by Sarah Myles

Excuses, excuses. As an adult, I’ve always made excuses for why I’m just not getting it done.

Firstly, I was busy starting a family. Then, I had babies at home. Then I was busy with Pre-school runs and charity work. Now, my youngest has headed off to Primary School, my eldest is more independent, and my charity work has reduced. There are no more excuses to be made, and so the problem has become very clear. I’m stopping myself.

I now have the time, opportunity and ability to achieve a big, life-time goal, and so I am experiencing the slow, shattering realisation that I am deep into self-sabotage. I am drinking too much, eating too little and staying up too late. I am, unconsciously, making myself physically ill most days so I cannot do the work required. I am purposefully making the wrong choices. My rational mind is at war with my irrational mind, which is employing every devious method imaginable to keep me held back, held down, with success held at arm’s length.

This makes me angry and frustrated. But I can only be angry and frustrated at myself, at my darkness. Nobody else is to blame. I have incredibly supportive friends and family, all cheering me on from the sidelines, but I just won’t let myself cross the finish line. I am stopping myself stepping onto the path that I know, with every fibre of my being, I am supposed to be on.

Now, we all know that self-awareness is key in any attempt at recovery from mental illness, but there is more to it than just recognising what is happening. Why is this happening? What possible cause is there for my own fractured mind to be so intent on ruining my life? It is a manifestation of self-harm, in a different form, but why do I want to punish myself?

This realisation is the thing I have come to, having rummaged right down to the bottom of The Scary Box, the lid of which was first lifted eight years ago. I’ve spent all this time sifting down through anxiety, depression, phobias, dissociation, paranoia, compulsive behaviours, self-harm, emotional eating, mood instability, personality disorder and emotional dysregulation. I’ve reached the bottom of the box and found the core issue – the thing that’s been stinking up the place, the rotting detritus infecting all content: fundamental self-loathing.  

My right mind knows I can do it, but my wrong mind whispers doubts. My right mind knows I deserve to be on the right path, but my wrong mind thrives on the conflict that arises from me being on the wrong path. My right mind knows that achieving this goal will make me stronger, but my wrong mind broadcasts fear, which stops me in my tracks. My right mind is screaming, “JUST DO IT!”, while my wrong mind is sneering in the dark.

So, here I am. Standing on a precipice, desperate to leap ahead into the place I know I am supposed to be, but with fear binding my ankle, immobilising me. I need to shake it off, but have not yet pinpointed how.

 I am fumbling around in the dark, looking for the light-switch. I just hope that when I find it, I don’t blow the fuse…


I can relate to self-sabotaging goals and desires. I think this started in my relationships with my parents - my mum was often envious of me and I couldn't cope with this, so it was easier to give in and fail and let her be the star. Also, my dad has always seemed to be very critical and has a low opinion of my abilities - if i declare an interest or desire to do something he is invariably negative, or else if he 'approves' of it he occasionally decides to support me financially in it and then it becomes something that HE is the driving force behind. I'm in my mid-forties and I still haven't overcome this and I'm having to come to terms with the fact that it could all be too late now.

Hi there, thanks for your comment.

It sounds to me like you're actually most of the way to overcoming this problem - and you should give yourself credit! You've figured out that a) you experience self-sabotaging behaviour, and b) crucially, WHY you experience it. You're aware of where it comes from. That's really hard to do and is half the battle, I think. Well done!

Now that you can see the root of it, you have the tools to head it off at the pass. When you see it happening, you can make different choices to reach the outcome that you want.

It's very, very difficult, and is something that you can only do one moment at a time. But once you start and see results, the accumulative effect is very liberating.

I should really start taking my own advice! Thank you for reading my blog - I hope it's helpful in some way. And good luck - you can do it!smiley

Best wishes,

Sarah Myles

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