I’ve talked on this site several times about the fact that in a past therapy session I struggled to answer whether I really knew who I was. It is a question I continue to try to answer. However, something I was reading recently suggested asking yourself why.
And why is a good question to ask. Because of my anxiety or because of my depression there are definitely times that I am baffled by my own behavior or can’t explain what is going on in my head. In those scenarios, asking why would probably be helpful.
The book I was reading suggested going deeper than that though. It suggested asking yourself why on a larger scale. Why are you living where you are? Why are you working where you are? Etc. The book suggested that so often, our behaviors might be linked to incidents from our past in ways we don’t fully realize until we dig deeper.
Asking why can also help me answer the question, ‘who I am’ better too. It is a different angle that I can take to understand myself and my behaviors better. While we like to think we are always in control, the fact is that isn’t always the case. Sometimes past traumas, or the demons of mental illness, or other unseen forces influence our behaviors in ways we don’t fully understand until we take the time to examine it. And examining the why of these behaviors can also help with the darkness of depression.
For example, depression sometimes makes us feel trapped. Yet by asking why we realize that these behaviors have a choice. And by examining the why we can also understand alternatives that we can choose instead. It may not be easy making a different choice, it may not be easy understanding the motives behind certain behaviors, but sometimes asking the why of it all is an important first step towards recovery.