The English language works in mysterious ways and while I write this I find myself wondering how big a part the language we use plays into our mental health. For the last 12 months I have been trying to balance selfish and selfless; one is defined as caring only for oneself and the other as putting others needs above your own, regardless of the consequences to yourself.
You don’t need me to tell you which of these words has the negative connotations, which will make peoples toes curl if they are described as it and the other is the kind you hear in eulogy’s, from gushing partners and proud parents. The problem with this is, being selfless can often come with a personal impact; especially when it comes to mental health.
When I’m asked what I suffer with when it comes to my mental health I often respond with depression, I never really recognise anxiety, but the truth is I get extremely anxious when it comes to spending time with large groups of people/at events. The strange part of this is that it’s not people I don’t know that I get anxious of –quite the opposite. People I know well/large groups of friends are my worst nightmare. In the run up to events I dread them and then during the entire event. But where does this fit into being selfish? I’ve started to say no, for my own mental health I decline evenings/activities with friends, I have removed people from my life that whilst I love them dearly, have a huge impact on my personal happiness and for me. It’s helped me manage my depression in such a way that allowed to me to come off anti-depressants and does help to keep anxiety at bay.
For me personally, sometimes being selfish is OK.