Changing the "automatic thoughts"

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Imhotep

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#1
It may be a long post, but I am both trying to give insight and ask for help and advice
I am now in one of the most depressed and anxious episodes ever. It is a nightmare.
However, I am now aware that the reason for my ever repeating episodes of depression and anxiety are these negative "automatic thoughts" that I have about myself, the thoughts that first come up in every incidence, big or small, from performing at work to merely washing the dishes, these thoughts that I am useless, unsuccessful, always at fault, other people are always better than me at everything, I don't know how to "life". Only recently I managed to get the "breakthrough" of challenging these thoughts, daring to ask myself "maybe I am not the worst piece of s*** in the world?", "why do I always have to bash myself?" after all I am a human like anybody else, all these totally negative thoughts and low self esteem about myself can't be true.
Now comes the hard part that I am struggling with, how the heck do I change a 30 year old habit of low self esteem, self depreciation, and self bashing? It is my very core and these thoughts are my most natural reactions to everything, I try to challenge them with logic and perspective and it sometimes works but most often not. What's even worse is that trying to challenge them and replace them with a different "core" only made them worse and stronger.
Is it really possible to change your "core preconception" of yourself? or are these thing so thoroughly built firm inside my mind that I cannot do anything about them?
 
S

Smac

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#2
That's one of the biggest things I found to be exhausting. The negative little voice in my head. It would be relentless. Telling me that I'm useless, wouldn't it be better if I just went to sleep and didn't wake up. I've only just been prescribed sertraline and I'd be interested if anyone has any insight into helping shut up this persistent little bugger in my head.
 
Victorianna

Victorianna

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#3
My therapist says talk to yourself like you’re advising someone else. If a friend came up to you and said, “I’m so worthless, I can’t do anything right”, you of course would say, “That’s not true! You have a good job, people can count on you, you are smart...”, you get the idea.
On these forums we are always seeing people saying negative things about themselves, and we always counter them...”No, that’s not true!” Because it isn’t! The same is true for yourself. The negative thoughts aren’t true. So be kind to yourself, just like you would to another.
 
Bizzarebitrary

Bizzarebitrary

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#4
Only recently I managed to get the "breakthrough" of challenging these thoughts, daring to ask myself "maybe I am not the worst piece of s*** in the world?", "why do I always have to bash myself?
Well done. This is good example of how to begin chipping away at the thought pathways carved deeply with depression gunk. Take a moment to offer yourself a word of praise each instance when you challenge an automatic thought.

It's very possible you've already have done cognitive therapies, to anyone reading this who has not: CBT is a program that teaches challenging negative thoughts, changing black and white thinking, reframing self-defeating thoughts, disrupting automatic thinking.

Now comes the hard part that I am struggling with, how the heck do I change a 30 year old habit of low self esteem, self depreciation, and self bashing?
I certainly struggle with it. Like a habit that's hard to break. I have to take a moment to acknowledge every victory, every success and every instance in which I've grown in my day to day life - no matter how trivial or seemingly insignificant it is.
Then - at least for me - it seems to be a matter of sufficient time, sufficient effort and most importantly, an ever growing toolbox of skills and techniques.

Neural plasticity is the basis for belief that its it's possible, no matter how many years a habit of the mind had taken hold.

Worth mentioning- I cannot do this effectively when my symptoms are out of control, there's insufficient bandwidth. Reducing overall depression symptoms is vital.
 
R

Ramson bangers

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#5
I always generalise my episode because im sick to death of it but still cant stop thinking about them, as if they done me a huge favour.
I had some serious back up. Once i showed i was in pain the universe helped me out alot. I was forced to open my eyes and at the same time became sensitive to alot, i mean i put myself in the position where i represented everything and that was a big mistake in the conscious thinking world. No code or atleast not one thats understood by others. But i put it out there. And however innocent i know it to be, it created a situation were evil was directed my way.
I would come downstairs to grab a drink (whilst zombified) and catch a glance at the news who were talking about me for political reasons. I saw a bit of britains got talent and they were saying how the 'dog needs therapy'. Music came out around this time some for some against but it played havoc on my mind. I had created a fair game environment and mental torture was the means for peoples revenge. But hey its still a secret and i guess the sign of madness is to go do it again. I just want to say this. I find positive in negative all the time, beauty in ugly, thats all. And that goes for everyone who knows.
 
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frogsplash

frogsplash

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#6
people who are prone to/suffer from depression have the issue of their thoughts tending to have a negative bias to them, along with ANT's (automatic negative thoughts). this isn't the fault of the sufferer (it's unfair for example to say that the sufferer made their own bad situation by thinking 'wrongly' etc), and it is very often the case that when the depression is successfully addressed, the negative thoughts ease

you can certainly try to ease the negative thoughts with mindful thinking and cbt, but ultimately, in a situation where even the experts dont really know if depression causes negative thinking, or negative thinking causes depression, it could be deduced that the best way to tackle negative thoughts could well be to get on effective depression medication for example, in which case when the meds are working, the negative thoughts will ease and often completely disappear (this is the case with me, i did'nt have any success with mindfulness and meditation, CBT, or diet changes, exercise and so on, and only found relief when i got on meds which worked) .. everyone's experience and case is different though, and no doubt mindfulness and meditation, CBT work for many people

my advice is to try anything and everything, until you find what works for you
 
P

Pollypop

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#8
Hi frogsplash, I too have been unsuccessful with mindfulness, meditation cbt etc
I have been on many different meds for many years and along with the cbt etc.

I am now on 90mg duloxatine and 15 mg mirtazapine.
I have not been on this combination for long so I am waiting to
see how it goes.

I agree about trying anything and everything until something works.

(if it ever does- negative thinking again)

Wishing you well. Pollypop
 
frogsplash

frogsplash

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#11
hi Pollypop i hope you have good luck with your current meds, it can be a pain waiting for them to work and getting the dose right. glad you are trying and hopefully feeling better for summer :)
 
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Pollypop

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#12
Thank you frogsplash.
I booked a consultation and will be seeing the psychiatrist who
prescribed the meds I am on now.
He has worked on dosage etc.
I see him on Friday.
I will post what happens.
 
P

Pollypop

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#14
I’m afraid I didn’t get to my appointment today.
My husband was too ill to take me.
It was a bit embarrassing as I had to cancel at short notice.

I have to phone on Monday to try to make another appointment.
His secretary was not in today and she deals with his diary.

As I’m sure you will understand it was stressful for me
having worried last night and was trying to make notes
this morning.

I don’t like using the phone so I will have to spend the weekend
trying not to think about it.

Thank you for caring
I will try to report back. Pollypop
 
P

Pollypop

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#15
I have just had an idea frogsplash (that could be dangerous)!! Joke.

Maybe I could send an e-mail to the secretary first and then
follow on with whatever happens. (?)

Pollypop