HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?
Sometimes we feel as though things just aren’t right emotionally but we can’t put our finger on the problem. We can’t explain what exactly is wrong. It’s often difficult to peel back the layers of our own emotions to find out the answer to what is wrong with me? There may be many overlapping issues, or there may be one core problem.
An issue may be current or have been with us, unknown, for years. The trouble is, if we can’t figure out what the problem is then we will struggle to find a solution – we’ll find it very difficult to resolve our issue. This is where a professional counsellor or therapist can be invaluable.
Counsellors are used to clients visiting them who can’t actually pinpoint their own problem. A large part of the counsellor’s role is to help you to uncover the issues at the heart of your problem, rather like uncovering the layers of an onion. With care and time they help you to find what is at the heart of your distress and unhappiness.
While going to a professional can really help move things forward quickly, this may not be an option for you. Knowing this, here at Harley Therapy, part of our mission is to offer counselling information and self-help guides to help you with coping skills and tools to manage your life. As there are some core themes which therapists see frequently, if you’re struggling to figure out why you don’t feel good about your life, if the question ‘what is wrong with me’ is constantly running through your head, maybe you can see if any of these issues below strike a cord with you.
PROBLEMS WITH SELF-ESTEEM
How we see and value ourselves – our self-esteem – is crucial to all aspects of our lives. How do you see yourself? Can you see the good inside of yourself, that you are a valuable and worthy person, or do you think negatively about yourself? It can be very useful to find a trusted friend and ask them how they see you – it can be revelatory. Whereas you see yourself as inefficient, they may show you how effective they think you are. While you are worried about how you appear physically, they may well be surprised by this and hold a different mirror up to you.
Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter how many people admire you or say you are clever or talented unless you believe it. Unless this is how you see yourself, your self-esteem will be negatively affected.
If you’ve identified that you do have problems with your self-esteem then maybe it is time to consider doing something about it. The vital thing to realise is that each of us has innate value and it’s important to begin to challenge any beliefs that you hold which are untrue – these negative, inaccurate beliefs are often at the root of self-esteem problems. This article on analysing your core beliefs will help guide you through this process.
GRIEF, LOSS, AND UNRESOLVED ISSUES
When we experience grief and loss, be it through a death, loss of a relationship or friendship, loss of health or a job, we can have problems coping with it. One of the most important ways to cope with grief and loss is to talk about our loss. Perhaps you’ve struggled with that? Maybe there is no-one around to offer you support or perhaps you’ve found that just keeping things to yourself enables you to function in a better way.
The difficulty is the feelings that come with grief and loss really do need to be expressed in some form: written, spoken, drawn, sung – any expression is valuable. It is in this expression that we manage to assimilate the loss into our lives. Without this, feelings can become trapped inside of us and cause deep unhappiness and sadness. This can continue for years. Losses can accumulate and when we have never truly expressed our feelings our grief can be trapped within us, unresolved. This can then cause deep unhappiness.
Consider your own life. Have you had losses that you haven’t been able to share with others and talk about? Have you ‘soldiered on’ rather than tell others how you truly feel? If this is the case then part of your unhappiness could be resulting from unexpressed grief.
Try reading this valuable article showing the all-encompassing symptoms many bereaved people encounter. Maybe you are suffering from some of these things? If you cannot get to a therapist remember that you can always try to look for some support from a voluntary organization – such as CRUSE, who specialise in helping those who have been bereaved. You need not struggle on alone. Also, when trying to process feelings on grief, think about writing some things down, perhaps starting a journal. It can be extremely valuable to write out your pain. Begin to gently explore your feelings and see if you can work through any unresolved emotions.
Could you be depressed? If you’re struggling to find pleasure in your life and feel weighted down by your emotions you may be struggling with depression. Our Depression: A Help Guide will allow you to analyse your own situation and see if this could be contributing to your unhappiness. There are so many myths in the media about depression and these can lead to high levels of misunderstanding about what depression is and, importantly, what it is not. Seven common misunderstandings explodes some of these myths. See if you hold any of these myths to be true – could any of these thoughts be stopping you from getting the help you need?
Depression, like any illness, exists across a spectrum from mild up to extremely severe and life threatening. Sometimes we think depression is about a complete inability to function – this article on walking depression shows this is not the case. You could be existing within your life, working and caring for your family but still have depression. At the more severe end, if you begin to have suicidal thoughts then it’s essential to reach out to someone: your GP, The Samaritans, or a trusted friend.
This is not a time to try to manage alone. There is help available and however bleak things look at the moment, there is a path out of your despair. The key is to ask for help when you need it – this short BBC Interview with Harley Therapy’s Clinical Director and Psychotherapist Sheri Jacobson. highlights that it takes strength to ask for help, not weakness.
ANXIETY RELATED PROBLEMS
Life is so busy, stress is a daily occurrence and anxiety is often a by-product of these problems. At the heart of anxiety is fear. Fear of being able to cope, fear of the unknown and fear of uncertainty. Anxiety can reveal itself in many different ways: panic attacks, trouble in crowds, trouble leaving home, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour. Anxiety is a huge issue within our lives. Are you struggling with any of these problems? When anxiety takes hold it really often does require professional anxiety counselling, so if you feel you are struggling with these difficult issues do contact your doctor and they may well be able to refer you to a counsellor. If this is not an option, then you can contact the voluntary organisation Anxiety UK which has some invaluable resources and help available.
An excellent measure to help with anxious thoughts and feelings is relaxation and breathing. You could try this quick and easy de-stressing exercise: a mindfulness relaxation break, and consider making focused meditative breathing a part of your life. We also have self-help articles and guides on PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Phobias and Hoarding, which offer specific help for each of these anxiety disorders.
Anxiety can limit your life to an unbearable level. But anxiety only has the power over you that you allow it. Anxiety needs to be challenged or it will overwhelm and consume you. If you can tackle it, take measures to begin to control it, then your life can and will become more manageable.
FINDING YOUR WAY BACK TO EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Self-esteem issues, grief and loss, depression and anxiety are just a few of the common reasons people have therapy. If you’re not able to get to a therapist then you need to be your own detective to try to get to the root of your problems. This can be a difficult journey but with an open mind and some good guidance you can begin to explore how you’re feeling. Allow yourself this space and don’t be afraid of what you’ll find within your own mind. Find some way to express yourself – such as journaling – and allow yourself to reflect on your issues. In doing this, you may be able to resolve for yourself what is wrong and slowly find your way back to emotional health.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
Most importantly, let us know if there are issues you’d like us to write about. We aim to continue demystifying therapy and mental health problems, making it easier for all of us to seek and get the help that we need.
Please do let us know if there are issues you would like our therapists to talk and write about – you can leave comments below.
© 2014 Ruth Nina Welsh – Be Your Own Counsellor & Coach