by Andrea M. Darcy
You have a nice job, friends, money in the bank. You should be feeling great. So then why do I feel bad if my life is so good? What is the matter with me? And what can I do about it?
[Feel so bad you aren’t sure you can carry on? Book with us today, be talking to an online therapist as soon as tomorrow. And all at a price you can afford.]
Why do I feel bad all the time? Is this normal?
Many people who come to therapy don’t know what the problem is. They just know that despite their best efforts, they feel a lingering sadness or anxiety.
And a majority of these cases of ongoing mild depression are linked to one or several of the following.
1. You are ignoring your own values.
We each have a personal set of things that truly matter to us, our ‘personal values’.
If we go against these inner drives, because we want to be like our colleagues and friends, or because we feel we have to live up to the values of our parents instead? If we chase a life of stability when we believe in adventure, or of life in the public eye when we value privacy? It’s like going against a current.
We feel more and more exhausted and less and less ourselves. Not surprising, when we are betraying ourselves on a daily basis. In fact ignoring personal values is behind many a midlife crisis and nervous breakdown.
2. You are actually lonely.
Loneliness is not about how many people are or are not in our life. It’s not about how perfect our partner seems. It is about how many people we are actually connecting with.
Connection means we are able to be ourselves around others, and to allow others to be themselves around us.
Having friends and even a big family does not protect you from feeling lonely, if nobody actually sees and accepts the real you.
3. You have past trauma that is surfacing.
Do you have a funny feeling that a childhood experience might have been worse than you have let yourself consider? Or is there a part of your childhood that has always been a bit hazy?
When repressed memories and repressed emotions are triggered, we can suddenly feel bad all the time. Your emotions will be unreasonable, you may start behaving oddly. You can even have strange dreams or waking visuals.
It doesn’t have to be something big that triggers childhood trauma. Sometimes it’s as simple as your boss yelling at you, or a partner telling you they love you for the first time.
4. Your childhood didn’t prepare you for adulthood as much as you’d like to believe.
Sure, your childhood looked great. Maybe you even had parents who never divorced, a nice house, all the trappings of a ‘happy family’.
Except behind closed doors one or both of your parents were unable to give you the love and unconditional acceptance a child needs.
We require a caregiver who not only takes care of us in practical ways, but whom we can rely on to be there for us when we need them emotionally.
Without that, we end up anxious adults with attachment issues and low self-esteem. Life never feels safe or certain.
5. You were never taught how to be happy.
Many of us are not only not taught how to be content, we are carefully and methodically taught how to be miserable!
This can take the form of parents with very negative beliefs about others and the world. In their efforts to teach you to ‘stay safe’, they actually teach you to expect the worse.
Or perhaps you grew up in a community or culture that was sadly victimised. This can mean that as an adult, you still always feel a victim. And who can feel happy if they feel the world is against them?
For some of us there was a sibling, parent, family member or even teacher that constantly criticised us. Their voice becomes your own inner voice, so that even surrounded by good things you tell yourself you don’t deserve it.
What if I was just born this way?
Is it possible there is just ‘something wrong with you’? That you are destined, so to speak, to never feel happy, no matter how good life gets?
We’d recommend you take a look at the above points above first. Find some support to work through them, such as a professional counsellor or psychotherapist.
Yes, some of us might be born more likely to be sensitive than others, or more inclined to have mental health issues. But research shows that support and good talk therapy help, even if you end up being diagnosed with a personality disorder.
Harley therapy connects you with some of London’s top therapists who can help you start to feel better about yourself and your life. Not in London? Use our booking platform to find therapists across the UK, or book an online therapist no matter where you are in the world.
Andrea M. Darcy is the founding editor of this blog. A popular mental health writer, she coaches people on how to find the right type of therapy for them.