One thing I have noticed with an increase of mental health issues among my close friends, and my own rise in anxiety and stress levels, is how it can seem so easy to give the same advice as you need to take yourself to others.
Perhaps it’s trying to convince someone that they need to not worry about something, or trying to show them that they can do something.
I’m not saying it’s easy to get these ideas successfully across by any means.
However a lot of the time if you really sit back and think about these things, the ideas shared between friends with mental health issues are really not too dissimilar.
The other day, I had a verbal assessment at work as part of my training.
These are the ones I dread the most as they require knowledge and procedure recall without notes and I much prefer the written stuff that I know I can work on and get right.
Very anxiety inducing when combined with the one on one/two social interaction.
Verbalising ideas and understanding has always been difficult.
Throughout I was incredibly nervous, fidgeting and struggling to really get the words across that I thought explained by understanding of the subject.
However I was told that I had passed and received a glowing result in the assessment review.
After this I told my friend that I didn’t feel like I deserved it, that I hadn’t done well enough to get the result I did because I had been so nervous and not felt I’d answered the questions as well as I could have.
A few months earlier that same friend had passed an assessment with an ok, but not great, passing grade.
I told her to take it and run given how she had struggled for marks with some previous assessment, even though her work was of a good standard.
Roll on a few months and it was roles reversed. I should take it and run, even though I didn’t at the time feel like I deserved it.
I had been so nervous in the run up to this assessment.
Friends were trying to tell me to keep calm but yet it was not really working.
However in the same week I have been trying to keep another friend calm ahead of a job interview further away than she would have liked to be from her current home.
It’s the same in loads of other situations for me, where I end up being incredibly nervous as a result of a lack of self-confidence and a great ability to be stressed and nervous as a result of upcoming social interaction.
My friends are amazingly supportive and will tell me over and over that it will be ok, but it’s so hard to believe because you convince yourself it’s just going to be awful.
Trying to instil positive thinking into others while not being able to take the advice in reverse yourself seems to be a key feature of stress and other mental health problems.
The lack of belief in yourself, but with a belief you can say something to help them, may seem hypocritical but I think that maybe there is a further twisted logic that if you can help your friends overcome something, then maybe you can be inspired to do the same through their actions.
It could also just be a desire that despite the fact you may not like yourself , you still have something in life to work with, because love your friends and want to help them because you believe that they have a greater ability to overcome their issues than you do.
I was inspired to write this piece following the recent post on this blog about positive thinking.
The two things seem to tie in to become a common inability to overcome your own anxieties.
Perhaps we all need to be a bit more positive, and take the advice we would give to friends.
In a way it is a bit helpful to know that you aren’t the only one who does it either.