Mental illnesses are full of negative feedback loops, which are designed to drag you down and allow the demons of your mental illness to torment you further. For me it is often anxiety that feeds on itself, building anxiety on top of anxiety until I find myself an anxious wreck. Yet the worst is when my anxiety and depression tag team, and hold the floodgates open for all my doubts and darkness, my failings and flaws.
You see, depression often makes me feel like a burden to those around me. It makes me feel useless. And when it tag teams with anxiety, I become anxious that the people in my life will leave me.
And so, I often look for ways that I can be helpful, ways that I can avoid being a burden to those around me, but can instead be an asset to them. Sometimes this results in my biting off more than I can chew and feeling like a failure for not checking everything off of my to-do list. However, even when I complete everything on my list, I often find myself completely overextended and burnt out, needing to retreat to the safety of home to recharge before undertaking anything else.
So whether I commit to doing more than I can, or whether I manage to-do it all but burn myself out in the process, either way I lose, and my mental illness succeeds in holding the floodgates open for more anxiety and depression to rush in.
I am slowly getting better though. Slowly, I am learning to remind myself that I am not a burden to those around me, and am learning the importance of sometimes putting myself first. Slowly, I am learning to shut the door to my mental illnesses, ending the negative feedback loop they bring with them and getting myself on a more positive path. Because the great thing about therapy, medication, and self-care, is that they can create their own feedback loops, positive ones that can help bar the door against the demons of mental illness. And victories like that are a very big deal.