Two Bad Habits
I am a woman of habits, some more destructive than others. I gave up smoking, I gave up drinking Coca-Cola, I’m trying to give up a whole bunch of other small, annoying things. Two particularly stubborn habits that I possess aren’t so obviously destructive, but they have the potential to do damage to not only myself, but to the people around me.
As always, the first step to tackling problems is to recognise them, and what better recognition that putting it on the internet for everyone to read?
Always Saying Sorry
God help if I’m ever forced to count how many times I apologise in one day. My boyfriend once challenged me to not say it for 24 hours, and I lasted a few minutes before I said “sorry”, then said “sorry” for saying “sorry”. I know that the British are lampooned for being such an over-apologetic nation, but I really do take it too far.
I apologise for a lot of things that I shouldn’t have to: someone else getting in my way, having to ask for someone’s help or for saying something irrelevant, for example. But, my bad habit has very dangerous consequences when it comes to my struggle with mental health.
I know, deep down, that I shouldn’t have to apologise for being depressed, but the words tend to slip out of my mouth before I’ve had time to process them. One of the biggest hurdles that you face when recovering from a mental breakdown is the overwhelming feeling of guilt, which leads to self-blaming and over-apologising. It’s difficult to not say “sorry” when you become aware of the trouble you are causing others. Unfortunately, after 10 months of recovery, I still find myself needlessly apologising for the effects of my depression and anxiety. What I think is the most important thing for myself to realise is that being aware of the outward effect of depression enough, and there is no need to then apologise for it. If I can recognise, then I can remedy, and alleviate the need for apologies.
Here’s another thing that quite a few people are guilty of: making assumptions. We all know the old saying, so I won’t write it for fear of making myself want to pull my own eyes out of their sockets. What makes my assuming such a bad habit is that I believe it’s stopped me from seizing opportunities, achieving goals and progressing myself. Coupled with its best friend low self-esteem, over-assumption acts as a barrier between me and the outside world. For every invite, opportunity or casual conversation, there is a non-stop dialogue of negative assumptions building up in my brain. For someone so naturally critical, I’m very easy to convince of some really ridiculous scenarios.
Making assumptions about people is bad, we all know that. Even if you are right 99% of the time, there will always be something suprising, or unresearched, that pops up to prove us wrong. In the depressed mind, everything has the potential to end negatively, so making assumptions becomes easier, and they become harder to disprove as your head is confused and foggy. Throw in a bit of social anxiety, and you are on your way to closing all the doors around you.
So, how do you stop yourself from making assumptions? You talk to people. Get out of your own head, clear your thoughts and exchange real words with real people. Don’t write anything off until you have asked questions and found out as much as possible about the situation. And of course, remember not to say sorry for asking a question.
Like a lot of the things I write about in Spectacular Views, changing these bad habits is something which is easier said than done, and I can accept that. I can’t promise that I will soon become an unapologetic, pragmatic communicator with great people skills, but I can promise that I will definitely try harder to tackle these problems, now that I’ve taken the time to recognise them.