What is wrong with me? That’s a question we tend to ask ourselves when we make bad decisions after struggling with mental illness or a challenging life event. Sometimes, we feel stuck in our heads and beat ourselves up for actually acting entirely normal. If we sleep too much, we assume it’s depression, but sometimes we just need more sleep, or it’s darker for extended periods, so our brain is tricked into sleeping longer. We get rejected by someone we really like, and our game is off for weeks. Yet, that pesky brain of yours keeps asking you the same question, ‘what is wrong with me?’ when the answer is simply this: nothing is wrong with you; this is all part of being human.
What Is Wrong With Me: 17 Ways to Get Yourself On Track
1. Nobody’s Perfect
When you ask yourself what is wrong with me, remember that no one’s perfect. That’s actually what makes life wonderful. We always have room for improvement, something to strive for. A future self we can mold ourselves into. Rather than beating yourself up for going through a rough patch or a setback or making mistakes, permit yourself to be a flawed person. Not even people who try really hard to do the right thing do the right thing all the time. Sometimes, even our best intentions set us up for failure. If it were easy to do the right thing all the time, everyone would be perfect, and life would be dull. There’s a blessing in disguise for your imperfections. They help shape your future self. Maybe a terrible decision you made forces you to reevaluate yourself, make adjustments, and work on a 2.0 version of yourself. If you never have bad days, you’ll never appreciate how wonderful a good day feels.
2. Thoughts Can Be Wrong
“What is wrong with me?” you ask yourself. Well, let’s take a look at those thoughts in your head. How’s it going up there? Is it the negativity vortex spiraling you into a breakdown? Or are unicorns dancing near rainbows on a sunny day? If you’re Googling what is wrong with me, I would guess that your thoughts might be leading you astray.
You are not your thoughts. Thoughts come up into your brain even when you’re not thinking about them. Sometimes, they’re toxic. And if you act on those negative thoughts, you end up doing bad things. The goal is to separate your thoughts from your actions. Sometimes, if you have a thought disorder like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or anxiety, you might need medication to stabilize your brain.
If you don’t have a history of mental illness and are going through a rough time, practice saying STOP whenever a thought starts going down a rabbit hole. Believe it or not, after a few times of catching a toxic thought, eventually, your thought will stop when you tell it to, and you can focus on something more productive.
3. Write in A Journal
When something is wrong in your life, write it in a mindfulness journal. Maybe add a lock to your journal or some password protection, so no one reads it– for privacy’s sake. Doing some free writing or following journaling prompts to let all your thoughts come out is a good way to have a moment of clarity. When we give our brain time to see recurring patterns and become aware of them, our brain will also develop solutions. So take some time to think about what you can do by journalling your struggles. You could also journal your solutions, so you think more about solving the “What is wrong with me” problem than trying to beat yourself up for it. Alternatively, you could also have a growth mindset and achieve personal growth by writing things you’re grateful for, to help you think more positively instead of being critical.
4. Set A New Goal
When you begin wondering, “what is wrong with me?” it’s time to set a new goal. Studies show that when criminals in jail set a positive goal, such as getting accepted into a university or learning a new skill, they become so obsessed with their new purpose that they stop engaging in criminal activity for good. Thus, no matter what mistakes you make in life, you can always create a new path for yourself if you commit to a goal or purpose that puts your future self in a different direction. If you’re struggling with addiction, identifying as your future self can help you achieve your goal of eliminating your vices. If you’re unhappy in life, setting a goal to make someone else smile every day can help change your state after a few weeks of doing it. It’s best to have one singular purpose-driven goal leading you to the next level to help you live your best life.
5. Change One Thing About Yourself
Sometimes when you ask what is wrong with me, it’s time to admit that something has to change. Most people make these elaborate plans to change everything about themselves and then fall short. But something to realize is that even if you only change one aspect of yourself, other parts of your life will naturally change alongside it. Think about the one behavior that needs the biggest change. Maybe you cheated in a relationship and realized you need to be kinder to people. So you decide to make a more deliberate effort to do acts of kindness to everyone you meet and date. Or maybe you realize that when your mental health isn’t going well, you destroy the lives of those around you. So, you decide to make your priority on improving your mental health by seeing a psychotherapist, exercising to release negative emotions, and reading books to improve your mindset.
When you say “what is wrong with me” several days in a row, it might be time to consider meditation. Meditation has a bad reputation, with many people thinking it’s a bit woo woo. But really, meditation is all about improving your mind. It’s about controlling your mind instead of mindlessly doing what your thoughts tell you to do. A daily meditation practice will help you better manage the emotional challenges you’ll face when things aren’t going well. It’s about being more proactive instead of reactive. And often, when we’re wondering what is wrong with us, it’s because we didn’t build up our mental strength. But there’s no better moment than right now to get started. If you’d like to start meditating, you can download Declutter The Mind app, where you’ll find countless meditations for different emotions and life events.
7. Schedule Self Care Time
Any treatment regimen for mental health always boils down to one thing: self-care. When things are inherently wrong, you need to take care of yourself. Your self-esteem will thank you. You can smell some candles or essential oils to relax you. To get a small break, you can turn off your brain and wash something mindless. You could live life by going for mindful walks in nature with a friend or spouse to talk about life in general. Music and dance can be a fun way to unwind when you’re wondering, ‘what is wrong with me.’ Of course, not everyone will have the same coping skills as you, so find out what self-care means to you. Whether it’s exercise or talking to a mental health professional about your depression or anxiety, it can be helpful to do something to counteract the stress.
8. Tackle One Thing At A Time
In life, bad things usually happen all at once. They don’t typically space themselves out evenly. And so when the storm comes, we often ask what is wrong with me instead of realizing that sometimes that’s just how life works. Instead of crawling into bed, hiding away from the world, and avoiding the mountain of problems that you need to deal with, focus on solving just one thing at a time. For example, if you’ve lost your job, are struggling with mental health issues, and are facing divorce at the same time, focus on tackling one of those problems first. Maybe you focus all your energy on finding a new job. Once you’ve landed that role, you invest your time to improve your mental health. Then, once you’re in a good place emotionally, you’re ready to face the turmoil of divorce. Trying to solve multiple big problems at once will only overwhelm you and cause you to avoid everything. Instead, pick one to solve first. If you can’t decide, flip a coin. And if you don’t like what the coin decides for you, you get clarity for yourself.
9. Go to Bed Earlier
People who constantly question what is wrong with me usually spend too much time in bed or stay up late in a state of panic. So instead of making even more mistakes, sometimes you need to go to bed at a reasonable time. As the day goes on, your brain gets so much worse at making decisions; it’s called decision fatigue. Going to bed at 9 p.m. each night, allows you to sleep when your brain is tired. Plus, people who go to bed early tend to wake up early. So you won’t overstay your time in bed since you’ll feel well-rested. By waking up earlier in the morning, you’ll have more time to focus on self-improvement, your mental health, and your life’s purpose.
When there’s something wrong, do something that your body feels like doing. For instance, in moments of anxiety, fight or flight kicks in. How about you do some fighting at your local martial arts gym or running to relieve the tension in yourself. Exercise pumps you up with feel-good endorphins, so it’s helpful. Plus, it counteracts the other things we do that make us feel guilty, like stress eating, saying hurtful words, or start thinking about all the things that make us bad. So, instead of punishing yourself or other people with your pain, exercise allows you to work that problem in your head while moving around until the following mental health professional therapy appointment. If you struggle with depression, stress, or anxiety, you can deal with your feelings by doing what nature wants you to do: move. The couch potato is never happy. So get some fresh air, go for a walk, and take control of your life.
11. Read Positive Books
People who read positive books every day don’t ask what is wrong with me. That’s because they become aware of their flaws and mistakes as they happen and change their path as a result. Instead, focus on which behaviors and weaknesses you’d like to improve upon. Then, buy books on those topics. For example, if you notice you are constantly arguing with others, you might decide to purchase books on communication. If people describe you as cold, you might choose to invest in books about empathy or meditation books.
The important thing to remember is not being discouraged by your flaws or weaknesses. Instead, be excited and grateful that you can change and mold yourself in any way. People constantly change. You’ll naturally start improving yourself by creating a way to learn new skills, traits, or interests. While you might be asking what is wrong with me today, a few years from now you’ll be grateful at what that question led you to become. And as long as you’re better than the person you were yesterday, that’s all that matters in life.
12. Seek Professional Help
Often, people wonder what is wrong with me when they experience brain fog. This often occurs when someone is extremely exhausted, burnt out, unhealthy, or at their ends wits. When your brain seems to no longer work well or fails to make good decisions, it’s time to recognize that maybe you need some extra help. Seeking professional help from a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or coach can help you get yourself back on track. Unfortunately, no one performs at their peak all the time. Sometimes, you need to make changes in your life to get a reset in your environment or situation to help rejuvenate you.
But often, when you try to solve your own problems, you fail. That’s because you’re too close to it. Sometimes you need someone to hear your experience and see the patterns you miss. Having an objective sounding board can also help prevent you from catastrophizing or digging yourself deeper into a hole. Consider professional help as a second opinion to help bring you closer to what you want in your life. When you start describing to them what is wrong with yourself, they’ll be able to remind you of what’s right while getting you back on track.
13. Spend Time with Your Best Friend
Your friends are not a replacement for therapy. But spending time with them can often make you feel better than a mental health professional will. When you feel overwhelmed or your anxiety rise, it’s helpful to talk to the right friend. Not all friends give good advice; some are better at relieving stress than giving you the right answer. Nearly everyone struggles with mental health in some form, so be careful about who you choose as a sounding board. If you have a mental health disorder like post-traumatic stress disorder, talking to a friend might be the wrong place to seek advice unless they’ve struggled with it. Be picky about who you go to; some people don’t know the right things to say during times of hardship. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone to help you find the spark in you again during those days when something is wrong. Make talking to your favorite friend part of your daily life.
14. Deal With Emotional Pain
Have you ever asked what is wrong with me and noticed the creep up of physical pain. Maybe your back has been hurting lately. Or your knees hurt every time you climb stairs. While it may be hard to believe, the cause of physical pain is often emotional pain. When we bottle up emotions for a long time without giving them a way out, our body starts to collapse.
While I was in therapy for severe PTSD, I was rushed into surgery due to organ failure. I cried in front of the surgeon and asked him, “Is this my fault? Did my reaction to the rape cause this to happen?” He told me, of course not. But I knew he said that to make me feel better. I had spent over a year in fight or flight and had lost a lot of weight in only a few months. It was clear that all of that led to the emergency surgery. It’s so important to have a healthy channel to release pent-up emotional pain to prevent the destruction of your physical body.
15. Add kindness to your to do list
Moving forward, those with a traumatic past who struggle with their own thoughts could benefit from doing an act of kindness every day. Mindfully, doing a good deed every day without fail is one of the most transformative things you can do if you struggle with what feels like a “broken brain.” You won’t wonder, “what is wrong with me?” when you’re busy helping others, being kind, and trying your best every day. You’ll just be a good person. Not all kind acts will be well received, but keep trying as you learn through it. It’s easier to manage your stress and feelings if you’re constantly putting good energy into the world. First, you start by doing something nice for someone once a day. However, as you get better, you start naturally do it multiple times a day for different people. And that’s the change for the better that you get with doing something for a person. This is one of those treatment options that work better than anything else that people don’t talk about.
16. Learn to Better Communicate
We often ask what is wrong with me when our relationships aren’t going well. Maybe things are tough at work, or your romantic relationship ended suddenly. It’s important to learn how to communicate our needs with others. Too often, we communicate in anger or frustration when things aren’t going well. But let’s face it, no one responds well to emotions or negativity. That typically escalates the problem. And so one person leaves the situation feeling hurt, and the other often leaves feeling unheard. Both people end up not having their needs met. And that can lead to a lot of resentment over time. You can read books like Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg to learn how to communicate your needs effectively.
17. Always Remember You Don’t Know the Full Story
When you’re beating yourself up and asking what is wrong with me, remember that you don’t have the full context. Sometimes, we blame ourselves for things that aren’t exactly our fault. Sometimes people blame others for their problems and make you question everything about yourself. You’ll blindly believe what they say because you’re used to people telling you you’re bad, flawed, or imperfect. So it’s okay to let life play out a bit sometimes. You’d be surprised to learn that sometimes a mistake you’ve been giving yourself hell for was caused by someone else.
You only view life from your lens. Sometimes that lens is tainted by trauma, anxiety, or stress. Other times, you fail to see how other people played a toxic role in your life that led you astray. The important thing to remember is that you can change and improve yourself in any way.
So, the big question: what is wrong with me? The world is made up of flawed human beings. Sometimes, they try their best and still fall short. Other times, difficult moments lead them down the wrong path. But eventually, if we ask what is wrong with me, we recognize in ourselves an opportunity to get better. And if you’re asking a difficult question, you’re finally ready to do something different to help create a better, smarter, and stronger version of yourself. So, the good news is that you didn’t need this article to get on the right track because you’re already on it.