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Monday, March 7, 2016

Yelling At Myself

Is there a difference between feeling low and feeling sorry for yourself?

This is more than an academic question for me. The events that trigger my mood dips are frequently petty and inconsequential. Usually, I can get back on my feet quickly if I'm able to identify what precipitated my slide. How skilled are you at doing this?

But when I have trouble identifying what started it all, guilt about feeling low in the first place further interferes with my thinking. And while in that reinforcing loop, my self talk sometimes sounds like this:

"You're not clinically depressed. You've experienced no significant trauma. Stop feeling sorry for yourself."

Ever try to stop doing something someone has told you to stop doing? Try this experiment: Say to someone - "Stop laughing" and watch them laugh uncontrollably. So telling myself to stop feeling sorry for myself might not be helpful. Consequently, the last time I felt low I tried yelling at myself like Cher did at Nicholas Cage in "Moonstruck" - "Snap out of it!" It worked that time - stay tuned.

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