I apologise in advance but this is more of a post than a pick of the week this time, though I will still be making some recommendations! With recent changes in my life, I’m finding that I’m having to almost start over from the beginning in a lot of new ways and it’s got me thinking. When it all goes wrong and you have to adapt why do so many people jump in to judge?
Changes to my personal circumstances have meant that I’ve had to revise how I go about doing a lot of things, budgeting my time and money differently. It’s scary and at times has been incredibly daunting. My struggle with depression was already worsening before everything went topsy-turvy, and a big part of the changes I’ve made have been an attempt to alleviate my mental health. (When something in your life is a constant trigger then it’s best to remove yourself from that thing, I find!) In some respects I have acted selfishly. For the first time in a long time, I’m putting the needs of myself and my children first.
It is difficult sometimes, isn’t it? No one wants to be selfish and put themselves first, but sometimes it’s what we have to do to be able to move forward and start again. When it comes to coping with depression, sometimes we have to make choices on how best to expend our energy and that in turn can appear selfish to others. (If you haven’t already, I’d advise you to read Aspects of Choice for Alex’s take on this)
Take for example if you suffer a relapse; you may feel like you’re starting from scratch on your road to recovery and to begin again may seem like too big a task. What you usually find is that whatever triggered that relapse is something you will find you have to remove yourself from in future, even if others can’t understand the reasoning. To them, you appear to be selfish.
I guess that’s the point of this post. Yes, depression can skew your view of the world but the only person who truly knows what makes you worse or better is you. What others may perceive as you being selfish, or isolating or unsociable is you coping and helping you to heal yourself. And that’s OK.
Think of it this way, would you ask someone with a broken leg to run a marathon? No, of course you wouldn’t. It’s also not a given that they’d be capable of running a marathon again. It would all depend on the severity of the injury and the treatment required. They’d avoid doing something that would potentially cause more damage and no one would judge them for that.
So why is it OK for people to judge and comment when you have to make changes for the benefit of your mental health? The answer is that it isn’t.
So, if there is something you feel you need to avoid (either temporarily or permanently) you shouldn’t feel guilty for it. Some people may not understand it, they may not like it, but to be honest it’s not up to them. If it’s a particular social situation that triggers you then you’ll go back to it when (or even if) you’re able. If your job is your trigger there may need to be changes made to make it possible for you to work, or a change of role might be necessary. It will all depend on your circumstances.
Therapy can help give us the tools to cope but that takes time. It also doesn’t fix everything. Sometimes the only solution is to remove the thing from our lives that is having a detrimental effect on us for our own good.
So the next time someone says you’re being selfish or judging you for not being able to make it to that social gathering or whatever, take a moment and remember you’re healing. Don’t feel guilty. You’re doing the right thing for your health.
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