Do you ever feel like you never do anything right? I do. My baseline is feeling that everything I do is wrong to the point that feeling like I’m doing something right is a rarity. Anxiety keeps a running questioning in the back of my mind whether I’m making the right decision, saying the right words, or doing the right thing.

Feeling Like I Do Everything Wrong Is Debilitating

I’m fairly certain my anxiety came first, but the specific anxiety of doing or saying the wrong thing came after being repeatedly made to feel like I was doing the wrong thing. Growing up, there were so many times when I’d make a decision or say something, and it would elicit negative reactions from the adults around me.

What I mean by negative reactions is scolding me, exasperated sighs, mocking my decisions, and so on. It got to the point that it felt like I could do nothing right at all. I felt like a bad person and the anxiety around doing things, and decision-making in particular, started to fester.

All of that still lives rent-free in my head and dictates my day-to-day as an adult. Making decisions is a harrowing, often debilitating, experience. As a people pleaser (something I need to work on), I try to make decisions that won’t impact or upset anyone else.

That ends up looking like simple things like picking what to eat or deciding what to do for the day becoming impossible tasks.

I always try to make someone else decide. The result of doing that? People get frustrated and angry with me, furthering the feelings that doing everything wrong. I can’t even get things right by leaving the decision to them. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Somehow, my brain sees the backlash of forcing the decision on someone else as more favorable, so I usually go with that.

That doesn’t mean I leave absolutely every decision up to someone else, although decisions I do make on my own, I tend to hide or wait until the last minute to reveal. And making those decisions takes a long time of mulling over it and really assessing if I can deal with any consequences.

The Mental Health Impact of Feeling Like Everything I Do Is Wrong

I don’t think people understand the mental health impact of feeling like there’s not a single thing I can do that’s right. There are times when I could cry because I feel like such a failure, or I’m so upset that my thoughts drift to thinking things would be better if I weren’t here. 

I get the sense that folks just see me as being difficult or maybe immature. I’m sure some people think I’m being dramatic or stupid for not being able to make a simple decision. (I see this all as stigmatizing, by the way.)

Let me tell you, I wish it were really that simple. I wish I could do it and not feel like I’m making a terrible mistake. I wish I could quiet the ingrained anxiety in my head that says everything I do is wrong. Sadly, it’s not that easy, but I’m working on it. Please be patient with me (and others like me).

If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.

Author: Laura A. Barton

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