Trying to turn negative thinking into something positive

AnxietyDepression

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So each time I meet with my therapist, we go over two tracker sheets that I keep a record of throughout the time in between each session.  The Coping Skills & Mood Tracker is a simply a record of each time I feel a negative emotion or I experience a flashback, and whether or not the coping skill used was positive or negative. The Dialectical tracker is for keeping track of the different types of Grounding and Coping skills to see what I gravitate towards using.

The problem is that I’m using distraction almost all the time, so I’m not really doing much to try and improve and I end up gravitating towards temporary release.

So we’re trying something different this week, I made a new sheet that I call the Thought & Emotion Tracker.  In this she wants me to take each negative thought or emotion that I feel and use Rational or Wise mind to turn that negativity into something that is at least neutral or even better, a positive.  When she suggested this, I asked her, “so I actually have to believe what I’m going to write down on this sheet?” (Believe me I can write down just about anything and tell her what she wants to hear).

So in response to that statement she said, “well it would be nice, but the important thing is to keep reinforcing positive thoughts. Keep working on training your brain to develop new responses to traumatic memories and negative thinking. In time, the more you do it, the more you will start to believe it even if you don’t think you will.”

I guess it’s good that I realize that just telling her what she wants to hear isn’t going to do either of us any good. Maybe that’s a bit of progress right there in itself?  Then again, it’s probably not that big of a deal and not a small victory as much as I think. I mean it’s just common sense right, telling someone what they want to hear isn’t helpful turn-negative-thoughts-into-positive-thoughts-300x194 Trying to turn negative thinking into something positivefor either of you.

See, I just did it again right there. I could have just backspaced out of that last statement and you’d never know, but I want to convey a bit of how my mind works.

I am an expert at minimizing anything positive, and taking any victory no matter how significant and turning it into something less than an accomplishment. Minimizing is a form of negative thinking, at least I think it is.

The more I focus on my past, even if I’m minimizing it I’m still thinking about it, and that keeps it in the forefront of my mind so I don’t dare suppress these feelings again. The more I suffer, feel pain, try to embrace flashbacks, and dwell on my past, I’m ensuring that I will not ever regress and slip back into suppressing like I did for 30 years. I am so hell bent on never going backwards that trying to understand how I can heal and not forget, just doesn’t compute with my brain yet.

So how do I take all the negative thoughts about my past, realize how much they affect my daily life in the form of loneliness, depression, anxiety, & worry, and turn them into something that rational mind and wise mind would say?

Well, I’ll have to force myself to think through each negative thought and emotion logically and not rush to a judgement. It will require being mindful, in the here and now, which I’m not real good at it. Actually I kinda suck at it. However if I can work on that, I can probably come up with some pretty positive responses.

However, it’s going to be a lot of trial and error, and repetition.  In time maybe I’ll actually start to believe what I’m going to be telling myself, which would make my therapist very happy.

-Lyric

 

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Blogger-Podcaster-Advocate for Mental Health.

Matt is survivor of childhood sexual abuse & narcissistic abuse, living with Dissociation, Anxiety, & PTSD.

This blog exists to inspire all who have survived the trauma of abuse. All posts, podcasts, and videos are my life as a survivor shared openly and honestly to help inspire as many as possible to speak up, speak out, and not be ashamed.

4 Responses to " Trying to turn negative thinking into something positive "

  1. Very good discussion. I think once you’ve been traumatized, a person becomes very good at acting or responding to life and other people in a way that keeps us hidden. At least I know I do that. I’m learning how to dive into what is present in my life with picking up all the attached fuzz balls connected to it. Unfortunately I collect a lot of fuzz balls. I think talking about it, writing about it, and making statements of discovery is exactly how we do what we need to do to heal and live life. I appreciate you sharing what you do. It helps me put things in perspective as well

    • Lyric says:

      Hi Don,

      I have so many fuzzballs collected inside my head even the worlds biggest Swiffer can’t possibly handle them all.
      Writing about this, even though it’s only been about a month and half since I started this blog, has been an unbelievable experience for me. In this short time I’ve connected with so many amazing people who all just want to live their lives, survive each day, and learn to thrive no matter what their past has burdened them with.
      Reading blogs from people like yourself and interacting on social media continues to help me get more comfortable with reaching out and telling my story.

  2. I also have a strong tendency to use distracting skills when I am faced with overwhelming emotion. Although this is better than dissociation, I would like to see myself slowly being able to confront my negative feelings without being completely overtaken by them to the point where I literally cannot function.

    • Lyric says:

      Hey Joy, thanks so much for the comment. Means a lot! Right now I’m contemplating going back to school for a major career change and it’s creating all types of anxiety and negative emotions. Can I do it, will I have time, money, can I pass the courses, etc. My negative emotional mind is trying to take over and I have to fight it off with distraction and somehow figure out how to use wise/rational mind too. If I don’t I’ll never go through with it.

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