Updated: Aug 20, 2021
“You are not the problem, the problem is the problem.”
It can be a difficult task to separate ourselves from our struggles, especially when they feel all encompassing. When anxiety, depression, guilt, or grief have become a part of our everyday life and our everyday narrative, it can feel impossible to see them as separate from us, as something we are experiencing, not a piece of our identity. When our struggles become enmeshed in who we are, rather than something we are currently experiencing, it can be easy to lose sight of how to deal with those struggles. It can feel as though you have become depression, anxiety, guilt, or grief themselves, but I can promise you that you are not the problem, the problem is the problem.
Don’t’ get me wrong, I know that this idea of separating from our problems is easier said than done. The way mental health is discussed makes it even tougher. The statements we make often go something like “I am depressed,” “I am anxious,” and the questions often go something like, “how long have you had depression/anxiety/enter any mental health issue here,” as if we own them and they are a part of us forever. There is little room to imagine ourselves without them. What if we changed this narrative? What if we talked about these mental health issues as if they were fellow travellers, sometimes with us for a while, sometimes just here for a short visit? What if we discussed them as separate entities? Let me give you an example using depression.
Depression can feel all-encompassing and overwhelming for those who are experiencing it. It is a tough one to separate from because it can feel as though it has made a home deep within us and we cannot seem to find the door to it. The way we discuss depression often reinforces this, but we can begin to change that narrative by giving depression an identity outside of us. For example, naming it as “the grey cloud.” This way the narrative changes; it becomes, “the grey cloud is around today, and has been following me for a while.” This opens the door to allow us to separate who we are from what we are experiencing in that moment and can make it feel less overwhelming. It gives us more power over the experience and makes it a little easier to take steps towards making the cloud dissipate.
If you think this could be a useful tool in your own life or you’d like to hear more about it, you can book an appointment or a free consultation.