Dear friends have responded to my previous post regarding the last little bit where I expressed self-doubt about writing the blog. I want to clarify what I didn't at the time, which is that I'm sort of amused when I hear myself come up with that stuff. Even though I've been working on changing these thoughts for a few years now, they still crop up. But I'm generally aware of it. The reason I'm taking the Hunger Within workshop is because it's a major area where I'm not conscious of what I'm doing/saying to myself. But in writing the blog, I'm trying to be more aware.
In fact, one of the reasons I'm writing the blog is because I want to keep conscious; I want to stay focused on the process for myself. In my life, I've struggled with depression most of the time, I think. I've been deeply, deeply mired in major depression probably at least three times, for extended periods (years!). There have been triggers for each of them (social isolation in high school, my marriage/divorce, and the death of my father), although none of those have been the sole cause for the depression. So I feel I need to stay vigilant, especially now that I have the tools to do so. Writing about the tools helps me stay focused on the job at hand.
One of the best days of my life was the day I first did a CBT exercise. I had been suicidal, and I was in a brilliant partial hospitalization program at Chelsea Hospital in Michigan, along with others who were similarly distressed. I was asked to write down something that felt true to me, something that was weighing on me. And then to look at how many of these cognitive distortions I could attribute to this feeling. And then to rewrite the original, eliminating all the distortions. Could I see a difference when I thought about it without the interference of the distortions? And it was like night and day. From that instant, I felt like a different person. My sense of worthlessness pretty much disappeared. A few more weeks of the program, learning mindful meditation and other skills, and I felt ready to be in the world again. It was really one of the best things that ever happened to me. It still took me some time to deal with some fears -- I had a lot of them!
But it's true that I still feel self-doubt and so on. What's interesting is how quickly I (usually) pick up on what I was thinking that made me feel that way, and it almost always makes me laugh. The previous post's did too, but I hit "publish" before I added that part. In other words, I'm ok.