How Do I Get Rid of Negative Self Talk?

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This is what I really hate: talking about myself. I know, crazy, right? Why would I have a blog if I hate talking about myself? I started this blog as a private journal of sorts to keep track of my daughter’s progress with her mental illness and as a place to store my poetry, most of which is about mental illness. I have sprinkled in some entries about my own mental illness and medication woes, as well.

I think the web is a good place for me to do these things because I don’t run the risk of my children finding the things I write in a journal at home. I also like talking to like-minded people who blog and/or who are dealing with similar issues as me. I think we can learn from one another.

Up until this point, I have written sporadically and not very often on this blog. I would like this to change from here on out because my psychiatrist has given me a new goal: to work on becoming mindful of and decreasing my negative self talk. What an order!

Apparently she thinks it is one of the main causes of my mood instability. I am stable now. I was depressed last fall and definitely had stress and anxiety from external events with major negative self talk. I was stable this winter with external stress but less negative self talk, not due to any conscious effort on my part, but just because my daughter was in the depths of her depression at the time, and I needed to remain strong and positive for her. I was hypomanic in the spring and my daughter was doing better – good thoughts all around. Summer started with extremely high external stress and major negative and perfectionistic thinking on my part which resulted in much anxiety and a bad depressive episode.

I think she may be on to something here. External events that lead to negative and perfectionistic thinking cause anxiety and depression. But like when my daughter was sick, if I don’t go into the negative thinking pattern, I might not fall into a depression.

(Of course, I was smoking during that time too, and I swear smoking wards off depression for me. It’s a great stress reliever and it literally increases the dopamine in the brain. No joke, look it up! But, that’s not an option for me anymore, so I’ll leave it at that.)

My plan is to write here every day or so to keep track of my negative thoughts. I know in general I try to do everything perfectly. Laundry is never behind, house in never dirty, dishes are always done, dogs are always clean, landscaping is always pruned, closets are basically organized, etc. Wow! I didn’t realize how anal I am until I just wrote all of that out. I really need to chill.

I also get very upset with myself when I make mistakes. Like if a new recipe isn’t great and I know my family thinks so, too, I will feel guilty and tell myself I am a terrible cook. Or if I lose my temper with the kids, I cry behind closed doors and tell myself how horrible of a mom I am. Guilt and shame run through my veins a lot more than I would like. I suppose my goal is to decrease that. Eliminate it completely? I don’t know.

I think it is normal to feel guilty when I do something wrong like yell at someone who doesn’t deserve it. I think the shame is excessive. Shame is probably not good. I think it is probably not appropriate to feel guilty for cooking a sucky tasting meal for my family. I need to watch my self talk with situations like that.

When higher anxiety producing events occur, like having out of town company stay at my house, hosting parties, etc. I really must watch what I think to myself, because usually the house, food, etc. all have to be perfect. I drive myself quite mad during the week leading up to and crash the week after.

When I can’t do everything I want to do because of my illness, I tend to shame myself and feel guilty. When I fall short of being the perfect mom, wife, friend, or daughter I tend to shame myself. I don’t know why I have such high expectations of myself. Do I fear abandonment? Is it some deep seeded need for approval left over from my days of growing up in an alcoholic home? Is it the first child syndrome?

Does it really matter why? Probably not. I think the most important thing that matters is how to change it. I must be mindful enough to recognize when it is happening and skilled enough to change the conversation. What an order!

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