Black and White Thinking

There’s something that I notice happening whenever I start to feel hopeless about my life, my ability to do what others are capable of doing, maintaining and developing healthy habits, social interactions, as well as other things I find important.

I start to think with my emotions.

Part of the work I’ve been doing the past three years in therapy is Dialectical Behavior Therapy(DV which more or less involves noticing when we start thinking with our emotions instead of thinking objectively, looking at the situation, taking the logical course of action.

It happens more than I’d care to admit.

How can I learn to recognize the significant progress I’ve made? After all, I am so much better equipped to de-escalate any given episode than I was three years ago.

I take a deep breath as soon as I notice I’m thinking with my emotions instead of my brain and instead shift the conversation—whether internal or with another person—almost immediately. People notice.

I’m nowhere near perfect. I don’t think any of us are. There are times when I’m unable to draw upon the toolbox I’ve built with the help of my therapist and I end up going down a long and painful road of self-blaming, yelling, and unproductive lines of reasoning.

Nobody wants that.

There’s no magical solution. Carefully examining my thoughts, often through journaling, can help me practice bringing me out of these episodes, but these tools will only work when I’m of sound mind, able to think clearly.

I actually took this article directly from my journal more or less as is.

Ask yourself the tough questions of why you think negatively about yourself. Sit with them. Use your jounral as a workshop, leaving no stone unturned. Examine every single one of those thoughts by taking a magnifying glass to them.

You’ll be surprised by what you find.


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