Have you ever thought, “What is wrong with me?” If so, you are not alone.
Nearly everyone, from time to time, has had that thought. For some, it’s a fleeting moment of self-doubt, while for others it might be a lifelong feeling of not measuring up or not being good enough. And in some cases, it may reflect the fact that you are currently in a particular set of circumstances that has you questioning whether you can make it through.
Whatever the cause of you feeling that something is wrong with you, know that there are actions you can take to start to feel better.
In addition, it’s also important not to push that feeling away when it comes. Instead of pushing your feelings away, take the time to sit with them and explore them. And if the thought of doing that feels overwhelming, consider talking to a mental health professional about what you are going through.
Why You Feel Like Something Is Wrong With You
Before we can discuss how to manage the feeling that something is wrong with you, let’s consider the possible causes. From temporary life setbacks to enduring a long physical or mental illness, there are multiple potential reasons why you might feel that something is wrong. Check the list below and see if any of these resonate with your current life circumstance.
When you think about something being wrong with you, is it mostly a feeling of being overwhelmed or that you can’t think straight? Or do you feel like you can’t keep up with all of your obligations and things you need to do?
Sometimes, the feeling that something is wrong with you might reflect that you simply have a very challenging set of life circumstances. It might mean that you have an overly demanding job, heavy family responsibilities, financial stress, or any other number of situations that would lead to feeling like you can’t keep up with the pace of life.
Do you feel somehow stuck in your life, as though everyone else has things figured out but you don’t? Or are you struggling to get over a breakup, move on from a job you hate, or free yourself of a toxic relationship?
If you have specific ideas of what your life should be like, and you feel as though you are not living the life you want, this could lead you to the thought that something is wrong with you.
A number of factors can leave you feeling alone or lonely. Perhaps you have strained relationships with family or anxiety about making new friends. Usually, feeling that there is something wrong with you because you are lonely means that you struggle to make the social connections that you want in life.
If you’ve been asking what is wrong with you, it may be the case that you are experiencing trauma or recovering from having experienced trauma. This could be obvious trauma, such as losing a loved one, being the victim of violence, or experiencing a tragic life circumstance such as a house fire.
However, trauma can also come about in more insidious ways such as living with a narcissistic abuser. Trauma in all forms can have a significant impact on your mental state; if this is what is happening for you, seeking help from a professional is usually advised.
Experiencing Physical Illness
Is your feeling of something being wrong tied to something related to your body? Whether you have a diagnosed illness and are experiencing new symptoms, or you have symptoms that have yet to be understood or diagnosed, you are probably feeling confused and worried about what is going on with your body.
In this case, it’s perfectly normal to be thinking, “What is wrong with me.” And often, the answer lies in getting to the bottom of the problem through help from a medical professional.
Lacking Self Worth
Sometimes the feeling of there being something wrong with you can originate in low self-esteem or low self-worth. Whether or not this feeling reflects reality isn’t really important; it’s your perception of yourself that impacts your mindset.
When you have a lack of self-esteem or self-worth, this will permeate every area of your life, leaving you feeling as though you don’t feel you measure up in any capacity. Often, the solution in this situation is to identify the core values underlying your self-esteem problem, which might be rooted in feelings of shame or guilt.
Facing Mental Health Issues
One last potential cause of feeling that there is something wrong with you could in fact be a diagnosable mental illness such as depression, an anxiety disorder, or a personality disorder.
Just as with a physical illness, the best course of action in these cases is to speak to a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment. However, it’s also important to develop coping skills to manage your mental health on your own as much as possible.
How to Cope
Regardless of the reason for feeling as though there is something wrong with you, there are a number of things that you can do in order to reduce those feelings. Your choice of coping method will depend on the specific cause.
Plan to Calm Down
Sometimes, the thought that something is wrong with you can come on suddenly and provoke anxiety and negative emotions. In this case, the best first step is to do things that help you to calm down.
To set this in motion, put together a list of “calm down activities” that you can reference whenever this happens. Below are some ideas of things that you can put on this list of calm down activities.
Then, remember to pull it out and start working through the list whenever you start to get down on yourself or feel as though you can’t calm down.
- Go for a walk somewhere in nature.
- Write in a journal about your feelings.
- Call a supportive family member, friend, or another empathetic person.
- Write down a “to-do” list (if feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start).
- Use a meditation app such as Headspace.
- Inhale some essential oil (e.g., lavender).
- Do an online yoga class or other relaxation class.
- Read a book (something light-hearted or intriguing to take your mind off your feelings).
- Watch a favorite television show or movie (preferably one that is calming or funny, or both).
Make an Action Plan
Next, if your feelings are tied to specific problems in your life, you can make an action plan on what you will do about them. While it might feel easier to get stuck in a negative mindset, taking action on your problems will create more motivation to keep going when things get hard.
The actions that you plan to take will depend on your circumstances but could be any of the following:
- Seek help from a mental health professional.
- Find a better job or one that is better suited to your talents.
- Work to improve your relationships (e.g., family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships).
- Develop hobbies or passions (e.g., taking up a sport, learning how to knit).
- Read self-help books on topics that interest you.
- Finding an accountability partner to keep you moving forward.
Observe Your Body
Now that you’ve calmed yourself down and made an action plan to deal with the problems you are facing, it’s important going forward to monitor how you are feeling to stop a negative spiral before it gets out of control.
When you are more in tune with the feelings in your body, you’ll be better able to do things that improve your mood and outlook.
Below are some feelings you might be having and some things that you can do about them.
- Overwhelm/brain fog: Do a brain dump and make a to-do list or plan of action to take everything out of your head and put it down on paper.
- Tired: Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time each day; make sure you are getting enough sleep (not too little but also not too much).
- Restless/can’t sit still: Go for a walk or get some exercise (e.g., high-intensity interval training, treadmill walking, yoga).
- Pain/soreness: Pinpoint the problem and look for solutions (e.g., call your doctor).
- Tense/can’t relax: Practice deep breathing, practice meditation, use progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).
Schedule Time to Worry
Now that you’ve started to monitor your body, you’ll also want to monitor your mind. You can do this by scheduling a worry period each day, during which you write down everything that is worrying you the most.
Then, you can either make a plan of action on how to solve each problem or change the way you are thinking about the problem (if you feel as though you are blowing it out of proportion or creating a catastrophe out of nothing).
During the worry period, make sure that you are not just focused on the problems. Make a list of worries, come up with solutions, or change your thinking about the problems.
Practice Self Care
You should specifically schedule self-care time into your day. Self care refers to anything that keeps you feeling good (both physically and mentally). Below are some things you can do to practice good self care during your day.
- Get enough sleep (7-8 hours a day; no more than 10 or you will feel more tired).
- Eat a healthy diet (enough protein and fiber) and avoid junk food, caffeine, alcohol, etc.
- Get regular exercise, getting your high rate up as well as stretching (10,000 steps is a good goal, but 5,000 should be the minimum).
- Plan time for rest each day (e.g., take breaks if you are working in front of a computer, make sure you have screen-free time).
- Plan time for things you enjoy each day (e.g., reading your favorite book, watching a favorite television show).
- Get outside in nature (this helps you get vitamin D and take a break).
By: Arlin Cuncic