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Recognizing Depression Thinking… doing a strategy to stop it!

05/13/2010

Logging Depressive Thinking from the Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression

Leaving depressive thinking unchecked it will clutter the mind with thoughts of negativity leading to destructive thoughts like “Nobody cares about me.” “I just want to die.”  I don’t find anything enjoyable and I just don’t care anymore.” DEPRESSIVE THINKING CAN BE EXAMINED AND SORTED THROUGH AND CHALLENGED.

Keeping a journal of depressive thoughts and feelings can enable you to evaluate them and see their flaws… the first challenge is to recognize them.  For example: You might first think ” I am useless.” This idea can link to the idea that you are powerless to change, which can link to a sense of hopelessness.  Once a depressive circle of thought is seen, you can defuse it much like the example here.

Addressing this self-defeating thinking then involves pulling them from your stream of consciousness.  How do you record a stream of consciousness?  By a pocket sized notebook, tape recorder or computerized device like your cellphone for notes or even messages to yourself…most phones have voice record notes or messages to remind yourself.

Thought Logs:

Experience:__Thoughts about the Experience: _____Thought related Reactions:

Depressed Mood_______When will this end_____________Frustration____
_Setback at Work_______I’ll Lose My Job_____________Panic, Hopelessness
By practicing this approach above you can separate depressive thoughts from your stream of consciousness….

Feelings to Thoughts Technique:

Depressive Feelings________Translations into Depressive Thoughts_

I feel hopeless                                   I tell myself that my situation is hopeless

I feel helpless                               ___ I tellmy self I can do no positive changes__
I feel worthless__________I tell my self I have no value and no good outlook

Do the same for yourself with these exercises of your own thoughts…… take the time to help yourself and most times to do this is when you are positive so when you are down you can read it to yourself….

Here are the 6 main themes we all go through in depression thinking:

Negative self-perception: This thinking typically includes self-doubts and self-downing. An example is you think of yourself as routinely confused and think ill of yourself.

Pessimism: This thinking projects an ominous belief that the future, others, and situations will be bleak. Pessimism leads to depression.  An example is “I am doomed.”

Powerlessness: This is a classic form of depressive thought.  When you think that you can’t control events that matter and view yourself as helpless, you will likely experience your future as hopeless. This form of thought includes viewing yourself as overwhelmed and unable to act and that you can’t help yourself.

Negative bias: People with depression tend to have a selective  bias where they zero in on the negatives in their lives and memories can trigger this depressive thinking as well as sleeping or sitting around doing nothing in the powerless state.

Demandingness: This black and white thinking relates to how you, others, or the world ought to be.  When your expectations spark demands for compliance to inflexible personal standards, this distorted pseudo need can lead to frustration, self-blame, and anger.  The words that typically accompany this state of mind include: “should” “ought” “must” “require” “need” “demand” “expect”.

Distortions: This is like looking through a warped lens.  A common distortion is that of overgeneralizing from negatives.  For example, after making an error, you think you can’t do anything right.  Distortions include reading too much into situations, such as thinking that if someone doesn’t greet you, they must hate you.  This thinking makes mountains out of molehills.

When you monitor, recognize, and label depressive thought themes… you have taken a step in the direction of controlling them and throwing them out of your mind.

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