I suppose all human beings have a natural tendency to compare “our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel,” causing or amplifying insecurities. But for those of us with a mental illness and/or addiction, the insecurities can be much more intense and the consequences much more severe.

In AA, we learn that before undertaking spiritual recovery, we are egomaniacs with low self-esteem. And even after becoming sober and stable, when we start comparing our insides to other people’s outsides, our spiritually unfit state of “restlessness, irritability, and discontendness” returns, leaving us prey to the insanity of active Alcoholism or even dry drunkdom.

Being dual diagnosis, with Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism, I can attest to the fact that “rating” myself by comparing what’s going on inside me with the “I have all my shit together” facade that others naturally project in social settings is an Autobahn to misery, social anxiety, deep insecurity, and suffering.

The sad irony is that it is premised on a gargantuan lie. Because the truth is, NO ONE actually has their shit together. While security, stability, mental health, and feelings of self-worth are on a continuum, and some people are in better places than others, no one is (or stays) at either end of the spectrum.

So the next time you are around other people and start to wish you “had it together” like the others, remember that we we all suffer and struggle.

And we never really know what pain or insecurity may be camouflaged behind a carefully crafted veneer.

“We all have the same tears, the same fears, and are only here for a short number of years…”

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