Feeling “Less Than”


There are days when I see myself as “less than.”  Less than what?  Less than the general population who gets up and goes to work everyday.  Less than the people I used to work with who have risen high on the Corporate America success ladder.  Less than even some people who have recovered from mental illness and seem to have left their struggles in the dust.

I feel less than fulfilled with my current life.  I make a point of spending my time writing everyday, which gives me tremendous value.  But my overall everyday life pales in comparison to my past life before I was really hit with bipolar depression.

So I ask myself the question, how can I exists without feeling “less than” as a human being? For starters, I am aiming to make my comparison a little fairer.  What do I mean by making it fairer?  Well, it’s not fair to compare a basket of eggs with a basket of oranges. After bipolar disorder took me down hard I had to recover from a series of major episodes.  The fact that I am capable of doing all that I currently do is a tremendous success.  But comparing my life now with the past and before bipolar disorder really wrecked havoc is simply not a fair comparison.

I am willing to bet I am not alone in feeling “less than.” I am sure there are other people out there who feel like they were so much better before a mental illness disrupted their life. I want to say to them, “you are not alone.” It does not make you feel better to know other people suffer the same plight, but it certainly puts things into perspective. It allows you to realize other people are carrying the same or similar torch.  Plowing away each day, trying not to get caught up in letting the “less than” feelings dominate.

Part of the problem with feeling “less than” nags at the self-esteem and tears down self-confidence. Many of these feelings are so “normal,” but somewhere along the way we forget to address them. We end up with an overflow of bad feelings about ourselves and we don’t know what to do about them.

I have truly found that if I hit the nail on the head with something I at least have a chance at knowing what to do with it.  So if I call out a day when I am really feeling “less than” I will acknowledge that feeling. I can then talk my way through the bad thoughts I may have about myself.  The more I realize the thoughts are very “normal” for some reason the more strength I gain.  Instead of going through my day feeling worse about myself, I can grab onto what I do well and build upon that instead.

I have always heard it is not a good idea to compare yourself to others, so why would I want to compare my life to someone else? Not a good idea. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not “less than” just “different.” And that “different” is simply okay.







13 thoughts on “Feeling “Less Than”

  1. Wow. your description about falling off the corporate ladder makes it seem like you got inside my head and copied it in perfect detail. When I speak with my therapist about regrets or remorse, he always tries to remind me that those regrets were old bipolar Bradley. The new medicated Bradley is a much different person. It doesn’t help all the time, but sometimes it does put things In perspective.

    1. Hi Bradley,
      Well I’m glad you could relate to what I wrote. I really believe knowing we aren’t the only person who has had to experience some not such great things because of Bipolar Disorder makes the struggle a bit more tolerable. You are so right though, with medication we are different. It’s almost like we have a before and after person as you describe. Thanks for reading my blog. Have a wonderful day!

  2. This is a great post. I deal with the same thing. I am on disability and I work part time. I worked full time for many years and sometimes I am frustrated that I don’t have a more high-profile job or more money, but I have to keep reminding myself that I need balance in my life in order to stay well. My schedule allows me the time to exercise a lot, cook healthy food, and run errands and go to appointments with my doctors and therapist that were hard to fit in when I was busier.

    1. Hi Andrea,
      What a positive way to look at the situation. You are so right that having the time to balance our lives is so helpful when living with bipolar disorder. It sounds like you have taken your situation and really made the best of it. I really like your point of view. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting, your perspective really adds to the post.

  3. Amy, I know the feeling well. I don’t compare myself to others so much anymore, but compare my more productive and positive days to those days I feel like staying and bed and doing nothing. I don’t allow myself to do that but truly feel the need to do it on some days, and refuse to give myself permission. Maybe I need to allow a day here or there when I just let the lack of energy take over and bury myself under the covers. I don’t know – some days are just way more difficult than others.

    1. Susan,
      I understand exactly what you are saying. I think one of the hardest parts of mental illness is giving yourself that permission to feel exactly how you feel without discounting your true feelings. But also striking that balance when you know you need to push yourself. It is very difficult to manage. Not impossible just difficult.

  4. Great post Amy. My GP often stresses that I focus on how far I have come when compared to where I was at my worst. And I agree with her. And my mental illness gives the explanation as to why my career and personal life went backwards and I have achieved very little compared to friends and peers. I don’t dwell on it either. I am still here and that is something to be proud of and thankful for. But sometimes the sad thoughts still creep in and I need to deal with them. So I do.

    1. Glenn,
      I love your comment. It is such a great reminder to not dwell on things and yet deal with the sad thoughts when they come up. I like that you do give yourself the reason you are where you are and you celebrate your victories. A good reminder for me. Thanks for that…have a great weekend.

  5. I reblogged it on my blog.. I’ve felt that way so many times that my parents are probably tired of hearing me try to hash it out in their car on the way to and from volunteer work (I do volunteer work during the school year doing data entry for a small parochial school’s library) Thank you for putting into words how I feel and putting a more positive push to it than I usually manage. It is a good thing to think about.. and I never stopped to think about whether or not I was being “fair” in my comparisons before.

    1. Hi…thanks so much for the reblog. I am glad you can relate to what I wrote. It’s a tough position to be in but it doesn’t stay that way forever. It moves if you can start to look at things a little differently. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a better day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s