The next time you take a year off from college, spend it in a…
Get There Faster.
Sometimes things take too long. Fact.
Now sometimes it just feels like things are taking too long, We all know about that.
But then then there are times when things DO take too long.
Or maybe there are times when things too SOOOOOO long and we want to be sure they never take that long again if we can help it.
Well THAT is my new mission in life.
I have a few other missions, of course, but the mission that you might also benefit from is Getting There Faster.
So what does that mean?
Well, for one, as I’ve discussed
ad nauseam here before, it took me too long to seek out a better diagnosis and better treatments.
And I want you to learn from that. I want you to ask if you’ve been putting up with a bad or sad or mad condition for just too long.
If so, question your diagnosis and/or treatment because, like mine turned out to be, they might not be sufficient.
Okay, rant over.
Now let’s talk about a different kind of Getting There Faster.
Let’s talk about CBT and challenging irrational thoughts.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – which you can learn on your own – works great with depression, anxiety, OCD, addictions, and all sorts of other unhelpful thinking or cognitive distortions.
With CBT, you can learn to recognize when your thinking is harmful to you and undo it or change it so you don’t experience the harm. You can even learn to turn it around so that you receive a benefit instead.
There are different types of harmful thinking, generally called cognitive distortions, I’ll put links below to great resources that teach you what you need to get started.
But for now, we can think about these types of irrational thoughts or cognitive distortions.:
- All or Nothing Thinking – making an ‘always’ or ‘never’ rule about all events after a single event
- Overgeneralizing – making a rules after a series of coincidences
- Catastrophizing – jumping to the worst possible conclusion, usually with limited objective information or reason
- Mental Filtering – focusing on one small event exclusively, filtering out anything else that happened along with it or related to it
- Discounting the Positive – ignoring or invalidating anything good
- Jumping to Conclusions – making a decision without facts
- Magnification – Exaggerating the negatives and discounting the positives
There are more types of irrational thoughts and cogntivite distortions but these are a few that are easy to understand without much explanation.
And most of us do some of these on some level anyway. That level might not rise to the level of a disorder. In other words, we might engage in ‘All of Nothing Thinking’ from time-to-time without it totally messing up our life. It might just complicate our lives or annoy our partners and families.
But for many of us, these types of thought patterns DO rise to the level of a disorder, interrupting normal life and causing problems that ruin the quality of life.
For some of us, these thought patterns result in harmful or dangerous behavior. I won’t give examples. I’ll just say you know who you are.
And you know me since I’ve shared a bit about my history.
With CBT, you basically challenge that thought pattern. You basically debate your own thinking. You counter your irrational or unfounded thoughts with facts and more facts. And then more facts if your irrational thoughts are particularly hard-wired.
So if you are sure that everyone is against you, for instance, you can make a list of the people who are with you or supportive. If you can name one or two or a few people, then not everyone is against you. Maybe you have problems with someone. Or a few someones, But a few someones are not everyone. And you can work on a strategy to deal with those someones, whether that involves therapy, a support group or just conversations with people in your life who are helpful.
Maybe you can work on strategies by finding helpful tips on the internet or through self-help shows and podcasts that explain CBT. And now, because of the Covid years, you can find all sorts of great support on Zoom from the AA folks and other groups such as SMART Recovery. You can check out In the Rooms to find an array of support groups, including groups based on Buddhist principles and meditation.
SineI have shared that I have harm OCD – which for me includes intrusive thoughts of perpetrating violence – I can share an example. Graphic violence alert for those who don’t like that kind of stuff.
So when I walk my dog, I have visions of something happening where I must kill an attacker. Without going into extensive detail, I’ll just say that my visions involve extensive details. Extensively detailed scenarios. Anyone with OCD know how extensively detailed scenarios go.
I know that’s not the most fun thing to read, but that’s a good example of irrational thoughts. And it shows that OCD manifests in LOTS OF WAYS besides hand washing, door locking and fear of germs, I’m obsessed (pun intended) with making that point, obviously, If only to grab the attention of would-be-OCD’ers diagnosed only with depression and therefore insufficiently treated.
So back to the fun dog walks, I have to challenge my own thinking. So I go through a list of facts I have accepted to be true. The key is that I have accepted these facts to be true.
And I have recognized that my thoughts are irrational.
Like I know that millions of people walk their dogs everyday without getting attacked and killing their attacker. And I know that, if anything, walking a dog actually adds a layer of protection against violence. And I think about the logical reasoning that a criminal out to commit a crime most likely wouldn’t pick me, a little old lady (relatively speaking) carrying just a flashlight, not a backpack or purse, and walking a jumpy excitable dog.
I also remind myself of all the times I DO NOT have these thoughts as a reminder that it’s my OCD brain trying to trick me and not an actual likely-to-happen scenario.
So that’s a real life example of irrational thinking. And I am usually able to challenge my thinking pretty effectively.
It just takes a really long time.
And when I am not doing well, and cannot challenge my own brain effectively, walking the dog is a problem, Then the walks become quite short and close to the front door. And I spend way too much time planning my reaction strategy to various types of possible attacks.
So the topic today is Getting There Faster.
What does that mean?
It means that I’ve decided I don’t want to spend my entire day talking to my brain about whether I will violently kill an attacker.
So I’ve started making a list of facts I will just accept as true. I will accept them as true, skip the 10,000 lines of logic it takes to prove they are true, and move forward with living life.
For instance, I will walk my dog without fantasizing or fearing or obsessing that I might violently kill an attacker. I actually assume I am not going to be in that situation. I assume that because I have accepted the fact that the odds are so low that I do not have to worry about it or even think about it, much less prepare for it.
So now I am able to just walk Bella without preparing mentally for an extended period of tortured time.
I am able to Get There Faster. Get to the action or activity faster.
My new mantra.
Get There Faster.
And when I do Get There Faster successfully, I literally say to myself “Good job getting there faster.”
Because I’m like Bella. I wag my tail when I get positive reinforcement, Also, I remember that it feels good to Get There Faster and just walk Bella without the attendant nightmare.
Does it always work?
Of course not. Because my brain is insane.
But does it work a lot of the time now?
I am Getting There Faster.
And every day I do new things where I am able to say “Good job Getting There Faster.”
Sometimes I’ll report to one of the interested ears (attached to a human) in my life that I undertook an action or an activity “just like that” – without having to conduct a full investigation into every possible outcome of every possible scenario that could possibly occur.
And it’s amazing.
This past week I walked to the store four times without conducting a prior workup. I just got up and walked out. I had a little bit of house key drama, but much less than I used to have for sure.
But as they say in AA, it only works if you work it.
So check it out. Resource links below.
And enjoy all the time you’re going to free up by Getting There Faster!
It’s not just my new mantra! It’s my new lifestyle, I hope.
Happy Sunday. 🤎
xoxoxo, dee (and bella)
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Celebrities who have discussed their anxiety disorders
This Post Has 4 Comments
Wow! Insightful stuff- I guess we all have a little CBT issues in each of us. Got some clarity in this post.
Yes. Which means we should be teaching CBT in the first grade.
Or sending everyone to therapy. : )
A friend once said that everyone should receive a year of therapy upon graduation from high school. 🙂
Thank you for being so open about your struggles. I feel there is some really good stuff here, to help when I fall into “a hundred indecisions… a hundred visions and revisions”. I like the self-praise aspect very much. Somehow it never occurred to me that I could give *myself* positive reinforcement.
Ha ha ha.
I think you have to add the positive reinforcement to really make it stick.
And I should have mentioned that the positive reinforcement is also more fun if you jump up and down and shriek. Obv.