I’ve heard a lot of people, particularly those with depression, say that everyone else has it sorted except them. Of course those with severe mental health issues are truly far worse off than those without such conditions, however comparing oneself in this way is likely to increase feelings of doom or inadequacy.
It’s a classic cognitive error (of the CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy school of thought).
Noone has it totally sorted and we all suffer from the human condition. Indeed I believe that most mental health disorders are magnified versions of parts of the human condition.
Here’s some reasons why this classic thought of everyone else being sorted is false:
• When we go out and about we won’t see those that are too depressed or ill to come out that day, we only see people with severe mental health issues on their better days
• We can’t read the minds of others, we can only make assumptions. We might see someone in a supermarket, who lost their partner last week. They still need to buy food but they’re unlikely to be feeling great, and yet when they go out they might not show their pain in an obvious way
• In Britain, and I’m sure other countries too, we don’t tend to speak about our pain to strangers or often even those we know quite well. This cultural habit will distort our perception about how well everyone else is doing.
I’ve been surprised in the past few years how, once I opened up to others about my struggles, others also would open up. Indeed almost everyone will open up in this way. This honest way of communicating can be very nurturing and healing for everyone, although offloading too much at once might be too much for some.
So next time you think everyone else has it sorted, remember that it’s almost certainly untrue.