The Woe is Me Syndrome- Causes, Cures, and Effects.
Having suffered from what I like to call the “Woe Is Me Syndrome” off and on for many of the teenage and adult years of my life, I like to consider myself an expert. Since I’ve only recently “cured” myself, I certainly can sympathize with the masses who are going through the same thing. I hope my words can point those inflicted with what I’ll call ‘WIM Syndrome’ in the right direction.
I went from a state of mind where I considered there to be many stresses and saddening things happening in my life, to knowing my life is wonderful. This change happened in a matter of months, with not much effort. Very little has actually changed in my life; only the lens by which I view it and the vessel for that lens.
Let’s take a look at what WIM Syndrome, what causes it, and what to do about it.
The Woe Is Me Syndrome
We’ve all known this syndrome personally, or at least been around those who have. It’s easy to spot. A pattern can be found. I can fix that problem I guess, but what about this OTHER problem? What about my chronic stress? What about my chronic anxiety? What about my chronic depression!? Another way to recognize it is an extreme and quick fluctuation in emotion; a roller coaster of exciting events and sadness/discontent. Excitement, sadness, excitement, sadness, and so on. When there is no foundation by which to stand, we are so easily pushed back and forth by the day-to-day. WIM Syndrome is an addiction like any other thought-based addiction, such as power and greed. The WIM Syndrome feeds upon itself within the affected person, reproduces exponentially, and is highly contagious. It consumes minds with extreme Ego takeover.
Cause #1: The Negativity Magnet Ball.
Our minds are powerful tools. Like certainly attracts like, especially when it comes to thoughts. They have a habit of building upon themselves. If we experience something negative in our day, everything after the negative incident can be smothered with a dark outlook before the day can be seen for what it truly is (perfect). Whereas if we were having a good day, everything that happened to us would seem a little brighter, the positive thoughts would build upon themselves until we’re given what looks to be a fantastic day. But except for that bad or good start, the rest of the day may be exactly the same.
We tend to add to our negative thought process by mulling over the stressful aspects of our lives. We scan over them continuously, trying to figure out how things could have been different or worrying about how it is going to affect us in the future.
Not only do we perpetuate this on our own, we ask others to jump on board. We complain, and search for sympathy. Understandable. Sometimes we forget though that this only adds fuel to the fire.
A wonderful quote that I unfortunately don’t have the memory to give proper credit to goes: Hurting people hurt people. This is true. As we go through our day in a sour state, a Negativity Magnet Ball rolls behind us, small at first, but collecting others and growing with its power. Frowns attract frowns. A curse attracts a curse. Sadness attracts sadness. Before you know it, we take a look around and there is nothing left with light or love. It has all been smashed by the Negativity Magnet Ball. You know those days when one thing goes wrong, and then everything following seems to go wrong? This is the momentum of the Negativity Magnet Ball. It’s not that the universe is conspiring against us, it’s that we are fighting tooth and nail against the universe.
Cause #2: Stagnation of Mind, Body and Soul.
When we are in this negative mindset, nothing reminds us of the importance of taking care of ourselves. We are too consumed by our stress or sorrow to feel like being active or doing the things we love. We go to work as drones, sleep a lot, eat quick and nutrient-poor foods, watch T.V., and spend no time learning or interacting socially.
Stagnation of mind, body and soul can and does happen to many, even those who are not suffering from WIM Syndrome. We do not read, we do not learn anything new, we do not exercise, we do not take an honest look at ourselves. This is stagnation. When our body and mind are stagnant, our very core begins to rot away. We feel consistently worn down, we get sick a lot. When in this state, experience is far away and our minds only take in the parts of our daily lives that bring us immediate sadness or excitement, and then we mull over it for days, weeks, or even months. Our minds do not grow when we do not take the time to learn anything new. They begin to shut down, like a glitched computer that is repeating the same error message over and over again.
I’ve explained my absurdly simple cures below. Though before we get into them I must make it clear that recognizing comes first. I don’t mean to bust out the clichés, but the first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem.
Cure #1: Stop the Negativity Magnet Ball.
Slow down. Look at your current state, and how you got there. While being completely honest with yourself, have you made every possible step, looked at every possible angle to fix the problems you constantly worry about? No? Then try. Yes? Nothing you can do about it? Then stop thinking about the negative aspects. Stop talking about it. Stop listening to sad music. Stop looking for the bad so that you may justify the way you are feeling, because you will most certainly keep finding it, and will fail to be justified. Stop bringing others into your strife and allow them to perpetuate it, leaving them sticky with negativity. Need help or support? Ask for it. Don’t need help? Then there is absolutely no reason to bring it up; to others or in your mind.
Cure #2: Exercise Your Mind, Body and Soul.
Take a half-hour walk after work each day. Read the paper, a novel, or best yet, something non-fiction. Learn. Discover. Take up a new hobby or skill. Turn off the T.V. Go on a hike. Ask big questions. Discover who you are, and what “soul” means to you. Meditate (the benefits are endless). Learn about religion, philosophy, look into others ideas about what it all means and then form your own. I promise, it’s not as scary as it sounds. End your restlessness and find your place in the world. Take care of yourself. All life is a delicate balance. If you neglect your mind, body or soul, you’ll never fit together properly.
I challenge anyone reading this who is living with a stagnant mind and body to take at least one half-hour walk and read for at least 40 minutes every day, and tell me that it hasn’t enlivened you up a bit. Don’t forget, we only use 10% of our brains; There is lots of room for stretching! The tools we are born with are ever-evolving, if we push our capabilities. We are meant learn, discover and experience. It is who and what we are.
So, let’s recap.
WIM Syndrome Causes: The Negativity Magnet Ball and Stagnation of Mind, Body, and Soul.
WIM Syndrome Cures: Stopping The Negativity Magnet Ball and Exercising Mind, Body and Soul.
Not only do WIM Syndrome sufferers spread the disease, they add very little of value when it gets really bad. People that are lost so far into their own Egos have a harder time contributing to the well-being and love of others and the world. They become so wrapped up in their own strife, it becomes an owning, as though to say This is my misery, It belongs to me, I live in it, and no one can take that away from me. Well, this is true. No one but yourself.
This reminds me of another tip. Help someone in need, friend or stranger. Volunteer. Give comforting advise (without perpetuating the bad). It will bring you joy and fulfillment and help you to forget about your own worries.
Why should you even care to break away from WIM Syndrome? Well, because you matter dammit. You matter so much that you will create a ripple in this universe that will never die. If you feel healthy, joyful, and content, then you will have the peace-of-mind and insight to help others strife and perhaps the strength to start The Positivity Magnet Ball…which is exponentially more powerful.
**There is an amusing end note I’d like to share. I definitely still fall back sometimes. As I finished the first draft of this article, which took me a very long time to do, I went to save it again and it took me to the log-in page. All of my drafts were gone. All was lost! It took me a good 10 minutes to collect myself, and TRUST ME, collecting was needed. I had to trust in my own words, breathe deeply, and start right over. The irony of the universe and coincidences like this, no matter how you interpret it, add quite a learning experience. Always be looking, always be open to the lessons. I am learning right along with you.