I saw a post on this topic recently on Grounding Growth and wanted to continue the conversation. Definitely check out her stop the should worksheet. The word should can have several meanings, but the most relevant here is the one from Google dictionary, which Grounding Growth also referenced. "used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, … Continue reading Should-ing ourselves to death
I got thinking about this recently after talking with Meg at Why does bad advice happen to good people. Meg has the amazing ability to optimistically see the silver lining in almost any dark cloud, and I very much do not. It makes me wonder, though, whether that makes me a pessimist, or am I … Continue reading Where’s the line between pessimism and realism?
How To Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use by psychologist Randy J. Paterson challenges us to make our lives more miserable than the already are. The sneaky bit? He'll make us realize that we're already doing a lot of those things inadvertently. The book is broken down into 40 lessons, which are divided into … Continue reading Book review: How To Be Miserable
Core beliefs are the underlying beliefs that we have about the self, others, and world, as well as the future. They arise as a result of the experiences we've been through, including trauma. They are held as absolutes, and tend to be expressed using words like "always" or "never". They can take the form of … Continue reading Drilling down to core beliefs
We tend to create a lot of rules about how we should think, feel, and act. We may believe that there is some sort of objective truth to these rules, but the reality is they're really just mental myths. These examples come from Dialectical Behavioural Therapy: I don't deserve to get the things that I … Continue reading Mental myths that get in our way
I've written before about cognitive distortions, and in this post I'm going to focus on overgeneralization. When something bad happens, the message I take from that is the world is an unsafe place. This feeling of being unsafe spreads from whatever is related to the problematic event to the world in general. People hurt me, … Continue reading Overgeneralizing an unsafe world
I've talked before about my tendency to experience mind-reading as a cognitive distortion, i.e. thinking that I know what others are thinking. I also do the reverse; I expect those close to me to know when something's wrong. The problem is, they're no better at mind-reading than I am. I feel like I'm not very … Continue reading What, you can’t read my mind?!?
In psychiatry, magical thinking refers to the idea that there is a causal relationship between one's thoughts and the outside world; basically that thinking something makes it so. I tend to combine magical thinking with avoidance to produce a thought pattern of "I won't think about it and therefore it's no longer real." It's entirely … Continue reading Pass the magical thinking hat
Yesterday I outlined some of the common types of cognitive distortions. It's one thing to know about them, but actually recognizing them in ourselves can be a lot harder to do. It's all well and good to try to look for evidence against a possibly distorted thought, but what if there is a preponderance of … Continue reading Cognitive distortions: Getting personal
I'm sure many of you are already familiar with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but I thought it was still worth taking a look at cognitive distortions, a key ingredient in the CBT soup. When we're not well (and even when we are well) we tend to fall into certain common thinking traps. Recognizing that we're … Continue reading Cognitive distortions in CBT
I had a tough weekend. It started off badly with a friend contacting my brother to check up on me, which rocked the walls of the little cave I've built for myself. And then something happened with my safe person that made me feel very unsafe. The dark voice inside my head kept repeating "He's … Continue reading Allowing vulnerability
One of the (many) things I'm working on is checking myself on my thought gremlins – depression-related misinterpretations of things happening around me. Not stopping the misinterpretations (I'm nowhere close to being ready for that yet), but noticing them for what they are. This past weekend I was exchanging emails with someone in my life … Continue reading Reining in the thought gremlins
I've spent much of this month trying to decide whether or not to spend Christmas with my family. It's a subject that has caused a lot of torment and a lot of tears. I used to love Christmas. It was always a small, cozy, stress-free family affair. When I'm depressed, though, Christmas just doesn't matter. … Continue reading The mental illness teeter totter