I don’t always like to start my posts with “this week in therapy,” but … this week in therapy, I’ve absently pointed out that my negative thoughts have been more present lately. When I think about my negative thoughts, I don’t really see them as something to get rid of right now. They are here, they are not going anywhere, and I have to figure out how to deal with them. However, what bothers me is that my negative thoughts are very persistent. They can come and go whenever they want and the hardest time to deal with them is when I forget they exist.
Negative thoughts can seem pretty self-explanatory, but the way they work is usually more complicated than you think. It’s not just self-loathing, and it’s not just self-talk. At the heart of a negative thought is the idea that you are less than and the many ways negative thoughts manifest themselves all come from this basic idea.
It used to feel like it was easy to spot my negative thoughts, but it has actually become more difficult to spot them. Depression is adapted to the fact that I recognize negative thoughts, so she tries to disguise those thoughts in other ways. I do not lie down; I’m just looking down at the way I do things. I reduce my decisions, my opinions, even my likes and dislikes. It’s more subtle, but these negative thoughts work as they always do – which can sometimes make them difficult to spot.
Depression sometimes puts me on autopilot and when I do I forget to be prepared for those negative thoughts. I forget how dark these thoughts can get if I don’t keep them in check. I wish I knew how to get rid of negative thoughts, but the truth is, I don’t. What I can I remember they exist and that I feel much better when I acknowledge this.
At this point in my mental health journey, negative thoughts are persistent. They are always around trying to cause damage. Sometimes I deal with these thoughts in a solid, healthy way; Sometimes these thoughts come to me and I have to go back and try again. But either way, it was much better for my sanity to acknowledge that there are negative thoughts than to pretend they aren’t.
That’s one of the key points of my approach to mental health: knowing what to do with is half the battle. Just knowing that is enough to get to the next moment, to upgrade again the next time. This is definitely true when it comes to negative thoughts. They may not be easy to deal with, but it can get easier over time. Negative thoughts may be persistent, but so am I. And I’m not going down without a fight.