10 Subtle Signs You’re In Self-Destruct Mode!


Self-destructive behavior isn’t always obvious. Sure, you know the big signs like drug use or cheating on your spouse, but the truth is that the path to personal annihilation takes quite some time to travel. 

A dirty little secret about living with longterm mental illness is that many of us get completely comfortable with our misery. It’s all we know! Sure, we want to get better, but change is scary. And when we’re faced with the unknown, we have a tendency to turn the hell away from it and stay in our cozy little state of darkness.

For years I didn’t know how to function outside of a fog. Moments of clarity were mystifying and I was absolutely terrified that if I embraced a better life, the people I cared about wouldn’t stick around. When life stopped giving me lemons, I looked for sour grapes, until I finally came to a place where I understood that the kinds of people I wanted around me were those that wanted me to be healthy and anyone else could go scratch!

Self-sabotage is your mental illness trying to regain control.

Your brain will do backflips to convince you that anything other than what you’re used to is totally terrifying. But here’s the thing about making changes: they’ll lead you to living a better life. 

The first step is recognizing where you’re at. After that, it’s all about putting in the work to change your course! 

Here are 10 subtle signs you’re plodding down the path to self-destruction: 

💡1. You’re not putting yourself on your priority list!

When we don’t want to take care of ourselves the way we should, it’s so incredibly easy to point to our loved ones and say, “Well, they really need me right now!” We’ll find every excuse in the book to divert our attention from ourselves and, if we’re especially unwell, we’ll even prolong the difficulties others face just to ensure they’re our ongoing project. It’s not enabling, it’s disabling!

But here’s the thing: if you’re not mentally well, you’re not capable of helping others be well either. 

Take a step back and evaluate what your motivations are for giving all you’ve got to everyone else. Sure, you love them and you want them to be happy, but if the actions you’re taking are preventing you from taking care of yourself the way you should, it’s time to rewrite your priority list.

💡2. You’re trying to control every outcome!

When you’re scared of the unknown it’s not unusual to try to control everything and everyone. From your surroundings to your relationships, you develop an “it’s my way or the highway” mindset and, unsurprisingly, this can make you pretty toxic to be around. 

The more you try to control things, the less control you’ll have when life doesn’t go your way. 

Instead of fighting for the status quo, try learning how to develop healthy coping skills for the times when life doesn’t go your way. The more you’re able to adapt and adjust to the natural ebbs and flows, the more you’ll be able to enjoy it.

💡3. You’re accepting defeat without even trying!

You won’t go for that promotion because you’re sure you won’t get it. You won’t ask that person out because you’re sure they’ll say no. You’re absolutely certain that seeing a therapist won’t work out because the last time you tried you didn’t get much out of it. Sound familiar?

Every achievement comes from a single, simple step: trying. 

Instead of getting wrapped up in what could go wrong, start looking for evidence that tells you what could go right. Maybe your boss didn’t up and offer you a promotion, but maybe they also gave you a glowing review! You’ll never know what an outcome can be unless you’re willing to give it a chance to play out. Remember: The only way to ensure defeat is to not try at all. 

💡4. You’re letting your health go!

Drinking, smoking, over-eating, under-eating, it doesn’t matter. When you stop taking care of your body, you’ve stopped taking care of your mind. When I let my health go it always starts with refusing to wash my hair. I’ll get to a point where my neck starts aching from the pounds of baby powder and dry shampoo I’ve packed on and then stop myself and realize hey, this is pretty gross!

When you’re not taking care of your health, you’re telling yourself that you don’t care what happens to you and that’s a pretty terrible message to send. 

Work out a wellness routine and be sure to include something to invest in your health every day. You don’t have to go all out and join a Strong Man Competition, but you do need to make self-care a habit. When you get it down, you can add more or up your game and eventually it’ll become second nature. 

💡5. You’re blaming everyone and everything for your problems!

Do you believe your life is a series of unfortunate events? Maybe you’ve gone from one bad relationship to another, from one terrible job to another terrible job, or even managed to be constantly betrayed by your friends. Now I’m going to point out the obvious: the common denominator is you. 

When you find yourself in one terrible circumstance after another, you need to take a step back and figure out what you’re doing to keep that cycle going. 

While there are plenty of circumstances that are beyond your control, the fact of the matter is that the patterns that exist around you are primarily influenced by you. Growth is the key to making better choices and better choices are the key to living a better life.

💡6. You’re ignoring your responsibilities!

Are you often late to work? Do you fail to pick up around your house? Do you constantly forget to call and check in with the people you love? 

When you can’t get the basics down, you’ll get basically nothing. 

Avoiding your responsibilities is a great way to ensure you’ll never get better. It’s difficult to find the motivation, especially when you’re depressed, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There’s so many resources out there to help you turn this part of your life around, mental illness be damned, that a simple Google search can be the start of a new path. Take responsibility for your responsibilities and you’ll be well on your way to wellness. 

💡7. You’re isolating yourself from others!

Isolation is a great way to commit to going off the rails. I’m not saying you have to be closed off in an attic somewhere, huddled under a dusty blanket with a single candle flickering in the wind. I am saying that closing off, hiding how you’re doing, and avoiding interactions with others is a one-way ticket to breakdown town. 

Positive social interaction is one of the main ingredients to a healthy, fulfilling existence. 

You don’t have to be a social butterfly but you do need to invest in mutually beneficial relationships with people you trust. Learning how to connect and commit your time to quality connections will help you get up, get out, and get well! 

💡8. You’re taking illogical, unnecessary risks!

Many of us with mental illnesses know what it’s like to go numb. When you’re miserable for a long period of time, your emotions become so raw that you just kind of shut down and stop feeling anything. Unfortunately, the more numb you become, the more extreme emotions you chase, and in doing so you put yourself and others in harmful situations. 

Whether it’s through sex, drugs, or rock ’n roll behavior, taking unnecessary risks in the short term can cause severe longterm consequences. 

It’s important to recognize when you’re taking things to the limit and to learn the skills you need in order to consider the potential consequences of your actions. Living a quality life begins with quality choices. So take a step back and start working on the underlying issues before you take things a step too far. 

💡9. You’re taking on more than you should!

It’s called “over-compensating,” and I’m the poster child. With my “never say no” attitude, I pick up every phone call, agree to every request, and often find myself overwhelmed and exhausted. If this sounds familiar, you’re suffering from the same thing I am: the desire to prove your value to anyone and everyone. 

The more you let others use you, the faster you’ll be used up! 

Pay attention to your stress level and the quality of what you’re doing. The more you take on, the less you’re able to deliver. Take a step back and remind yourself that you don’t have to prove anything to anyone and learn how to say “no” when you need to. Even Superman takes a day off! 

💡10. You’re allowing others to call the shots in your life!

When you’re convinced you don’t matter all that much, it’s easy to allow people with strong personalities to make decisions for you. Whether it’s volunteering you for tasks you don’t want to perform or pressuring you into doing things you wouldn’t otherwise do, your wants and needs are taking a back seat.

The more you allow someone to commandeer your choices, the less you own your identity. 

Understanding who you are, what you want, and how to respect and care for yourself is essential to your mental wellness. The process of reclaiming your identity is a beautiful journey and, once you’ve made it to the end, you’ll never want to go back! 

Alicia GibsonComment