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Depression and Why I Feel Like a Failure

I’ve been having a very hard time making myself take a shower. There is nothing like knowing that your hair needs to be washed, trying to make that happen all day, and then realizing, at bedtime, that you’ve failed, again. Now, as I’ve remarked earlier, we don’t want to shower when we’re sick and this is just a part of the grand disease known as depression. I get that. But somehow, that doesn’t make me feel like any less of a failure.

It’s the Little Things that Seem Overwhelming with Depression

Depression makes you feel overwhelmed when trying to do little things like take a shower. This can make you feel like a failure. Here's why you're not a failure.I have problems with lots of the little things. Opening mail, for example. You would think that tearing tiny pieces of paper and reading letters would be relatively simple, but it’s not – at least, not for me. For me, I just think about the mail and I get overwhelmed. I actually have to talk myself into actually opening little envelopes.

And while this could be driven by, say, an inability to pay bills, for me, it’s not. For me it’s just mail, in and of itself. For whatever reason, I just can’t do it.

Feeling Like a Failure at the End of the Day

And I know I need to do things like shower and open the mail. These are normal, everyday activities that need doing. But so often, at the end of the day I find that I haven’t done them – again. And this knowledge of failing at the little things is so depressing. I tend to beat myself up about it.

It’s a Symptom of Depression

As I mentioned earlier, feeling overwhelmed by even tiny things is one of the things that happens to people who are depressed. I totally get this. But this doesn’t make me feel any better. This intellectual knowledge doesn’t seem to seep into my emotional center. It doesn’t seem to chip away at the feelings of failure. But then, I find so often that intellectual knowledge is incapable of beating something as powerful as depression.

Don’t Let Depression Remove Your Compassion

What I think I need to remember, though, is that if I were someone else, I would feel compassion for that person. I would feel like being kind to that person. I wouldn’t consider them a failure. I would consider them someone with an illness that needed help.

And if I would exhibit that compassion and kindness for someone else, then I deserve it too. I need to not let my depression destroy my compassion – for myself. Because these problems really aren’t my fault. They’re an illness. And not overcoming a particular illness symptom on one day isn’t failure – it’s just admitting that the disease was more powerful than me – on that day. Tomorrow is another day. And with my compassion, I can view that day as a fresh slate onto which to write success.

3 Tips for Getting Things Done Even When Depressed


You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or Google+ or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

43 thoughts on “Depression and Why I Feel Like a Failure”

  1. What a feeling hearing that I’m not crazy. I was diagnosed years ago with depression but in the past five years have had the added stress of caring for my husband and grandmother. I hide my emotions from all but 2 friends that listen to parts of my feelings. But just recently have begun feeling totally overwhelmed by everything, especially simple self care issues. I try writing lists so it is not just in my head. But then looking at the list gets me down. And I felt totally alone and crazy for feeling this way. Someone sent me a link to this site to help her explain how she felt. It was an eyeopener for me. It will help us both.

  2. And I thought I was one of a few that had a tough time with easy things. I went to behavioral health professionals years ago and received medication and counseling on what was diagnosed as depression. From these comments, I know that I am still dealing with depression. I still avoid doing the simplest of things because I see them as overwhelming. For example, I would leave a sock on the floor for days because I saw it as a burden just to pick it up. Let’s not talk about the bathroom project that is approaching 18 months. I’ve found that the book, Psycho Cybernetics, written by Matthew Maltz, has provided at least a plan, if followed, to improve one’s personal impression of them-self. Again, a good source of information if I can get past the feeling of being overwhelmed to improving my situation. It seems that I am my own worst enemy.

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