The task of mapping the thoughts and behaviors that reveal we feel stuck and more unhappy than we care to admit was undertaken by Dr. Evan Parks, clinical psychologist and professor at Michigan State University in an article in Psychology Today. today.
Although it is relatively easy for us to perceive that someone in our workplace or among friends is sinking into depression and has lost balance in their life, it is usually very difficult for us to perceive it when it happens to us. .
THE the stereotypes that often dominate the appearance of someone struggling with depression don’t help either. A depressed person may seem sad and withdrawn, but it could also be your co-worker, the teacher at your child’s school, or the cashier at the supermarket where you shop, and nothing in their behavior betrays that. and how trapped he feels.
It is interesting at this point that Dr. Parks’ observation of his own patients is that even when a person has been assessed by a specialist and has a high “score” on depressive symptoms, when asked if he thinks he’s depressed, he almost always responds with a negative response. In other words we are very good at deceiving ourselves. We carry on or try to carry on as if nothing different is happening in our lives.
And yet, there are certain signs, certain thoughts that reveal that all is not going as well as we would like to think. That we are mired in despair and despair, but insist on ostriching.
You have lost touch with what matters to you. You feel confused about your values and the meaning of your life. You have lost your meaning and your 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 type of deviation 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 are charging negative thoughts
As you are stressed and trying to explain what is happening to you and why, you tend to choose all the negative and pessimistic explanations your mind can think of and evaluate them as the only explanations available. You somehow activate the “self charge” of negativity and unhappiness and relentlessly perpetuate the mindset that triggers it.
In order to escape dark thoughts and control your bad mood, you resort to certain stereotypical behaviors to distract you from them, from shopping and gambling to abusing food, alcohol, drugs or tobacco, and in worst case scenario, you’re trying to hurt yourself.
cycle of despair
You are trapped in a vicious circle where temporary relief from your misery by the above means inevitably ends up leaving you in the same or worse psychological state and with some additional problems from past abuse which, in the long run, worsen the quality of your life.
Thoughts – trap
You are convinced that to move forward, you must get rid of your unhappiness, replace dark thoughts with “good” 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 traps you in a vicious circle that gradually worsens the situation.
Do the thoughts above sound familiar? Do you feel like you wake up every day thinking that today is going to be as difficult as yesterday and tomorrow won’t be different? Then you’re probably stuck in a vicious circle of mourning and you need to free yourself. You’re not alone. We all fall into the vicious circle of dark thoughts from time to time. But there are ways to break free.
Stages of change
The first step for Dr. Parks may seem very simple to us and we have surely heard or read it somewhere before, but it is true and effective: it is important to have compassion for ourselves. Our minds are good at self-flagellation and rarely so 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 way more than you can afford?
Don’t try to control your discomfort and sadness. Change them like magic. It is not possible. Accept your situation and take small steps in the direction you desire. 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 are writing the story of your life, and in that story you are the protagonist, not the victim.