… that one of the reasons that clinically depressed folks and folks with Borderline Personality Disorder suffer from such low self-esteem (with attendant anxiety) is because, like most human beings, we tend to assume that everybody else’s interior life is more or less identical to our own. Therefore we assume that other people also have to master intense anxiety in order to call up a utility or go out to get groceries, and that other people spend most of their time agonizing about where they stand in relation to other people, or fighting to get up the courage to attend a doctor’s appointment or accept an invitation to a party.
Therefore, when we see those other people doing all those things with apparently little effort we think: Wow, look at how immensely brave they are! Look at how they jump over those hurdles without even pausing for breath! Why can’t I do that too? Why can’t I be brave enough?
And then we feel like terrible failures, and even sadder than we did before.
It seldom occurs to us that other people, people who aren’t depressed or dealing with BPD, aren’t actually crippled by the weight of sadness and worry and self-loathing that we carry on our shoulders every day.
And therefore it seldom occurs to us that we are actually very brave and strong and accomplished for managing to move at all, much less to move in ways that approach the effectiveness of the non-depressed.
We assume that everybody else has clipped wings just like us, and is managing to fly anyway.
We almost never say to ourselves, I am braver and stronger than most people I know! And I can be proud of that!
Maybe we need to shift our frame of reference to understand the amazing extent of what we’ve managed to accomplish, just by continuing to exist.