Maybe I just had to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, with being scared out of my mind, and to let go of the past like it wasn’t about me. — Mark Vonnegut, MD (from his book, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So)
That just about sums up what it’s like to have low self-esteem and to be uncomfortable in your own skin with having a history of Depression. It takes a lot of time and therapy to feel a sense of being ok with oneself, and sometimes it isn’t a consistent feeling. Having mental illness like Depression undermines everything you think you believe about yourself. It turns your world upside down. Sometimes in the midst of certain circumstances, it completely alters relationships, and can even destroy those that are too weak to withstand the emotional pain and upheaval.
So much of dealing with this illness is regaining an equilibrium. You never really go back to the way you were…it changes you too much. You have been to a dark and hollow place. It’s like being cut or burned, it leaves a scar. So the goal is to get back on your feet and be functional in a new way, not necessarily like before. Sometimes the old way of doing things wasn’t the best for you anyway.
After 15 years of dealing with this chronic illness and three major episodes, I finally feel like I am making progress on the equilibrium part. What it was I accomplished in psychotherapy the last two times I’m not sure now. I was in different points in my life, with different situational crises, so I had different things that I had to handle. Now that I’ve reached the “midlife” point, I guess I have more time to focus on myself and what I need. Boy, I sound like the typical codependent!
I know I won’t be comfortable everyday, but I’m working on it. Hope you can too.