Are you secretly worried there is something very wrong with you? And you don't know what to think about it? Or where to turn?
The idea that there are perfect, happy, ‘normal’ people out there is actually a myth. Everyone has their own challenges, even if they don’t talk about them.
Yes, some of us experience things in life that mean we struggle more than others. Or perhaps since adolescence we seem to just think differently then everyone.
But this doesn't mean there is something ‘wrong’ with you. You are just different to some people you know. Your 'normal' isn't theirs, and that's okay.
So why are you walking around feeling like there is something wrong with you? Let’s look at key psychological factors that can leave you feeling flawed.
Is there a voice in your head constantly telling you are worthless, flawed, no good?
Negative thoughts are just thoughts, often far from reality and not true at all. This exaggarated way of thinking can be something we learned when growing up. Perhaps we had a caregiver or teacher who shamed or criticised us, and we internalised it.
Good news - thinking can be changed. Permanently. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is designed to help you finally gain control of your thoughts and learn balanced thinking instead.
Negative thoughts are a sign you also have negative ‘core beliefs’, deeply buried assumptions you have made about the world and now mistake as fact. These beliefs hide out in your unconscious and drive each decision you make, so you create a reality that 'proves' your negative beliefs true. It's a vicious cycle.
So why would you have negative thinking and core beliefs? A common culprit is childhood trauma. This is not always as obvious as physical or sexual abuse. It can include things like emotional abuse, neglect, or having to deal with a sick parent.
Childhood trauma can leave you feeling so flawed and different you feel hopeless. But statistics show that many of us experience trauma. It's just that we don't talk enough about it.
A therapy like CBT or eye movement de-sensititsation and reprogramming (EMDR) can help you stabilise emotionally before you try a more in-depth therapy that might 'trigger' you otherwise.
Depression sees us regretting the past and believing nothing good will come in the future. It also leaves us feeling like a monster nobody wants to know or be around.
If you want to deal with your depression but aren’t ready talk about your past, try a round of CBT therapy or person-centred therapy. Actually want to deep dive and get over your past? Psychodynamic therapy sees you face up to your childhood.
Being on the autism spectrum can mean you feel like everyone else naturally understands some social code that you just don't. Or that you live in a sensory world that people don't understand or respect. Learning how to tell others the way you experience things can mean that you feel more accepted and understood.
Yes, Adult ADHD leaves you distracted, hyper, or spaced out, and also interrupting people. But one lesser talked about result is that you can feel a bit like a social pariah. You try to be calm and focused, but instead you feel like you scare people off or upset them. A therapist who works with ADHD can help you find new ways to cope in social settings.
Do you feel there is something wrong with you because, try as you might, you just seem to think and act totally different than other people? And you can’t understand at all why they say and do the things they do?
You might have what is called a personality disorder. It means that your brain naturally has a different perspective and has been like that since at least adolescence. A therapist can help you to understand how you think versus how other people think, and can help you learn how to get along with others.