The task of mapping the thoughts and behaviors that reveal that we feel stuck and more unhappy than we care to admit was undertaken by Dr. Evan Parks, a clinical psychologist and professor at Michigan State University in a psychology article today.
Although it is relatively easy for us to perceive that someone from our work environment or friends is sunk in a depression and has lost balance in their life, it is usually very difficult for us to perceive it when it happens to us.
He stereotypes that often dominate the look of a person struggling with depression doesn’t help either. A depressed person may appear sad and withdrawn, but it could also be your co-worker, your child’s school teacher, or the cashier at the supermarket where you shop, and nothing in your behavior betrays what is on your mind. and how trapped you feel.
It is interesting at this point that Dr. Parks’s observation of his own patients is that even when someone has been evaluated by a specialist and has a high “score” on depressive symptoms, when asked if they think they are depressed, they almost they will always give a negative answer In other words we are very good at the art of fooling ourselves. We continue or try to continue as if nothing different is happening in our lives.
And yet, there are certain signs, certain thoughts that reveal that not everything is going as well as we would like to think about ourselves. That we are plunged into hopelessness and despair, but we insist on ostriching it.
You have lost touch with what matters to you. You feel disoriented about your values and the direction of your life. You have lost your meaning and purpose, you feel disconnected from what matters to you.
in the void
There is a gap between what you want and what you have, between who you are and who you want to be. While this kind of gap isn’t necessarily bad, it can be a motivator for change and growth, but it can also be incredibly stressful, exacerbating hopelessness and pessimism about life itself.
You carry negative thoughts
As you are under stress and try to explain what is happening to you and why, you tend to choose all the negative and pessimistic explanations that your mind could think of and evaluate as the only explanations available. Somehow you are activating the “self-charge” of negativity and unhappiness and relentlessly perpetuating the mindset that triggers it.
To escape dark thoughts and control your bad mood, you resort to certain stereotyped behaviors to distract yourself from them, from shopping and gambling to abusing food, alcohol, drugs or tobacco, and in the worst case you try to hurt you.
cycle of despair
You get caught in a vicious cycle where temporary relief of your misery by the above means inevitably ends up leaving you in the same or worse psychological state and with some additional problems due to the past abuses that in the long run worsen the quality of your life. life.
Thoughts – trap
You are convinced that in order to move forward you need to get rid of your unhappiness, replace black thoughts with “correct” positive thoughts. You assume that the “normal” human condition is happiness, and surely you are wrong somewhere and it is your fault that you are not happy. And this way of thinking locks you in a vicious circle that progressively worsens the situation.
Do the above thoughts sound familiar to you? Do you feel like you wake up every day thinking that today is going to be as difficult as yesterday and that tomorrow will be no different? So you’re probably stuck in one vicious cycle of mourning and you need to break free You are not alone. We all fall into the vicious cycle of gloomy thoughts from time to time. But there are ways to break free.
the steps of change
The first step for Dr. Parks may seem very simple to us and surely we have heard or read it before, but it is true and effective: it is important to have compassion for ourselves. Our minds are great at self-flagellation and rarely as good at compassion or acknowledging our positives.
The second step requires you to honestly assess how beneficial your dark thoughts are to your development. Are they costing you much more than you can afford?
Do not try to control your discomfort and sadness. Change them like magic. This is not possible. Accept your situation and take small steps in the direction you want. This approach will help you.
Remember that you are not defined by your thoughts. You don’t have to be controlled by the dark voices of your mind. You write the story of your life, and in that story you are the protagonist, not the victim.