How do you think about yourself? Do you sometimes use phrases about yourself that actually describe mental health issues? The urge to use extreme descriptions probably comes from social media, where there’s a tendency to exaggerate, to avoid being ignored.
Maybe it is time to reflect…..
Ask yourself – would you use these terms about yourself in your mind, or in casual conversation?
“I had a breakdown.” Would a better description be that you cried for a while over something upsetting? There could be a confusion here with the expression, “I broke down in tears”. That’s a healthy reaction to something sad. An actual breakdown is much more serious and in some cases it could involve hospitalisation.
“I was depressed.” Perhaps a better way to describe your feeling would be to say that you were understandably sad about something that’d got you down, and then managed to pick yourself up and carry on with normal life fairly soon? Depression is a medical condition that lasts longer than a few hours – many people who suffer from depression do so for months or years.
“I had a panic attack.” A better way to describe this might be to say you felt stressed about a worrying situation, and wondered how you were going to deal with it? A panic attack usually leaves someone unable to manage daily life for an extended period.
It’s hard to have a balanced view and feel you’re coping, if you’re using extreme labels for normal reactions to the things life throws at us.
“I’m normally a happy, bubbly person. Being ‘down’ just isn’t me.” It may be better to think whether this really is the case? Perhaps feeling upset (one of the range of normal emotions) is something you find hard to tolerate? We all prefer being happy, but being human means feeling all sorts of different things from time to time. Now and then we all experience sadness, disappointment, anger, loneliness, grief, and other so-called ‘negative’ emotions. How would we appreciate happiness, if we never felt anything else?
A different approach to your self-talk could be to focus on your feelings in a mindful way. To find out more about Mindfulness, have a look at our leaflet: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/counselling/Mindfulness_2015.pdf
There are ‘Life Tools‘ talks on Mindfulness each term, which can help you accept your current emotion and recognise that it’ll pass – important for your wellbeing.