When I was in major depression, negative thoughts started bombarding me in the early morning hours. And one negative thought led to another. First I’d worry about the money I had spent unnecessarily the day before. Then I’d think about the argument I recently had with a good friend. Then came the thought that I’d keep sliding into depression and never come out of it. Then it became little things, like forgetting to take my medication at the exact minute I was supposed to, anxiety about a commitment I had made that I shouldn’t have, and even that I forgot to buy stamps when I was at the post office two days ago. It was a mess.
I still have the same things happen to me today, but I have the tools to deal with them. For every negative thought I have, I think of something positive. Or I use the cognitive behavioral therapy concepts I learned: in the long run, it doesn’t really make any difference anyway, I can always backtrack on the commitment, I can apologize to my friend and perhaps we’ll grow closer as a result, and such “changing my stinking thinking” self-talk.
Or I can use the stimulus – response concept I covered in blogs 60, 61, and 62. That has been most important to me. Or I can change the scenery by listening to music, reading an engrossing novel, meeting with a friend, or watching a favorite movie. You get the picture. It is not easy to stop thinking negative thoughts; you need to replace them with something else.