|Don's Depression Blog|
Shortly after being laid off, Don is at home, not knowing what to do, laying bed, thinking and feeling depressed. He fills out this first stress log describing the situation, his feelings and automatic negative thoughts.
Don has challenged the thoughts in blue
Click on them to see his Thought Challenge exercises
8/13/2012 02:45 PM
Laying down in bed in the middle of the day
I should not have lost that job
I let them treat me like garbage
At my age I'll never find another job
Discounting the positive (like the fact that Don has indeed financially supported his family for the last thirty years) is a common cognitive distortion.
Underlying beliefs, like “I am a loser” can explain why Don has other negative thoughts more specific to his current situation, like “I’ll never find another job”
In this second Stress Log Don tells us about how his current unemployment is starting to affect his relationship with his wife.
8/15/2012 06:45 PM
Having dinner with wife she tells me I'll "surely" find another job
She knows nothing about finding jobs
She doesn't really think I'll find a job
She'll wait a little longer and when I run out of money she'll leave me
Nobody could want to be around me
Don is focusing only in the negative aspects of his situation and fails to see any positive support from his wife
People undergoing emotional stress tend to see things in black or white and their negative thoughts usually have absolute words like “nothing” or “nobody”
Don is looking for jobs online. Even while trying to think about practical aspects of which are good jobs, or how he could improve his resume, there is a running commentary of automatic negative thoughts in the back of his mind. Fortunately, Don is learning to identify this patter of thinking and he is reporting it in the Stress Log.
8/16/2012 10:15 AM
Sitting in front of computer, looking for jobs online
This is a waste of time
Many younger and better qualified people will apply to all these jobs
My situation is hopeless
While searching for jobs online, Don was barely aware of this running stream of negative thoughts. Many times the thoughts that bring the most negative emotions happen at a subconscious level, but can usually be brought to consciousness easily.
Don’s therapist helped him identify these thoughts by asking what he is thinking or assuming about himself and the situation when he feels distress.