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Whack-a-Mole Self-Esteem

Have you ever had one of those weeks or months when it seems nothing goes right? No matter what you do, failure is just around the corner? Nobody seems to care about you until you begin making some improvement and they come running over to push you back down — like a life-sized game of whack-a-mole..
Does this ever describe you? It certainly describes me.

I struggle with extremely low self-esteem and subsequent depression. As a result of this, I put too much emphasis on what others think about me. In fact, while writing this, I’m concerned that you, dear reader, will think even less of me now that I have disclosed this dark secret. Nevertheless: I feel it important to share this in case it might help someone else.

The recent prominence in the media regarding celebrity suicide has brought about an increased awareness of the effects of depression. The truth is, many who are depressed fail to demonstrate any symptoms publicly. In fact, many of the funniest or seemingly happiest people we know suffer extreme forms of depression.

The fact is, depression is a disease … it’s not something somebody can just “snap out of”. Nobody intentionally chooses to become depressed. It occurs over time and governs huge portions of one’s life. Like cancer, depression attaches itself to other negative factors (negative self-image, low self-esteem, withdrawal from friends, reckless behavior, etc.) which increases the negative effects in the individual until life becomes unbearable and there seems to be no relief available.

I know this post doesn’t sound very positive — after all, the name of the site is Turning Positive. The fact is, sometimes life has some negative factors and we simply have to face them and deal with them. There is a positive aspect though even with this subject. …there are caring people available to help. Counselors can work with us to help us understand ways we can cope with these feelings and even work to improve our self-image. Additionally, if a chemical imbalance exists, physicians can work with you to provide the appropriate materials to help correct the imbalance.

It is important to realize that the depression and the associated issues didn’t occur overnight and we shouldn’t expect an immediate cure. Rather, healing from depression is a journey. For my journey, I find that focusing on my faith helps me through these times. The scriptures describe God as ”a friend who is closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). That is very comforting when I feel abandoned.

As with this week, just when I’m starting to feel a little better about myself, something happens to knock me down and shatters my self-image. When that occurs, I begin feeling like I am drowning in an ocean of self-contempt and while there are many people watching me be swept away in the current, nobody is interested in throwing me a lifeline. This, of course, is irrational as there are people who care – my emotions simply cloud this fact.  Indeed, my progress can often be defined with the lyrics of the old country and western song that describes someone who takes “one step forward and two steps back.” However, as long as I keep getting back up and continue to put one foot in front of the other, I figure I’m making progress.

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