Your mind races. Thoughts fill your head, drowning you in anguish. You can’t stop them the dark, sad, and painful thoughts. Your mind tells you bad things, and you can’t see pass that. You don’t know how to think any other way. You’ve done it for so long that it has become natural. You feel like you can’t breathe, your heart plummets, tears fill your eyes, and silently you scream out, “Stop!” But how do you stop? Is there another way of thinking?
The mind is a tricky thing. When it is sick, it can focus on is the bad side of everything. It plays games with you and sends racing thoughts. If there were an on/off switch to the mind, that would be a blessing, but unfortunately there isn’t. Fighting the mind is the hardest battle you will fight. It twists things around, it goes nonstop, and it tears you apart, but you can fight it.
Most of my life I drowned in negative thinking. My mom said I needed to stop seeing the glass half empty and start seeing it half full. I didn’t know any other way of thinking. My therapist gave me charts to fill out. The charts had at the top the date, a column for negative thoughts, and a column for positive thoughts. I had to write down my negative thoughts, then change them into positive ones. The charts weren’t big enough for the negative thoughts. I struggled to come up with a way to turn my thoughts into positive ones. It took me a while to learn how to turn my thinking around. I had to practice.
I’ve learned to combat and change my thinking by doing the charts. I can’t say that I never think negative and I’m positive all the time. No person is positive all the time. I struggle with my mental illness daily even though I’m in recovery. The bad thoughts are not as frequent as they used to be, but they still rear their ugly heads. Especially now that I am preparing for a ninth surgery and I still must lose weight so I can keep my back healthy.
After I had my back surgery, I gained a lot of weight. I’ve been trying to lose it. I started walking two miles to work. I’ve been struggling with my diet. My friend and personal trainer is injured, and we haven’t been able to workout together as much. She keeps telling me I must do the exercises on my own, but I’m not good at keeping myself to an exercise routine. As soon as I have my surgery, I won’t be able to do as much once again. I’ll be one-handed for two to three weeks. The negative thinking has already been tormenting me.
I don’t do charts anymore, but I use my journal to change my negative thinking. Here is an example.
I’m never going to lose weight. I’m going to be a big, fat slob the rest of my life. I’ll end up having more back surgeries and it will be all my fault because I’m lazy. I’ll gain all my weight back while recovering from yet another surgery.
I will lose weight. I’ve never gave up on anything before and I won’t start now. I’m a beautiful and strong woman and I will lose the weight. I will not have more back surgeries. I’m only having surgery on my hand and it’s a minor surgery. I will still be able to walk. I will work harder on my diet and I will not gain all my weight back.
You can also take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the Left side right negative thoughts and on the right side put positive thoughts. I’ll give you an example.
|NEGATIVE THOUGHTS||POSITIVE THOUGHTS|
|All these surgeries are my fault. If I weren’t so fat and lazy, I would be healthier. I’m a pig and I deserve to suffer. I might as well give up.|
Your Surgeries were not your fault. Most of them were caused by your job or bad luck. I do not deserve to suffer, and I am not a pig. I am a beautiful smart woman who will never give up.
Find away that works best for you to change your thinking. It takes time to learn to turn negative into positive. After you write out the positive read it over several times. Note how it makes you feel. Do you feel calmness? Do you feel happier? Do you feel stronger? Compare how you felt when you thought negatively to how you feel when you change to think positively. Note the difference. Don’t you feel better when you change your thought into something brighter?
I know when I write out my thoughts and I change them around, I feel like a weight being lifted off me. A peace fills me and the anguish in me lessens. Reading over the positive thoughts helps me convince myself they are true. I read them repeatedly until I believe them. It’s one thing to write them down, but another thing to truly believe that it is true. So reread your positive thoughts until you convince yourself it’s true. Try this coping technique and leave me a comment on how it helps you. You can even comment on how hard it is to do.
By combating my thinking and changing my thoughts into positive ones I stand with strength in the light of recovery.