“I don’t know what to write. Most people who read this won’t know who I am, so why would they care about my experiences?” These are the thoughts I’m having as I write this article about anticipating failure. Ironic, don’t you think?
The term “anticipating failure” is pretty straightforward. It simply means you expect to fail. I spent many years, confident in my ability to fail. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends who have had confidence in me, and have expressed that confidence in appropriate ways. But there are many who either don’t have this support system, or they’re unable to hear the voices of support because they’re so deeply entrenched in their depressive behavior.
Our brains look out for us by warning of the natural consequences of our actions. I know that touching an electric fence is going to cause me pain, so I don’t touch electric fences. But just as the brain lowers our motivation to do harmful activities, someone suffering from the anticipation of failure may also experience lower motivation to do healthy, constructive activities, because they assume putting in effort will only lead to disappointment and emotional pain. They feel stuck, and powerless to improve their circumstances.
Perhaps the most difficult part of anticipating failure is that, in order to overcome it, you need to experience success. Success comes through effort, and a depressed person often thinks, “No matter what I do, I’m going to fail, so why try?” You can see how these thoughts lead to deeper feelings of depression. Fortunately for me and everyone else who has in the past or currently struggles with depression, this cycle can be broken and healthy brain activity restored, and it doesn’t necessarily require medication. You may just need a support system.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depressive thoughts, please don’t wait to get help. We’ll set you up with a support system of trained professionals and show you, step by step, how to address and overcome your depressive thoughts and behavior.
You’re not a broken person, and depression is not a personal flaw. Please don’t sabotage your happiness because you’re afraid of failing in your recovery.
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