
Mary is an LA-based writer from New Jersey whose work can be seen online and on TV (unless you count streaming platforms as online, in which case, it's all online). She got glasses when she was two, and would love to talk optometry sometime.