I’ve spent all weekend procrastinating. I’ve consulted my list of blog topics which grows everyday and normally never fails to inspire me. I’ve read other blogs, spent hours on Twitter talking to strangers, been to see not one but two movies at the cinema and watched about another five on Netflix to try and muster up some creativity to write today’s blog post.
To be honest I’ve been going through a low point with my depression. There has been a lot of mindless sobbing and questioning the point of it all; not exactly what I had planned this weekend but when you deal with mental illness you don’t always get to choose what you do with your life – it controls you.
I realised as my husband was comforting me that all the things he tells me are things that I myself have told to others. On Friday I even posted a blog about Self-care tips for when you’re depressed but I could barely bring myself to read it in my state never mind carry out some of the steps I suggested. So when it came to writing a blog today I thought, why do we love giving advice but never take it ourselves?
Self-reflection takes over
Many of my blog posts on here take the form of advice. I try not to sound like a know-it-all (I certainly don’t know much) and purely draw on my own experiences in the hope that maybe some of it is transferable to my readers.
As a sufferer of anxiety and depression I benefit from the symptom of over-thinking absolutely everything, questioning my own behaviours and looking for unhealthy patterns in my life. I believe the introspective life I lead can be detrimental to my happiness a lot of the time, as I scrutinize every decision I’ve ever made and see the worst in every situation, but it has also led me to notice some progress made in the long run – which led me to write many of the advice posts I’ve shared on here.
Do I just talk a good game?
I find sharing my thoughts and advice therapeutic I suppose. Maybe we all do – that’s why they say talking is the best therapy, right? I get to offload all of my baggage, toss it into a blog post, organise and edit it just so, to make enough sense and maybe offer a lesson learned.
I click ‘publish’ and for a brief few hours my mind is clear. My clustered musings are set free to the world, awaiting a response. When I get comments from readers saying that they identify with what I’ve written, I don’t feel at all qualified to have given them tips on how to ‘become a better person’, or ‘how to improve your body image’. I just feel content in the knowledge that someone out there is questioning themselves and their abilities too. I think I like giving advice because it reminds me that everyone needs advice. I’m not alone in feeling like I don’t have any of this shit figured out – but at least I’m trying.
When it comes to taking my own advice, well….
When I am feeling as much self-loathing as I’ve felt towards myself these past few days, why on earth would I read my own words with any confidence? When I wrote those words on self-care I was feeling empowered. I felt like I was over the hump of my last depressive period and I was ready yet again, to stand on my self-appointed soap box and preach to my listeners.
My blog had the most traffic last month it’s ever had, I was full of confidence that my words had value and my little nook on the internet was worth fighting for. Cut to 24 hours later and I’m considering deleting all of my recent posts and putting a stop to all mental health chat on my blog because I have no right to speak a word online until I sort myself out. My own advice looks false, made up and as though it was written by someone else entirely. The person I am today would never have the strength to think that positively.
But I think that’s the point. I can’t take my own advice because when I really need it is when I’m doubting myself the most. We never praise ourselves. We never highlight our best parts when we look in the mirror. When we score 80% on a test we always focus on the 20% we didn’t get right. I’m human and I’ve been trained to put myself down.
So when it comes to taking advice, when I need it most I am weak. I’m too deflated to look within myself and that’s normal. When I’m strong again I’ll be there for everyone else who’s struggling but until then I’ll settle for anyone’s advice but my own.