When Mental Illness Makes You Doubt Yourself
I have doubted myself too many times to count in my life. I have questioned the validity of my thoughts and feelings in a disagreement; I have questioned whether I had the right perception of a social interaction; I have wondered if I am recounting a situation correctly in a professional setting.
Recently one of my supervisors said to me, “Will you stop doubting yourself? Everything you are saying is right on.” I work in a clinical setting but I’m not a clinician, but she said my clinical assessment of someone was very accurate and to stop second guessing myself. After she said that to me I had a little more confidence in my perception of things, and looking back at some situations where I thought I overreacted or didn’t see the picture clearly, I felt a little bit more validated.
When you have mental illness, especially in a disagreement with someone, others can sometimes play that card. “Did you take your meds today?” has been popular comeback when I have been upset about something. The word “crazy” has definitely come up in arguments. I didn’t realize that over the years I had been figuratively beaten down, thinking that being mistreated was somehow my fault, that because I struggled with anxiety and depression I was “less than” and that my opinion didn’t matter as much. The fact of the matter is: I allowed that type of treatment many times because of insecurities born from my illness, but as I have gotten older and wiser I have realized (and remembered) that I am an intelligent and insightful woman who does not deserve to be treated unfairly because I have an anxiety attack and depression from time to time.
It is important to empower yourself when you are diagnosed with any kind of mental illness because it does shake you, and your behaviors or lack of self-confidence can put you in vulnerable situations where people may take advantage. Just remember you are never “less than,” in fact, functioning with an invisible, misunderstood illness takes strength and stamina that is not meant for the weary.
Although it can be a challenge, stay strong in your convictions. Yes, sometimes you will be wrong in a disagreement or your assessment of something. But don’t let a mental illness make you second guess yourself time and time again. Even if the other party uses your illness against you, take the high road and know that you and your perceptions are most often completely separate from your illness and that you always have the right to defend yourself.
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Unsplash photo via Alessio Lin