Here are two posts about self-esteem (here and here) I’ve recently published at Health Central. “Loss of self-esteem” has become the clinical term for one of depression’s key symptoms, but it doesn’t convey much about living with the contempt I used to feel for myself, day in, day out.
One habit that was especially hard to break was the constant comparing of myself, always unfavorably, to just about anyone I met or even read about in the news. A day was filled with reminders of inadequacy because of this, but I think part of it was also envy. I’ve always felt contradictory impulses – tearing myself down but also feeling strongly competitive with other men. I could easily shift from feeling powerless to imagining myself capable of super-achievements. I suppose these are different forms of insecurity, damaged sense of self, loss of self-esteem – whatever you’d like to call it.
The other habit was lashing myself with the failures or blunders I committed each day. Of course, I could never see the positive side of anything I did when consumed by depression. I obsessed and winced over each mistake and took it as yet more proof of worthlessness. Strange how limited the mind and emotions become in this state – one answer, one judgment for everything.
In one of the Health Central posts, I describe how I’ve worked to break these two habits I lived with for so long. They still come up, but more as ghostly reminders that I can back-hand out of the way.
I hope you’ll find these posts helpful.