Why people who suffer from depression have a problem with 'letting in' praise & how it affects them
Exposing more of my story on social media recently has caused quite a stir, with several different people reaching out to me.
The majority of them are in desperation themselves or they are looking for advice and support for someone who is, because the current 'support' out there in the 'system' is so substandard that it is failing people time and again and people have no clue where to turn.
The slight problem in all of this is that there is no way that I am going to be able to help everyone.
If I were to try I would a. never be off the phone EVER, and b. would become ill again myself from exhaustion and too much exposure to suffering and pain.
Unfortunately, although I am one of the best people to turn to when someone's in crisis (because of my ridiculous amount of lived experience of bipolar and depression HELL), speaking to people in severe pain takes me back to a place that I never want to revisit and this poses a problem...
I knew all of these things as soon as I decided to expose my story; I knew that I wouldn't be able to help the number of people that I needed to OR be able to handle the expenditure of emotional energy or proximity to the subject matter either.
That's why I painstakingly wrote the whole thing down! Will someone please, please publish my frickin' books. Seriously, before this whole thing makes me ill again and I have to do too much, such as engage with things like social media which I know are no good for my mental health!
Anyway, I know that I have to prioritise my own health first otherwise I will not be able to help anyone so I am limiting the number of people I help, and am making sure they know that I am a qualified therapist so they really need to book in through the form on the website rather than hunting down my email and phone number!
Sorry for digressing this morning but I felt I needed to get that out!
The real point of today's post is to talk about letting-in praise and being open to 'self-praise' both of which are extremely important.
The reason that this has come to mind is in fact because of a post on social media; it's not always a bad thing to be on these platforms as positive things do often happen on them, and this was one of those times.
It's really about 'responsible usage' like anything else in life - I think I'll save that one for another post!
Anyway, I put a post up yesterday about my renewed love of horses since recovering from horrendous depression and it's sparked the interest of people who have all started commenting.
Two friends complimented me massively yesterday and it made me realise something about myself which is important to note for other sufferers too.
They both basically said that I was 'one of the most talented riders they'd known' and that 'they'd always enjoyed watching me ride'.
Massive praise indeed, and my initial reaction was to say 'oh no don't be silly!'
BUT then I remembered something important.
People who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses have a massive aversion to letting-in praise and we have to consciously allow ourselves to do this.
It's all comes from the fact that we spend so much of our lives infected by depression which is telling us that we are 'a pathetic pile of pointless, waste of space CRAP'.
This means that when someone praises us we simply don't believe it.
WELL ENOUGH of that!
I am letting-in this praise!
Thank you to the girls who said these lovely things to me on Facebook; I was (and am still) a great rider, who did great things, and I am no longer ashamed or too modest to say so!
I will even go as far to say that I am proud of the fact that I won two medals for my country, rode at the highest levels, and achieved so much so early-on before bipolar ripped it all away!
But I have to say that the thing I am most proud of is still being alive.
I still have no idea how I made it through the savage onslaught of severe type 1 bipolar disorder.
No idea at all.
It was so utterly horrific and so indescribably painful that I still don't really believe I should have survived it.
But again - because I am now a different person - I am going to SELF-PRAISE for this too!
I admire, respect and am immensely proud of the resilience, determination, persistence, patience and downright stubbornness I mustered up to survive the horrors of mental illness over the last 20 years!
This is not arrogance, and I have had to learn that it is not arrogance.
None of this came naturally to me before.
Depression (and I suppose my character too) told me that pride, vanity, and boasting were bad (which they kind of are) BUT there is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements and patting yourself on the back every now and then - in fact - it's HEALTHY!
Learning this lesson was one very small part of a massive jigsaw which I had to put back together in order to survive, recover, and become this 'new improved' version of myself that exists today.
This is all detailed in my book which they need to publish NOW so that I can move on and really start enjoying my life!
Thanks for reading,
Speak to you soon,