Going through a rough patch
Sometimes the only thing we can do is sit tight and tell ourselves that things will improve. One thing that is guaranteed is change. Each day focus on what you can control. Focus is so important when you feel anxious/depressed.
Make a list of things you can do today, no matter how small that could improve things or lift your mood in any way.Something that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has taught me is to not take my thoughts so seriously. We all have intrusive thoughts that take us to the worst case scenario and frighten the life out of us, but if you can distance yourself and remind yourself that your thoughts aren’t reality it might help.
Always try to challenge your thinking. I do this regularly. I have attached a list of common thinking errors.
The common ones are:
Catastrophising – where we imagine the worst case scenario
Mind reading – where we assume we know what other people are thinking eg. They can’t like me very much etc.
Predicting the future – no one knows what will happen in the future, so try to keep an open mind
Negative filter – we only focus on what isn;t goodBlack and white thinking – I am good or bad, a success or a failure. Life is never black and white – think about the grey too
Critical self – constant self criticism increases anxiety and depression.
All those types of thinking are NOT based on evidence – learn to acknowledge the thoughts but then dismiss them. I imagine thoughts as leaves on a river – they keep coming and they pass me by. I watch them come and go. I try not to focus on the unhelpful thoughts. When you pick up a leaf and examine it ( metaphor for focusing on a thought and ‘buying’ into it) it takes up your focus and affects our emotions.
Learn to be mindful of your inner mental diet and let the thoughts flow past without taking too much notice – I am mainly referring to negative unhelpful thoughts.
We don’t experience reality directly, we perceive reality through our personal filters.
If we are easily triggered by abandonment or perfectionism, we will be hyper vigilant of this type of threat in reality and these filters will ‘colour’ the way we see the world. When we are aware of this, we can make allowances for these thoughts too.
Hang in there, it will get better. In the meantime, the most important thing you can do is take care of yourself and show yourself lots of self-compassion. That means treat yourself with kindness, like you would someone you truly love and care about. You are special, you matter and you will get through this.