Let me make this completely clear. Unless you intentionally wreck things, act like an ass, hurt people, or otherwise do unconscionable things — you are not an imposition. Further, you matter and people will want you in their lives.
I know a lot of people who question this for various reasons. Some are in reaction to trauma. Others are a result of brain chemistry matters. Whatever the case may be, you should know that you’re loved and you are not alone.
The words “mental illness” still evoke a notion of institutions, straightjackets, electro-shock therapy, and other extremes. But the reality of mental illness is that it is prevalent and far more like a common cold.
Lots of people suffer from one form of mental illness or another. Depression and anxiety, I am guessing, are the most common. These two issues, together or separately, can put a lot of lies inside your head and make you feel lost, unworthy, unwanted, and otherwise an imposition on friends and loved ones.
The truth is that you are not an imposition. You have worth and value, and the paths you choose for your life are valid.
I have been struggling with depression most of my life. There are good days and bad days, but overall I have it largely under control. My experiences have taught me a few things along the way. Since these are issues I know full-well others have or are dealing with, I want to explore them.
There are certain lies depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses tend to tell you. These are not true.
Nobody wants you around
This is, flat-out, a lie. Depression and anxiety will tell you that people don’t want to deal with you. You feel as if you are an imposition on people because you are sad/sour/distressed/down or what-have-you. But that’s simply untrue.
Your friends and family know you. They are aware of your fight with mental illness and they desire to be present for you to help however they can. Even when there is nothing that anyone can think of to do, that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing and able to be there for you. They want you around.
Likely, the squirrels in your brain or brain weasels have been chittering away and telling you that you are unwanted. You drag everyone else down and nobody wants you around. Might as well build a pillow-fort and avoid the world.
Unless you intend to be harmful to others, actively act in a manner that even you would not accept from other people, this is bullshit. Your friends and family want you in their lives because they are your friends and family.
For the record — because this is important — family may not be blood. Blood family can often be a cause of depression and anxiety. They may even be toxic for you to be around. Family are the people you have chosen to get close to. More than friends. They, in particular, totally want you around. Period.
You are imposing on people
Bullshit. There you are, Eeyore, down-in-the-dumps, mumbling, sad, generally feeling low. You have been struggling really hard of late and you have nothing of value to offer. Being around others just imposes on them.
So very not true. They still ask you to hang out and be a part of their lives.
You are not an imposition on anyone. Your friends and family care about you, even when you don’t understand why or how that could be.
Nobody is perfect. Or more realistically, everybody is perfectly imperfect. Everyone has bad days, everybody struggles with their own headspace sometimes, and the people who call you friend never feel that you are imposing on them. Period.
Unless you are intentionally interfering in someone’s life or blocking them from their path; unless you take and take with intent and have no plans to give back in any way — you are not an imposition on anyone.
You are unworthy and undeserving
This is probably the biggest lie mental illness tells you. You deserve to fail because you are unworthy of anything good for yourself because you have this issue. Maybe you should check into Arkham Asylum and get friendly with the Joker or Two-Face or such.
Not true. Unless you have been diagnosed as a sociopath or psychopath (and don’t take the meds that can control/regulate such) you are still a worthwhile person. Just because you combat mental illness it does not lessen your worth nor value in this world.
I know that can feel like a lie, but the lie is that you are unworthy and undeserving. EVERYONE on this planet has worth and value. Everybody deserves to have good things in their lives, to be content, and to experience unique things.
You, your goals and paths in life, are worthwhile. You deserve peace, success, and any and all good you can find and/or create along the way. Why? Because you are you.
Yes, it really is that simple and true.
How do you treat mental illness?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for me might not work for you.
Apart from therapy and psychopharmacology, there are things you can do to quiet the brain weasels and take care of yourself.
- Talk to your friends/family. You are not an imposition. Your friends and family care about you and will do what they can to help you. Whether just to hear you out or offer advice, you can talk to them.
- Write out your thoughts/feelings and get them out there. Pull them from your head, put them on the page or screen. Maybe, if you put them on the page, you can then take and burn them or otherwise trash them to let them go.
- Be mindful. A lot of mental illness tends to take root in your subconscious. When you work on mindfulness and being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions you become more conscious. Being conscious helps you to see how depression, anxiety and the like are lying to you.
- As little as 5 minutes of being still and calm, present in the here-and-now, focused on your breath can do wonders. Meditation is not totally clearing your mind, it is focusing on simply being present in the now.
- Be active. Go for a walk. Stretch. Move. This can be as simple as getting up every hour and stretching to going to the gym and working out. A little activity ups the heart-rate and increases blood flow. This can provide mental and emotional sharpness and clarity.
- Take a minute or two to pause and do some deep breathing. Take a deep breath in, let it out slowly. Repeat. It never ceases to amaze me how this simple act can improve my headspace.
You are not alone
I know where you are coming from. Really, you are not alone in this.
You are not an imposition on everyone else. If you feel like you don’t matter or nobody wants you around — you’re wrong, you DO matter, and people care about you.
Mental illness is not a rare, nasty, disgusting disease. It doesn’t make you a bad, unworthy person to be avoided. The more people share their experiences with mental illness the more you and I can remove the stigma attached to it. Don’t be afraid — you can work through this.
Can you see that you really are NOT an imposition?
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter and we are not an imposition on anyone else.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on February 19, 2020.