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Old 11-02-2020, 07:04 PM   #1
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Default Freezing

Today I was given constructive criticism. It was given in an encouraging and kind way but I still felt shakey, my tongue went numb, and I later cried. The criticism was about how I tend to observe conflict instead of intervening. This "freezing" up is something that I have hated about myself for some time. It's so difficult for me and I feel like a boy more than I do a man. Having someone else point it out though just made me feel the full weight of my shame. My instincts what me to just "run", but I know I need to work on this. Despite a lot of growth in assertiveness, this still feels insurmountable
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Old 11-02-2020, 08:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Freezing

Dear codyrobi613,

Depression and anxiety are gigantic burdens for those who are afflicted with them. People who do not carry such enormous burdens cannot really understand how paralyzing and crippling they can be at times. Most "you should be" type criticism is based on ideals for those unafflicted with mental illnesses.

Since mental illness is often not visible compared to physical burdens like blindness or paralysis, those who criticize sufferers of depression and anxiety are being unfair by holding them to standards that are unreasonable. Often there is no malice involved since such "you should be" x, y and z is not done with awareness, knowledge and insight. But it is unjust all the same.

For example, if I told a man who just broke both legs that he "should" get up and climb Mount Everest, it would be a gross injustice not only to the man with the broken legs but also a gross injustice to justice itself.

A person with a debilitating illness cannot be compared to someone free of it. A person with depression and anxiety who moves an inch towards being more assertive is doing more that a person who lacking those illnesses moves a mile. You have courage that no one but a fellow sufferer can appreciate.

I think it can also help to keep the things we would like to change about ourselves in perspective. There are things calling for change and then there are things really calling for change. A couple of men in the last 100 years caused the destruction of tens of millions of men, women and children through campaigns of forced starvation and systematic genocide. Being a genocidal dictator is really bad and requires change. Being less assertive than someone would like one to be or that one would like to be is far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far away from the kind of aspect of character of someone like Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot.

It may be that you are far more courageous than the person who criticized you. People struggling with mental illness are often heroically courageous in a way that ordinary people cannot see or appreciate. So I hope you will not beat yourself up over what happened. I have read some of your other posts and find you to be a person or substance and stature and an inspiration to me personally. It is admirable to try to improve oneself but please keep perspective in all this if you can.

Since I am not a physician or medical professional I can only offer my philosophical opinion. I cannot give advice that you or anyone could or should reply upon. I do hope you find some relief from the pain you are feeling now. Although I am not in your shoes and wouldn't want to trespass on the uniqueness of your experience, I can certainly identify with what you describe from my own struggles.

Sincerely yours, Yao Wen
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