Feelings of guilt often accompany major depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. That you are having difficulty functioning on a very basic level, while knowing that you “don’t have it that bad” (or, that’s what your *insert family member* is telling you) has you feeling even worse. Your family and friends may not understand what you're going through, and from their perspective, have trouble grasping why you can’t just pick your head up and work through this. You tell yourself, ‘I'm not DYING, for God’s sake…,’ but it doesn’t help a thing.
Being present to the people around you – especially to children, who demand more attention and energy than (most) adults – when you are in the throes of depression or anxiety is next to impossible. The self-reproach, the feeling that you have let people down, lurks underneath the sadness, worthlessness, and fear. Start sifting through your mental catalog of mistakes you’ve made – people you’ve hurt, sins you’ve committed, commitments you’ve broken – and the hopelessness gets BIG. Stay there, and you might even start to think that this depression or anxiety you are dealing with is a punishment for the way you’ve lived your life.
Whether you are conscious of it or not, you tell yourself stories about what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen in your life. It’s the ongoing commentary in the background, a narrative that is powerful enough to convince you that you are right. The story you tell yourself about yourself has the power to compound the self-condemnation, fear and sadness, or it has the power to help get you through the today with a little more ease. What’s the story you tell yourself about your current struggle(s)? That you have made so many mistakes, and there’s no way you will redeem yourself? That you’ve felt so bad for so long, and you know you will never feel better? Or, that you are human, have made mistakes, and are currently struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, etc.? That just because this is your battle today doesn’t mean it will be your battle tomorrow or next year?
Self-Care is Crucial to Your Recovery
Imagine a person you love, someone you genuinely care about and would go to the ends of the Earth to help. How would you talk to that person, if s/he was battling anxiety, depression, etc.? How can you be a bit kinder to yourself when you tell yourself stories? The truth is, we could all work on being kinder to ourselves, especially in our storytelling.
When you have twelve minutes, watch this recent TedTalk wherein Emily Esfahani Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life & touches on the power of storytelling.
Millions Are Struggling Like You
You may feel completely alone in your experience, but know that there are hundreds of millions of people confronting mental illnesses today. According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people are living with depression and 264 million are living with anxiety disorders. Find more statistics in the WHO's "Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates" document HERE.
Scientific research in psychiatry is mounting, and there are treatments available. Contact us to learn about ketamine infusion therapy and other evidence-based treatments available.