Sometimes you’re dealing with a temporary negative feeling.
And sometimes you’re dealing with a mental health challenge that is more serious.
How do you know the difference?
This is not a medical newsletter.
This a newsletter about making mental health more accessible.
But as a person who has dealt with mental health issues his whole life, and as a master’s-level social worker, here’s the conventional wisdom:
Is it affecting you from living your normal, everyday life?
I have obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
I take medicine for a mild form of OCD, and it has really helped me.
And this is coming from someone who wasn’t a big believer in medicine.
That is, until I started taking something that helped keep intrusive thoughts and obsessive actions at bay.
I’ll give you an example of what I mean with the “I’m OK” / “I’m struggling” dichotomy.
I love to read. I read all the time.
But there was a point in my life when I was really struggling.
I latched onto the idea that I needed to read as much as possible. I couldn’t stop.
I would fly through one book only so I could get to the next one and cross another book off my list. I felt that I didn’t have enough time to read everything I wanted to read.
It was affecting my daily quality of living.
My need to do as much as possible was affecting my life in a negative way. It was causing huge amounts of anxiety.
This kind of situation is different from, say, passing anxiety I might get when I need to prepare for a presentation.
With the presentation, I know I’m capable, but it’s normal to feel some anxiety about it because I want it to go well.
This is the difference I’m talking about. One situation was debilitating. The other is a common occurrence that most people experience.
To recap, you’re not going to feel great all the time.
A lot of your negative feelings will be part of everyday living.
But the questions to consider are these:
Are your current actions/behaviors/thoughts/whatever preventing me from enjoying my normal routines?
From participating in your life tasks and relationships?