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ThatTimeanOctopusSatOnMyHead...andOtherThingsI'veNeverToldAnyone

Janet Neal
Janet Neal Founder & Queen Bee, The Superbwoman, Inc.
4mo Montclair, NJ, United States Story
That Time an Octopus Sat On My Head...and Other Things I've Never Told Anyone

I am a motivational speaker. I absolutely believe in what I talk about and make a living encouraging women to BE themselves. Enough of this concept of trying to do what others tell you should do, doing it by yourself and of course, doing it perfectly. It doesn’t work – take it from me, I tried.

I work diligently to “walk the talk”, never espousing upon something that I haven’t done or tried myself.

So that I why I have to talk about the time the octopus sat on my head.

It happened last week but it wasn’t the first time it had happened. The first time I remember it happening was in 9th grade as I sat at my hall monitor desk. The next time was when I was 16 and experiencing my first job. There were many times in my 20s and once in my 50s when I was over-medicated. It had been a long time but last week’s episode was just as vivid as those so long ago.

Octopuses, when feeling the need to escape, emit a dark ink that blinds other’s view and helps them to make their getaway. Last week I felt like that octopus was sitting on my head, squirting its ink into all the curves and crevasses of my brain until I could not think. I wanted to escape this world and this darkness was providing the cover.

So, what does a motivational speaker do when she is overcome with this darkness? How can I credibly call myself “motivational” if I can’t motivate myself? Listen to other motivational speakers? Hardly! My brain at that point is shut down. Enough with the flowery talk. Reach out to a friend? The is the LAST thing I want to do! All I want to do is shut. down. No more talking, no more reasoning. The only thing that does seems to work is that which is associated with darkness: those self-flagellating thoughts and long ago discarded beliefs about how bad I and the world are. Once these thoughts have been unleashed, they are eager to take a new foothold and multiply.

Until now, I have not told anyone about this. Not my parents. Not my best friends. Not my husband. No one. I don’t want their pity, their confused looks, their worry. I am not worth it.

And then there was Kate and Anthony. My darkness came the day before the news about Kate hit. I got it – I WAS her. I read all the well-meaning posts about reaching out to a friend. At that time, when I was at my lowest, if someone had reached out to me I would have told them I was good, even though I definitely was not. It sounds like great advice, but for me, at that point, it is not practical.

But what I noticed DID help was knowing that others also had felt like the octopus was on their head - and had gotten through it. People who I put on a pedestal, people who “should know better” – it happens. We are human. This is life.

So, I share this with you – not to give advice, not to cajole or dissuade, but to let you know that I am another person who has these horrible, dark, scary thoughts from time to time. It’s our secrets that kill us – and really, in my soul, I want to live. I am not alone. You are not alone. And we are worth it. 

#motivation #katespade #suicide #darkness #anthonybourdain 


3 replies

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  • Lauren Klein
    4mo ago

    Beautifully said. @Janet Neal I have been so shocked still about Kate Spade and these people that seem to have it all. What is it that makes people truly happy? What do you do when you feel down? 

    Beautifully said. @Janet Neal I have been so shocked still about Kate Spade and these people that seem to have it all. What is it that makes people truly happy? What do you do when you feel down? 

    • Janet Neal
      Janet Neal Founder & Queen Bee, The Superbwoman, Inc.
      4mo ago Montclair, NJ, United States

      The best thing I’ve learned is that feelings pass. I think of them like clouds...sometimes they hang around for awhile but they always pass. That and getting some rest. Oh yes, and writing.

      The best thing I’ve learned is that feelings pass. I think of them like clouds...sometimes they hang around for awhile but they always pass. That and getting some rest. Oh yes, and writing.

  • Damai
    4mo ago

    Great Octopus metaphor!  Thanks for sharing.  @Janet Neal 

    Great Octopus metaphor!  Thanks for sharing.  @Janet Neal 


Janet Neal
Founder & Queen Bee, The Superbwoman, Inc.

Janet Neal is a “reformed superwoman” who believes women have the power to change the world - when they realize it. Her company, The Superbwoman, Inc., helps women to do that. As a coach, speaker and trainer, Janet draws on her experiences in education, in corporations, and as an entrepreneur. [...]

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