Perhaps you haven’t been able to hold down relationships or jobs, maybe you haven’t been able to socially fit in. You feel alone.
You look at achievers, climbing the ladder higher and higher in every aspect of life while you’re barely able to get through a day without tears and distress. You feel like a failure.
“Why can’t I do something right? Why can’t I follow anything through? Why can’t I hold down close friendships?” You achieve nothing. Your distress manifests until you’re certain you will never really be okay.
I don’t think anyone who doesn’t have a mental illness understands just how much you’re beating yourself up. Whether it be physical, mental and emotional, you’re hurting yourself inside and out. It’s hard enough knowing there is something ‘wrong’ with you but I think the hardest bit is the fact you still have to fit in with a mostly ‘normal’ society defined by benchmark standards.
That’s the problem right there. You’re trying to compare yourself to a benchmark of a standard but who sets that benchmark? Who is to define normal? Average? What even is this idea of normal? Does normal differ depending on the topic? As you can see, it’s so much more than black and white.
It starts from a young age through childhood development, carried throughout schooling and into our adult lives. We’re programmed to compete. We set these marks into our general everyday life. Have we married too early or too late? Kids too early or too late? Are we raising them the right way? Will we be judged for breastfeeding too long or not at all? Have we travelled like others? Do we own a home? How could anyone expect to be happy in this high-pressured, programmed environment?
What’s the answer? Dial back.
If you’re one of 350+ million people worldwide saying ‘I struggle to get through a day‘ then here’s your answer. That benchmark you’re comparing yourself to needs to be set by you and for you ONLY. What did you achieve today? What’s one thing today that you did that you can be proud of? I don’t mean if you won an award or got promoted. I mean did you get up and find gratitude for something in your life? Did you shut down a brief moment of inner negative self-talk? Did you look in the mirror and compliment yourself today? Because if you do this daily and begin to build those stairs up, it won’t be long until you’re taking big strides to the top. Every step forward is the biggest achievement yet and needs to be celebrated.
I want to remind you that you were once a baby that was completely dependent, but you rolled onto your belly and started to crawl, and you mastered that! It wasn’t long until you were pulling yourself up on everything you could find just to stand, some days you fell straight on your butt but you never gave up. It didn’t even bother you that it took some time to be able to be stable but once you got there, you weren’t going to hold back. You had a burning intrinsic drive that you could do more! You took a step and soon you were walking and then you were unstoppable. With so much to explore you couldn’t get around fast enough until you ran and you’re running still today. You’re still here.
Babies achieve so much because their minds are free of society’s pressures and status quos. Whether you have depression or not, we would all be a hell of a lot happier if we just dialled back to our own benchmarks and ran at our own pace.
Stop comparing yourself to others, stop worrying about if you’re playing the game of life the right way. There is no right way. You’re playing it fine.
Never forget that you have been a free thinker before and you can be a free thinker again. Take your own hand and hold it tight because the best person to impress here is yourself.