As Lisa has mentioned, our family loves to quote all kinds of (mostly stupid) things. While the main point of said quoting will always be to make each other laugh, I’ve found that some quotes lend themselves not only to laughter, but to mental health benefits. They have become unofficial mantras for my life when I’m dealing with anxiety or depression issues, and as such, they have helped me in ways I’m sure their writers never remotely intended. I like to think of it as redeeming the culture, bringing forth fruit from utter stupidity. And fortunately for you, I’ve decided to share them with you.
1) “Ain’t nothing but a thing.”
This is the catchphrase of Johnny Whitefeather in the mediocre film Imagine That. (Johnny Whitefeather, a fake Native American who exploits stereotypes for laughs in the movie, is a troubling character in general, so I consider it the ultimate act of redeeming culture that I can use his line for good.) One of the other characters outright asks him what this seemingly-nonsensical saying means. I’m not even sure if he knew what it meant to him, but I’ll tell you what it means to me. It means that all of those tasks that seem completely overwhelming are, in the end, just things that you can and will get through. So often depression and anxiety, combined with a healthy dose of perfectionism, can make even the smallest of tasks seems impossible. I say “Ain’t nothing but a thing” to remind myself that most things aren’t as scary as they seem, and it makes getting started easier. Making that awkward phone call? Ain’t nothing but a thing! Cleaning out your closet? Ain’t nothing but a thing!. Getting through finals week? Ain’t nothing but a thing!
2) “You can have a Coke.”
This line is said by the overly-aggressive and overall terrible “King Burger” employee Bon Qui Qui in a Mad TV sketch. A customer asks her a for a milkshake. She responds by asking if she’s sure she doesn’t just want a Coke -- milkshakes are a ton more work for her to get together. In the end, Bon Qui Qui decides that the customer will just have Coke and moves to the next person in line. While this is horrible customer service, this line is a great thing to say when you come across something or someone that you just can’t put up with. And when you’re depressed or anxious and lies are racing through your mind that say that you’re worthless and lazy and stupid, you can tell those thoughts that they can have a Coke. They’re not worth your time or attention. Next!
3) “You can’t cure everything at once.”
This gem comes from the relatively unknown made-for-TV movie Evil Roy Slade, a cult classic in our family. Evil Roy is a notorious outlaw who tries to reform his ways for the love of a beautiful woman. As part of that process, he meets with a psychiatrist, who tries, among other things, to get him to cry. Eventually the psychiatrist is successful, and he’s delighted: “We’re curing you!” While Evil Roy tries to dry his tears, however, the psychiatrist realizes that Evil Roy has stolen his wallet. “Well, you can’t cure everything at once,” shrugs Evil Roy. While Evil Roy found this line useful to excuse his bad behavior, I use it to remind myself that coping with depression and anxiety is a process, with ups and downs. All too often, after having a good day where I was able to keep my symptoms at bay and get a ton of stuff done, I have a bad day. Not only is it hard because it’s a bad day, but I get depressed about being depressed, as my counselor likes to say, and beat myself up for struggling again when I thought I was “cured.” My hidden hope is that I’ll be able to find that one thing that makes everything better, forever. Guess what? You can’t cure everything at once, and it’s silly to expect that you can. Thanks, Evil Roy. (You can watch the entire movie on Youtube. It's that great.)
So that’s how I make dumb quotes work for me. If these particular quotes don’t help you, try finding your own sayings that help you get through the day. If they make you laugh, too, that’s just a bonus.