I found a way to help myself fight negative thoughts! During inpatient treatment, one of the coping skills we learned was “CCC – Catch it, Challenge it, Change it.” The idea is identifying (catching) the negative disordered thought, challenging it, and then changing the thought to a positive one. It never seemed to work for me. However, I’m trying a more in depth version.
We write social stories for the kids. They’re stories that explain the appropriate way to act in a given social situation. For example, “When I am frustrated with work, I can ask for help. I cannot hit.”
I wrote my own social stories. It seems to help solidify the argument against my negative thoughts. We write much simpler ones for the kids!
So far, I have 2. One is about spending time with friends and one is about control.
1. Sometimes my friends are busy. Other times they may prefer a different activity or miss spending time with someone else. This does not mean my friends dislike me.
Hurting myself won’t change the situation. I can be happy my friends are having fun. I can ask my friend to hang out later. Even when I use my words to ask my friends to hang out, they might be busy. I can say, “Ok. I’d love to hang out some other time.”
Using behaviors won’t take the loneliness or jealousy away. It also won’t change anyone’s plans. In fact, using behaviors when I am upset with my friends could make them unhappy and then they might withdraw from me.
2. If someone else did what I did, would I be mad at them? If I would be mad at them, would I think they deserve to be starved, hit, stabbed, or burned?
Will what I say or do create positive change? Will it help the situation?
Will what I say or do hurt someone else or make them upset?
Do I control the situation?
When I am upset I can use my words to say I am upset. Using my words to show I am upset is a good thing. No one knows what I am trying to say with an unsafe body, but they can understand why I am upset when I use my words. My family and friends are happy when I use my words to name emotions.
I need to use my words to create change. Hurting myself solves no problems. I also have to realize I can’t control everything. Things will happen that I disagree with. It is okay for me to disagree with people. And it is okay for others to disagree with me. People do not think I am stupid or dislike me just because they disagree with me. It is not okay to hurt myself, talk to friends about hurting myself, or complain/ whine to anyone.
It is okay to calmly, logically, and privately talk to the person I disagree with. I can do this instead of hurting myself, talking to friends about hurting myself, or whining. If someone continues disagreeing with me, that is OKAY too! I can say, “Thanks for hearing me out.” and feel proud of myself for using my words, staying safe, and being nice.
Sometimes even when I use my words as well as possible, the change I’m seeking may not happen or I will still feel upset. It is okay to feel upset when I don’t get my way! If my words don’t work, behaviors won’t work either!!! Therefore, I cannot use behaviors or talking about behaviors to change people’s feelings or minds. I can do my best to SAY my thoughts and feelings.
When people don’t react the way I want them to, I am allowed to feel unhappy. I am not allowed to hurt myself, talk to others about hurting myself, or talk to affiliated 3rd parties about my concerns.
I am proud of myself when I use my words to name thoughts and feelings. My family and friends are proud of me too. I need to accept that I can’t control others’ thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Using my words gives me the best chance of getting what I want and feeling happy.
Feeling won’t kill me, but behaviors might. Hurting myself won’t make up for anything I did wrong. When I am upset and I’ve tried using my words to express myself, I am allowed to feel upset. I can let myself FEEL. Healing takes feeling.
Some days I might be too upset to sit with my feelings or I might make mistakes and complain or be unsafe. That is okay; I am human. I still need to stay safe and do the next right thing!! On those days, I can either distract myself until the emotion is manageable or release my feelings in a safe, kind way. I can safely, kindly release emotions by: Head banging on a pillow, talking to someone who isn’t involved, ripping putty, throwing a stress ball against the wall, or running. When I am calm, I can problem solve and process.
In other news: Ginny was around during half of lunch. I brought nothing today. Therefore, I didn’t have anything to grab and eat like I did the other day. I feel guilty about that because I promised I wouldn’t use behaviors in front of her. On the other hand, she was only there half of the time. She wasn’t eating lunch. I wrote the first social story when I heard she went to grab food with Iris. I felt jealous and angry because (FOR ONCE) she wasn’t working during 2nd lunch, but she didn’t eat with my boss and I. I hope my restricting doesn’t discourage her from hanging out during 2nd lunch. Maybe she thinks I ate before she got there…
I want to send these social stories to Ginny, but she wants to minimize talk about disordered things and behavior. So, even though I think she’d appreciate them and maybe think they show maturity or growth, I’ll settle for posting them here.