Kindness · Mental health

Take Your Judgmental Eyes Off Me, You. I Mean… Me.

This morning I wrote a blog post, an update on how my monster is evolving. Then I deleted it all by mistake. When I went through my drafts I found this post instead, written a couple of weeks ago as an update of this other one. It’s not really the best thing I have ever written, but still having troubles with my anxiety I just can’t focus enough to edit it properly. In the end, I thought I’d publish it anyway, hoping it might be of help to someone because of its content, regardless of its form.

It took me a while to realise that the cause of my anxiety was – well – me. We, people suffering from mental disorders, have the tendency to blame ourselves for our sufferings – not out of self-pity, but because we don’t know where else to find the source of our problems, “so it must be me”. Therefore, I’m going to articulate better.

After years of panic and anxiety disorder, I have learnt that anxiety does not just knock on your door uninvited: even though it wasn’t you to invite it, somebody – or something – did. It can be another person in your life, something that is bothering you, an emotion you have not elaborated properly, a situation you don’t know how to fix. And this is why I was looking out there for a possible reason that I could work on to send anxiety away.

Surely I had my personal problems in the last months, and certainly I’m very disoriented now that my bachelor degree is over, I’m still trained for no job and don’t know which direction to give to my life. These reasons are all contributing to my anxiety in a considerable amount. But why would this anxiety prevent me from going out?

It’s not the anxiety preventing me from going out. It’s my own gaze on myself that is preventing me from going out. My judgmental gaze, which decided that I’m not coping well enough with my difficulties. My strict eye, which considers me too clumsy and too small to walk around. My hard look, which thinks I’m too ridiculous in my attempts to even try to chase my ambitions.

It’s very easy to feel small when your goals are big. You see this long uphill road in front of you, you are only in the beginning and you have no idea how you will climb that mountain. You see your dream, so big and shiny, but no bridge that leads you up to it. You don’t know where to start. Moreover, through the Internet you can see all these people who made it, you see what they have accomplished and you look at their work, which is amazing of course, and you think you’ll never get there. You compare yourself to them and feel overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t?

The cause for the discomfort and awkwardness I feel every time I go out is actually my own self-judgment, and I have to let it go. It’s very common to be hard on yourself sometimes, but when this inclination becomes so strong that you don’t even realise you are doing it anymore, that is too much. When you are convinced that what you see through extremely strict eyes is the truth, that is the time to stop. Sure, you’ll ask, how can you stop if you don’t even realise you are doing it?

Well, I’ll tell you. When you are spending your days in bed thinking “you can’t achieve much anyway”, when you are crying at least once a day out of some kind of frustration, when you are giving up on your dreams because they seem too big for you, trust me, you are being too hard on yourself, and it’s time to stop.


4 thoughts on “Take Your Judgmental Eyes Off Me, You. I Mean… Me.

  1. I found your post to be very insightful and one that could be very useful to others who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks with depression. Fortunately I do not suffer from these problems currently but did at one time, although for me it was much milder and was related to the death of a good friend. I do know people who do suffer more seriously and I think that your courageous effort to look straight at the causes in such a public way can do wonders for others. I think that you’re on to something when you explore yourself as being a possible cause, the self-critical judging self. I do feel that self-criticism is very important to growth but it must be a healthy and therefore kind introspection that doesn’t severely restrict or even cripple a person’s life. The goal of self-criticism should be to make us better at who we are and what we do but understanding that we are constantly evolving, maybe even by going forwards and then backwards. Perfection doesn’t exist and cannot be the objective. Creating oneself almost as a unique piece of art with all of its complexity and simplicity, its flaws, its beauty and lack thereof (I won’t say ugliness) is what is important. I think that practicing positive thoughts is useful. If a beautiful woman tells herself constantly that she is not beautiful, or if she is constantly told by others that she isn’t beautiful, or not intelligent, then she’ll possibly end up believing that she isn’t beautiful or that she is not intelligent. Strength comes from seeing the world with accuracy and relying on one’s own truths rather than depending upon the versions of others. It’s a tough world and it’s not easy for students these days to find their niche after graduation. It’s okay to not know the road(s) you want to go down. With patience and small steps, confidence will build and opportunities will present themselves. I think that you are right – that constantly looking upward toward the mountain peaks rather than focusing on small, measurable gains can be daunting. But you can gain a lot of confidence with small steps – small steps toward alleviating anxiety and panic attacks, toward better nutrition and taking care of your health and small steps toward achieving goals that you have set. Being patient, focused, flexible and cheerful (the last even if you must fake it a little as a kind of practice) can only help. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I’m glad I could be useful. I understand how difficult it is to connect to strangers about something so personal but I’m glad you did. You’re so brave and that, to me, shows internal strength. As the old saying goes, ‘Keep your chin up!’

        Liked by 1 person

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