Welcome! Thank you for visiting ADAPT: Advocates for Depression Awareness, Progress and Tolerance. My hope is to promote education, tolerance, progress, awareness and understand towards depression, through this blog.

Please visit the Mission Statement page for more information about me, my depression and this blog. Also visit Research and Talia’s Story and Observations pages for quick links to the various blog posts. Thank you.

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Cognitive Disorders

Cognitive Distortions are thoughts that cause reality to be inaccurately perceived. These inaccurate thoughts are usually reinforcing negative thoughts or emotions. This can lead to an anxious or depressive mental state when they combine to give an individual a negative outlook on their world. Cognitive distortions are also known as automatic thoughts. These thoughts are ingrained in individuals and affect the way they think. It takes time and patience to overcome these automatic distortions.

Here is a list of just a few of these distortions.

  1. All or nothing thinking:
    1. Also known as black and white thinking, it is ignoring all forms of in between or the ‘shades of grey’. This thinking also involves using absolute terms like ‘always’, ‘every’ or ‘never’. The thing to remember is that there is usually some grey in a situation and all or nothing thinking leads an individual to ignoring that.
  2. Overgeneralization
    1. Also known as categorizing, it is placing judgements or evaluations on an event, person or thing rather than describing the item or person. This thinking usually involves absolute terms such as ‘always’ or ‘never’. Overgeneralization causes individuals to ignore the facts and evidence in favor of their distorted vision.
  3. Mental filter
    1. This filter allows an individual to focus on a single detail (usually negative), about an event or person so that they overlook any positive. This thinking blocks out what doesn’t ‘fit’ with our ‘filter’ and is also known as looking through dark blinkers or ‘gloomy specs’. A mental filter causes individuals to ignore the positive or anything outside of what that filter provides.
  4. Disqualifying the positive
    1. This distortion causes individuals to overlook their positive experiences in favor of negative ones. It is also known as compare and despair, seeing only the good and positive aspects in others and comparing ourselves negatively against them. This can often be seen via Facebook, where people compare their everyday life to their friend’s ‘highlights reel’.
  5. Jumping to conclusions
    1. Mind reading
      1. Mind reading is assuming we know what other people are thinking, usually about ourselves. This distortion causes people to believe they can predict a person’s reaction or attitude.
    2. Fortune teller error
      1. Fortune teller error is assuming that a situation is going to end negatively despite lack of evidence. This can also be known as a self-fulfilling prophecy; because you assume a situation won’t end well, oftentimes it doesn’t because of that mindset.
  6. Magnification
    1. Also known as exaggeration or catastrophizing, this distortion causes individuals to overlook the one side in favor of the other. For example, overlooking the negative in a person by exaggerating the positive. It’s also known as making mountains out of molehills or imagining and believing that the worst possible thing will happen.
  7. Emotional reasoning
    1. This distortion causes individuals to take feelings as fact and base your decisions and actions on them. An example would be ‘I feel bad so it must be bad’. Individuals use this distortion to often put off doing something because they don’t ‘feel’ like doing it.
  8. Absolute Statements
    1. Absolute statements are words such as ‘should’, ‘must’, or ‘ought’. These statements raise expectations, and if these expectations are not met anger, frustration and disappointment occur. Absolute statements set up unrealistic expectations and can make people feel guilty.
  9. Labeling & Mislabeling
    1. Labeling is another form of black and white thinking. This is done by assigning either good or bad labels to yourself or other people. Again, there are no shades of grey and outside circumstances are not taken into consideration.
  10. Personalization
    1. Personalization is blaming yourself or taking responsibility for something that wasn’t your fault. Blaming others for something that is your fault, also falls under this category. This distortion is taking things personally when perhaps they didn’t involve you in the first place.
  11. Memories
    1. This distortion is when current situations or events trigger upsetting memories and lead you to believe that the danger is in the present rather than in the past. This causes distress in the present when the situation isn’t in the present, but in the past.

Perhaps after reading through these cognitive distortions, you realize that your way of thinking tends to lean towards these distortions. The first step to fixing these distortions is to realize that you have them. Please read the following article, Cognitive Distortions: Fixing the Problems for information on how to retrain your thinking away from distorted thoughts.

 

Cognitive Distortions

From: The Feeling Good Handbook

By: Dr. David Burns

 

http://jayuhdinger.com/chapters/faulty-thinking/

http://getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/AutomaticThoughts.pdf

http://getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/UnhelpfulThinkingHabits.pdf

http://getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/FindingAlternativeThoughts.pdf

 

My Story: Part 6

This is a continuation, part 6, of my daily journal of life after outpatient treatment for depression, and anxiety. Please click for Week 1Week 2Week 3, Week 4 and Week 5.

Part 6, Day 1:

I feel like my life is a rollercoaster. Somedays I feel good and other days, the IBSC is out in full force. I hate the IBSC so much. It messes with my mind. It makes me think things that aren’t ‘normal’. It makes me hate myself and my life. It makes me feel unwanted, unimportant, and unloved. The IBSC whispers in my ear telling me that I’m not a priority and making me wonder why anyone would  want me around. And unfortunately, my life experience agrees with the IBSC. Experience has taught me that most people don’t want to be friends with me; that for some reason, I fade into the background of their lives and am forgotten.

My BFF just found himself a girlfriend, and while I’m thrilled for him, I’m also scared for me. Am I about to lose my best friend? Because that is what experience has taught me will happen. I get dropped like a hot potato when something or someone else comes along. What happens if she doesn’t want him to be friends with me? And I know that this might not even be an issue, but my mind is constantly thinking the ‘what ifs’ of every situation. I’m just scared that I’m going to lose my best friend and then I’ll only have one person left. I’m so lonely lately.

Day 7:

I’ve been in a funk lately. Yesterday was a bad day. After my boyfriend left, I just sat on the couch and cried. I was so lonely and alone. Getting on Facebook and seeing everyone else having fun doesn’t help and I realized that I don’t have anything fun to post on Facebook.

I’m so frustrated with my life. I have 2 friends who I rarely get to see. I never have any fun and that’s all that I want. I want to have fun hanging out with my friends. Instead, I get to watch everyone else have fun, while I’m alone.

When I first started working nights, it was a huge change but now I’m grateful for it because my schedule is backwards. I’m usually asleep when everyone is out having fun so I don’t feel so alone, but now that I’ve adjusted, that feeling is starting to return. Forgotten, lonely, worthless.

I feel like I’m not worth people’s time or attention. I feel like there’s something wrong with me and that’s why I don’t have friends. I wish there was something wrong with me because then I could fix it and everything would get better.

Maybe the medication isn’t working anymore.

Day 11:

I’m excited and nervous because I’m going on vacation. Why would I be nervous about vacation? It’s the first time that I’m going on vacation having planned and paid for it myself. It’s actually my BF’s birthday present and I hope he enjoys it, I’m just nervous because it’s my first time saving up money and spending it on something that could be considered  frivolous. But I’m also excited to go on vacation with my BF. I could really use a break after the move and a weekend/weekday getaway (called such because we’re actually going during the week), will be perfect. Hopefully I will relax!

On the depression front, I’m still struggling. It’s better when I’m busy and don’t have as much time to think, which will make relaxing interesting. I think I’m going to see my doctor when I get back. I’m not sure if I need a higher dose of the medication or if something else could be the problem. Guess I should probably figure that out!!

Please stay tuned for Week 7. Here are the links for Week 1Week 2Week 3 and Week 4 and Week 5.

Perceptions

I once sat in on a communications college level class where the teacher said that when you communicate with someone, there are actually 6 ‘people’ involved in the conversation. There is you, the other person, how you perceive the other person, how they perceive you, how you perceive that they perceive you and how they perceive how you perceive you. That’s a lot going on in one conversation, but perceptions are a huge part of communication. How we perceive ourselves and others can color our views of ourselves, others and how we communicate.

Our perceptions are often not based on reality. What we perceive is often based upon our own personal realities and not based on fact. Our perceptions are colored by our experiences, feelings and beliefs, none of which are the exactly the same as another person’s. Perception is defined as ‘the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding’. Perception is a cognitive act and can therefore be distorted. Cognitive Distortions are thoughts that cause reality to be inaccurately perceived. Please see the article “Cognitive Distortions.”

Perceptions can cause problems because oftentimes one person will perceive something one way while another person may perceive it in another way. This can cause complications and confusion especially when the two people are not actively communicating with each other. Active communication can clear up any issues caused by misperception. By making sure that your perceptions are communicated clearly, and by understanding other people’s perceptions, you can have a better understanding of the world and environment around you.

Perceptions are a fact of life. Everyone is going to perceive ideas, beliefs and actions in different manners based on their experiences. Just because their perception is different from yours, doesn’t mean that either perception is wrong. The world is full of perceptions and beliefs that help us view and understand our worlds. Perceptions are not good or bad, black or white. They are what they are and it is helpful to understand that to better communicate with the world.

 

The Definition of Success

Success is defined as the accomplishment of one’s goals or a person or thing that achieves desired aims. In this definition, it doesn’t matter what your goals or aims are, you are deemed successful as long as you complete them. The goals could be short term like finishing a book or long term, like going back to school, however you are only successful if you complete these goals.

Our goals change as we grow and change. I know that I started off with one life plan only to be heading in a totally different direction once my depression hit. And while, I’ll admit that I like this plan better than the old one, I’ve discovered that my life rarely ever goes as planned. I find that even my daily plans change constantly which can be frustrating for someone who is searching for stability.

I don’t feel successful. Honestly, I feel like a total failure. I feel like I’ve let down so many people in my life because I don’t have a college degree and it doesn’t look like I’m going to get one any time soon. There are days when I feel successful because I am independent and live on my own, but because I don’t have a degree or a decent job, I feel like my family looks down on me with disapproval and disdain.

I want to be successful and I need to stop looking for approval from other people. I only need approval from myself. Do I approve of what is going on in my life? The answer is I’m not sure. I feel like I’m headed in the right direction with my dream of starting ADAPT, but I’ve had enough plans go awry to know that it might not happen the way I plan.

Do I feel successful now? No. In fact, I mostly feel like a failure, but will I continue to strive for success? Yes. I have to. There is a part of me that is constantly climbing that ladder to success and maybe someday, I’ll be able to look back on my life and say that I’m successful. I know I need to look at my life now, and say that I am a success. I am still alive, I am still fighting and I have new goals to accomplishment. I am successful because I am alive despite a disease that kills so many, but I don’t feel successful. Hopefully one day, I will.

 

Sleep: It’s Important!

We all grew up knowing that sleep is important. It helps us rejuvenate our bodies for another active day. But why is sleep so important for depressives? Sleep helps our bodies feel better and when we feel better, our minds are less likely to be as negative. The more tired we are, the worse our thoughts get.So here are some quick tips for better sleep.

  • Avoid naps during the day.
  • Sleep only as much as you need.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid excessive liquids in the evening and cut down on all caffeinated products.
  • Avoid watching television in bed and using a device with a bright screen (e.g. a smartphone, laptop) an hour before bed.
  • If you can’t fall asleep, get about and do something relaxing then try again later.

Remember to make your bedroom a pleasant place to be. Make it dark, make sure the bed is comfortable and make sure the room is a comfortable temperature. These conditions will help you enjoy better sleep.

These are just a few suggestions for enjoying better sleep. Please view the link below for more guidelines for better sleep.

http://media.psychology.tools/worksheets/english_us/guidelines_for_better_sleep_en-us.pdf

I Feel

I feel forgotten and ignored, like the whole world has forgotten or no longer cares that I exist, that I have wants and needs that I would like fulfilled. Forgotten that I’m a real person with feelings and emotions. Ignored like I’m not important enough for their attention, like I don’t deserve their time.

I feel lonely and alone like I’m on the outside looking in. I’m watching the rest of the world hanging out and having fun, while I’m stuck by myself. No one wants to hang out with me or be my friend and I can’t figure out why. I’m like that little kid watching everyone on the playground having fun while I stand off to the side, never invited to play.

I feel lost, like I can’t find my way. I can’t figure out how to get out of this funk that I’m in. I can’t find my way out of my depression. I have tools to deal with the depression but they don’t seem to be working when I’m down. Lost in my own life, trying to find my way, trying to find the next step and failing.

I feel worthless and unwanted, like no one cares what happens to me. I feel like no one wants to be around me and I don’t know if it is my depression they don’t want to be around or if it’s actually me. I feel like if it’s my fault, then I can fix it but nothing I seem to do works. I feel like I’m not worth people’s time or attention. I feel like there’s something wrong with me and that’s why I don’t have friends. I wish there was something wrong with me because then I could fix it and everything would get better.

This is how I feel when I’m depressed.

My Story: After Outpatient Treatment Part 5

This is a continuation, part 5, of my daily journal of life after outpatient treatment for depression, anxiety and avoidant personality disorder. Please click for Week 1Week 2Week 3 and Week 4.

Part 5, Day 1:

I’m starting to get really frustrated with this apartment search. I think being on medication has helped because I’m not as low as I could be, but I’m still not feeling very good. Half of the landlords won’t answer their phones or call me back and the other half don’t accept animals. I know I could submit my application for my ESA, but I really don’t want to have to fight my landlord for my rights as a tenant. This whole thing situation is a giant headache. Lately, all I want to do is sleep so I don’t have to face the problems that are in my life right now.

Day 3:

I found an apartment today. It happened totally out of the blue. I got a message from someone on facebook, I went and looked at it with my bf and ended up accepting it an hour later! My bf, the eternal optimist, is really excited about helping me move and I’m surprised he has refrained from saying “I told you so”. He was very optimistic that I would find a place before I had to move. I guess he was right. They even accept pets with an extra deposit. I’m actually starting to get excited. Initially I was just worried and nervous, but now, I’m honestly excited about starting over in a new apartment. Hopefully this is the next step toward happiness for me.

[Update 6/27] We actually talked about his lack of saying “I told you so”. He was amused that I had written about it in my journal entry.

Day 17:

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a journal entry. I’ve been very busy with packing, moving and cleaning. Now starts the unpacking portion of my move. I’m a little overwhelmed by all of the things I have, but a part of me doesn’t know how to downgrade. I’m a little bit of a packrat so it can take quite a bit for me to get rid of something. I’m actually very proud of myself, I’ve already gotten rid of two giant boxes and a couple pieces of furniture. It’s a good start, and hopefully I can get rid of more as I unpack.

I’ve been feeling better now that I’m back on the medication, unfortunately I haven’t been able to sleep very well lately and that is starting to take it’s toll. I’m a little more irritable and easily upset. It’s frustrating because I know that if I could get more sleep, I’d be feeling a lot better. Hopefully sleep will get better as I unpack and have less stress regarding the move. 

Please stay tuned for Week 6. Here are the links for Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4.