Everyone is under stress these days and poor choices are creating impulsive behaviors resulting in feelings of regret.
Stress breaks us down even to the cellular level and can result in ulcers, migraines, cancer, hypo-(under active) thyroid or Hyperthyroidism (over active) thyroid problems, unexplained aches, pains, and many other physical ailments. Children are coming to therapy complaining of headaches, stomachaches, and feelings of exhaustion due to interrupted sleep patterns. Parents are labeling the stress and the results caused by the stress as Anxiety and Depression as they also feel stressed by homeschooling and work shutdowns. Parents are bickering and even domestic violence has increased and this adds to the emotional deregulation of children in the home. Stress can even affect our unborn children. There are several studies that reveal how stress can be transferred to the unborn child resulting in premature birth, lower birth weight, hyperactivity, and irritability resulting in the child having behavioral problems later in life. Sometimes stress is misdiagnosed in children as AD/HD and medication is inappropriately prescribed.
Often children grow to adulthood with compounding factors from when they were in the womb or from stress in their childhood and have no idea why they feel anxiety, depression, or a sense of confusion as adults. I have found that many individuals who have addictive behaviors have difficulty making good choices because of compounding effects on how they confront "adulting" issues (normal phase of life challenges). When these individuals are faced with a challenge and make poor choices they often will turn to drugs, alcohol, or sexual acting out in order to numb their feelings of guilt and shame. The bad news is your present self cannot run fast enough to outrun your negative thoughts about your past. You keep looking in the rearview mirror to find answers for your poor choices but what's behind you doesn't have the answers. So you keep running from the feelings that haunt and follow you. Like driving a car with the windshield blacked-out you keep speeding down the road with no idea where you are going. No wonder you feel your life is out of control. The good news is the future has the answers you seek and this is where you need to focus. By living your life today with a forward focused purposeful approach to daily living (cleaning the front windshield) you can overcome your past and leave it where it needs to stay-in the past.
Why do we make bad choices? Sometimes we don't have a good choice, but mostly we make bad choices because we don't consider the consequences before we make the decision. Someone offers us a weekend getaway and we jump at the opportunity. Weeks later we realize we spent all our rent money on the trip. At the store we are bombarded with advertisements and marketing schemes to create impulse shopping and we make purchases for items we neither need or truly want. Our present situations give us many opportunities to "jump" and it's only our ability to slow down our thoughts that will result in better decisions. Your present choices will become the regrets of your past in the blink of an eye. Regrets for past poor choices can plague you for a lifetime with feelings of guilt and shame. Working through those feelings and refocusing on your future with a therapist who can help you refocus will save you many years of self-condemnation. Therapy can give you hope in an otherwise hopeless situation and reduce both your stress and your regrets.