I suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s one of the things that I constantly struggle with. It’s mostly a matter of the following thoughts running through my head over and over again:
* I’m not smart enough.
* I’m not doing a good job
* I’m letting people down.
* Why can’t I get my act together?
Often all it takes is a sideways glance from a supervisor or coworker or a mental shock to my system (being told that something wasn’t good enough when I thought I’d done a good job) and my mind is off to the races, creating no end of troubles that I can ruminate over again and again.
“Gentlemen, start your recriminations!” the voice in my head exclaims, as the obsessiing begins. The sad thing is that when this happens, not only do I obsess about the present, but every failure, embarrasing gaffe or blunder comes along for the ride.
My therapist, who I am very glad for at times like this, says it all has to do with some kind of childhood trauma that set those patterns. I think the record that seems to play over and over in my head at times like this is missing side 2.
Why can’t I obsess about good things? The project that went well, or the time my wife was so excited because I sent her roses twice on our anniversary? The moment at which I figured something out after a long drawn out effort? What is it about our brains that won’t let us focus on the positive, at least those of us who suffer from this malady.
I’m proud of myself today though. I sat down and did my exercise that I’m supposed to do when this happens. I wrote down what I was feeling, what triggered it, and then started looking at the facts and realized that half of the things I was starting to get upset over weren’t worth it. I was amplifying a few minor things and discounting the things that went well.
I wrote down the things that were going well, and then I wrote down a rebuttal to all of the feelings that were making me feel bad. And guess what, I felt better immediately.
That may seem like a small accomplishment, but 3 months ago, I wouldn’t even have the energy to write this. I would have been in my bed instead, trying to get unconscious so I ddin’t have to deal with it.
So at this point I am going to celebrate small victories. Tomorrow is another day blah…blah….blah.