Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Self perception

It's always seemed odd to me how others perceive me -because I rarely perceive myself in the same way. I talked about this with J at my session this morning. We spoke about how hard it is for me to see myself as capable and coping, how I have a tendency to feel that I can't cope, even when evidence suggests the opposite. She had some very helpful ideas about how this belief came about, and expressed confidence that this can be changed, albeit slowly.

I continue to be surprised when others tell me I am doing well, strong, confident. I don't feel those things for myself. I can see where their evidence is, but at the same time I want to convince them that they are wrong, because they are not seeing the full picture. It's a rum old business.


La-reve said...

Illness distorts our perception. That's what I am continually told. We are our own worst enemies and all that. Sounds like you expect more of yourself than you do of other. ditto. Glad you have J to help you.

Disillusioned said...

HI La-Reve
I know you are right - but there has been this discrepancy in terms of my self-perception and the perception others have of me long before my current mental health issues.
You're right about my expectations of myself though, as well as the distortion. Sorry you have it too.

Catherine said...

Actually, when I read your post I came away agreeing more with you than J or others. For me, I manage to pull it all together when it counts and then let it slide when it doesn't; however, for the past year or so I have also noticed that it takes more out of me each time, and I wonder how many more times I can pull it off.

One of my teachers in high school told me to "Fake it 'til you make it", so maybe you have faked it so long that you have made it? I know not.

marcella said...

It's interesting (although of no comfort I know). My daughters took part in a research project at the Maudsley Hospital. They each filled in various self-assessment questionnaires. Their answers were much the same on almost all scores (including eating which was a bit of a shock as the whole point of the survey was to compare sisters with eating disorders with healthy siblings without eating disorders). The only difference, and it was HUGE, came in the questions of self-perception. When answering the question "I am as good as anyone else, true or false" the daughter with the problems thought herself very unlikely to believe this, whereas the "healthy" one really couldn't understand why anyone would even ask the question.
I guess what I'm burbling on about is that yes, illness does distort perception, but that distorted perception and negative beliefs (where ever gathered from) may well feed illness too.

marcella said...

By the way - HAPPY NEW YEAR

Disillusioned said...

Thanks Catherine. I do the fake it stuff - and have for years. A previous counsellor used the phrase "behave as if.." - ie, behave as if you deserve to treat yourself well. I do follow it, and I do believe in it - but couldn't understand why I didn't believe myself to be treated well until this chat with J yesterday. Now it all falls into place a bit. Not that it falling into place makes me feel any more OK about myself, just that it makes sense of why I don't.

Marcella, that is such a revelation, Thanks. I think you are right - it's a circular thing. Lack of confidence can feed mental health issues, and mental health issues can (naturally!) lead into lower confidence.

Happy new year to you all too.