Your Self-Concept Is Out of Date

For those of you who follow this blog, bless you. I have been quite busy, but have a backlog of topics that I hope to discuss. One really interesting one is a somewhat technical article on the difference between grief, complicated grief, and depression. Until I read it, I was in disagreement with the idea put forth in DSM 5 that depression can be diagnosed very soon after bereavement. After reading this article, I’m much more on board with the idea, and in fact was talking with a client– who was very wise about this– who was dealing with depression before the breakup of a long-term relationship, and now is reassuring people in her life that she is sad, not relapsing into depression. But as a psychiatrist once said at a training I attended very early in my career (in this field), “Just because you have one problem doesn’t mean you don’t have another.”

But to the headline of this post– another topic that deserves a longer treatment, but is on my mind. Time and again, I’ve had clients (or people I know socially) who are very distressed about their perceived failings when, to my outsider’s eye, they seemed to be handling life adequately. Sure we all would like to handle life better. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t do OK. The British have that famous idiom, “muddling through.” Everything is a big mess, but you get through it somehow. BUT if you’ve recently gone through a terrible time in your life where you weren’t getting through it somehow, you can mistake the distress you feel for failure to cope. The two are different.

Take care, everyone.


About jamesmatter

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in private practice in San Francisco. I work with adults, adolescents, and couples, with focus on substance use and abuse and co-occurring disorders (having both a mental illness and an addiction).
This entry was posted in behavioral health, change, cognitive therapy, dealing with change, Depression, Distress tolerance, Emotions, Feelings, Frustration, handling the unexpected, Learning, mental health, Recovery, Sadness. Bookmark the permalink.

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