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Why Beating Yourself Up Is Exhausting

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The title above seems rather obvious, but for those of us struggling with mental illness, it is a cruel reality. This week, the stressors of my life, good and bad, are taking their toll. I could give you an itemized list, but then I’d stress about which really needed to be written down and shared and which seem ridiculous. I will summarize it by saying my kids and I are leaving our school in two and a half weeks, and I have to change therapists because of crappy insurance. And I don’t want to (insert full-blown temper tantrum here).

When things get overwhelming, rather than dealing with the reality, my depression and anxiety try to convince me that these issues are insurmountable, scary and probably my fault. I must not deserve to have a good therapist. I am scarring my children by switching their schools. I shouldn’t be leaving my job. I am pathetic and broken. And so I eat. And then I get mad at myself for eating (usually ice cream). And now I hate the way every piece of clothing looks on me. And I am a bad role model for my children… (I’ll stop here, but suffice to say it keeps going and going).

As you can imagine this is not healthy (understatement) and it is exhausting. I have learned skills to combat my thinking. Sometimes they work. Sometimes I am too tired to wholeheartedly try them. I know I need to, and my mind fights me during these times — and often wins. That is where I am today. Then I question my desire to even get better if it is so much work.

At this point, as much as I love my family and friends, they can’t win. Let me explain – I want them to reach out, but I have no idea what they can do. And what makes it worse is I think they are taking pity on me and only interacting with me because they are scared I am not well. I want to talk, and I really don’t want to talk. At these times, the words people have stupidly said to me (or I’ve imagined them saying) that can all be reduced to, “Are you possibly doing this for attention?” or “Mental health is not a chronic illness” come rushing to the forefront of my mind. I have to constantly remind myself this is not the attention I crave – that comes from so many other areas of my life – and this attention is miserable and not fun.

So at least for today – I’ll write. And when my kids get home I will smile, make a snack and talk with them (mask coming on). And then I’ll drag my ass to my group tonight and probably spend a good deal of time crying. Tomorrow morning I am hoping I will wake up with a different outlook, but for today, which has depleted most of my energy, I am going to give myself permission to rest.

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Thinkstock photo via gpointstudio

Originally published: May 22, 2017
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