Toni Bernhard J.D.

Don’t Feel Bad About Feeling Bad

Blaming yourself for feeling down only makes things worse.

Posted Feb 12, 2020

Public Domain
“On the Green Bench” by Henri Lebasque, 1911
Source: Public Domain


I’ll start with a word that’s becoming increasingly familiar: mindfulness. Mindfulness refers to bringing your attention to your present moment experience, whether it’s something in your environment, or a thought, or an emotion. For me, its greatest value is that it helps me become aware of what’s going on in my mind. That awareness can allow me to see why I’m feeling down and, just knowing that, can start to make me feel better…(See link for article)



This article reminds me of the desperation I had early in Lyme/MSIDS treatment. I too was worried, and I had a good reason: many patients never get well.  I was worried I was going to be one of them.

I remember finding a website written by a patient who gave his experiences and the fact he had fought for his health and won.  On a whim I contacted him.  Surprisingly, he responded back to me.  (I have found that this is typical of Lyme/MSIDS patients as they remember the desperation and are quite helpful).  I’ll never forget what he said:

“Don’t be depressed about being depressed.”

That advice helped me perhaps more than anything else – particularly on the dark, bleak days where hope was hard to find.

I came to realize that self-talk is extremely important.  After all, we believe what we say – so say things that help – not things that tear down and hurt.

If I had a particularly bad day (or week, month, year!) I’d acknowledge it, treat myself with compassion, respect, and kindness, and then tell myself that although this day sucked, there were going to be better days ahead and to just forge ahead with treatment despite my feelings.  Then, just like I’d do with my own children when they were sick, I’d allow myself special things to help me feel better.  This might be watching a favorite movie, or a book that inspired me, or even just taking a nap without guilt.

Funny thing is – these habits have remained even though I’m well.  I no longer feel guilty (ever!) about taking a nap or doing something I enjoy.

There IS a silver lining with Lyme/MSIDS.  One of which is you treat yourself a whole lot better, which has to be a good thing.