Thoughts On Feeling Inadequate

I intended to post this on Friday (the 7th), but in a stroke of cosmic irony, my inadequacy peaked that night. Writing this after the fact is… more powerful.

I hit a low point when it came to feeling valid as a human being. As in, I didn’t feel like I deserved to be alive. (Don’t worry, nothing happened aside from a crying session.) I felt inadequate in every aspect of my life: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, romantically, sexually… The list goes on, but it was generally in that order.

There are so many ways to feel like you’re not good enough.

I shrunk one of my favourite shirts in the dryer, because my memory wasn’t good enough to remember it was in the wash; because my attention wasn’t good enough to look out for it when I changed the load over from the washer to the dryer; because my body wasn’t good enough to fit into a smaller size.

I had been feeling like crap for the entire day, but when it was 10:00pm and I was folding laundry, and there was one of my favourite shirts I’ve had for half a year… The domino toppled and so did all of the pent-up inadequacies I had lined up. It was one thing after another, a catalogue of how I wasn’t good enough at anything.

That was a few days ago, and I still haven’t picked up the dominoes and put them in a box. I haven’t lined up the things I’m good at. I haven’t lined up the reasons why I’m good enough. I haven’t had a chance to reflect on why I’m okay as a human being, and why I don’t have to be The Best to exist.

I’m going to play the mental illness card again: my PTSD makes me extra hard on myself. I’m significantly reduced compared to the “normal” or neurotypical standards. I feel like less of a person because of things that happened to me that I, for some reason, can’t let go of. How is it that things beyond my control come back to haunt me? Why does my brain hold on to things that hurt it? What do I need to do to make myself good enough to see that I’m good enough?

The standard to which I hold myself is unattainable. I can never reach it. Yet my mind and self-perception constantly reflect back to those standards, to the aspects that will make me worthy.

It’s times like these that I transcend my body in the worst possible way. Dissociation acts as my safety blanket, but it’s the same as starving yourself in order to avoid food poisoning. Haven’t we all learned that “abstinence-only” tactics aren’t the same as being informed about hazards? Living is a risk and dissociating is my way of avoiding risk. Dissociating is the closest I can get to separating from life without committing suicide.

It has been a significant amount of time since I said aloud, “I want to die,” and meant it. I hold back tears now as I look back at myself curled on the bed, weeping around the words. I see myself holding the worn out domino pieces I played with before therapy, before getting help, before putting effort into my well-being, before my diagnosis that explains so much of myself—before valuing myself even a marginal amount.

I’m better now, in the relative sense. It’s not like I’ve put away all the dominoes, but they’re no longer strewn, encircled, around me and keeping me hostage. They’re shoved to the side and I can see past them a little bit. But they’re still there. They’re still within grasp. I still want to set them up again and watch myself topple, because lining up these pieces and seeing how far the line goes seems to be the only thing I’m consistently good enough at doing.

2 Comments


  1. There are definitely many ways to feel like you are not good enough and I’ve also felt the hopelessness as one minor thing simply led me to feel another thing, which led me to feel like I had no faith myself at all. I’m sorry you had a dark moment 🙁 I can understand how you feel especially when sometimes you just can’t help these feelings.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve “come out of” depression, but every few days something will serve as a pretty horrible trigger, and it could be anything that only I just noticed, or that other people have pointed out, or even something I’ve just remembered. The fact that you are doing better now, even if it is relatively, is definitely something I can relate to. Of course I’m better. Of course I don’t want to die. But that doesn’t stop me from occasionally having those very shitty feelings of being so unhappy with all aspects of my life – mostly superficial, but a lot as a result of impostor syndrome or being devalued by others – and it doesn’t stop me from reacting towards them, whether I’m crying, unable to concentrate on what I’m doing, or something else.

    At the same time, you probably have control that you didn’t have before, and these moments of feeling inadequate are, fingers crossed, something that will continue but in time will help you move past it.

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  2. I struggle with feeling like I’m inadequate, and I often put it down to my anxiety. I’ll take something small and make assumptions that just aren’t true, and it leads to my crying about being a bad person who can’t do anything right.

    I’ve wrote myself a list of affirmations. It’s a list of all the big things I have achieved in my life, such as getting a first class degree, and getting promoted after just a year in the job. When ever I feel like I’m not good enough I look at that list as a reminder that if I stop worrying I can achieve amazing things.

    I’m also starting to tackle the reasons (i.e. the people) for my feelings of inadequacy. There are certain people in my life who have a massive influence of the way I view myself (mostly negative views) and I’m trying to remove them from my life, or at least reduce my exposure to them. I’m feeling hopeful that this will help in the long run.

    Stay strong.

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