There was a time, only a few years ago, that I believed that having a mental illness defined me, that there was nothing else about me. I knew logically that I was other things, but we all know that logic and thoughts don’t always go hand in hand when you are in the middle of disordered thinking.
This belief can sometimes come about because of the language with which we talk about our mental illness to those around us. I believed that I *was* depressed and therefore used it to define who I was, instead of saying that I *had* depression. It was through this line of thinking that I had become my thoughts, and believed them to be true.
Believing that my thoughts were absolute truth, is probably the hardest thing I have had to deal with. There are still times when I believe with all of my heart, the things that I am thinking. I find it hard to determine where the illness ends and where I begin. Even the thoughts that I don’t believe, I have to work hard to diffuse them, to stop them having power over me.
A lot of these thoughts, and beliefs have no evidence. I write them down on a piece of paper or imagine saying them out loud and suddenly they don’t have that same power over me. They seem silly, stupid even. The diffusion is just one step of the process though and the next step is to replace them with thoughts that are based in truth. This step is the one that I struggle with the most.
I can easily dismiss the thoughts as silly or stupid, I’ve had a lot of practice at calling myself names. However I still have that little niggling ‘what if’ thought growing in the back of my mind. What if the thoughts are true? What if I am unprepared because I believed that those thoughts were untrue? I start to trip myself up, and I get myself into a worry cycle.
The next step might be the hardest for me, but I am looking forward to seeing my mind blossom once it is no longer under the pressure of the negative thoughts. I can’t remember a time where those thoughts weren’t a part of my life but I know that I can do it.
Do you struggle with negative thoughts? What strategies do you use?
Linking up with Zanni for Sunshine Sunday