This blog is about helping me manage my mental health, letting others know they are not alone in living and dealing with Anxiety and Depression, and showing those who don’t live first-hand with the illnesses what it is like — if only through the eyes and mind of one person. I think I’ve done a pretty good job getting these points across.
But there has been a part of my experience that I have not named, or at least not as directly as I should be. Despite the fact that my mental health is currently better than it ever has been before, I still struggle with at least one major hurdle to true happiness.
That being that I do not have the healthiest ego; I do not possess high self-esteem. My mind finds it very easy to focus on my failures rather than my strengths. And there are times my mind can be filled with doubt.
Does this mean I am depressed? Some would say I am. And based on a recent doctor’s visit, I have been advised to see my therapist again just to check into this … which I will be doing soon.
However, I don’t think Depression is where I am at. During much of my daily life, I am happy and I can conjure up joy. There are huge parts of my life where I am confident in my contributions.
It just so happens that for my whole life I have also found it easier to struggle with my failures than automatically see myself through my strengths.
I am guessing this is true of many people who have struggled with Anxiety and Depression since a young age or for a very long time. Our brains have a muscle memory — if that’s the right phrase — to fall into the negative more than most people.
I am writing this now, because I have recognized that this is a dominant way of my thinking, and it is holding me back from optimal mental health.
I’m curious. First, can I feel these feelings without being seen as depressed? Can the other joyful and confident parts of my life outweigh the negativity of a brain that doesn’t always fire optimally? If so, what strategies can be taken to build self-esteem to match the positive feelings I have?
I am lucky. Again, I am living the best year of my whole life thus far! I cannot discount this. However, I am also lucky because I have an incredible person in my camp. My spouse has taken to shushing me when I engage in negative self-talk. She names for me — when I can not name for myself — my strengths. Sometimes I get a little annoyed. I say that I have to and want to acknowledge my feelings … which I think she understands. But she will not let me wallow in the negativity.
Again, I am a lucky guy … a lucky guy who sometimes beats himself up.
(Note to self: Call my therapist tomorrow for an appointment soon.)