How I Was Trained to be Depressed – Part 1

This is going to be an embarrassing post but I’ve (sort of) come to terms with that. I’m going to admit to some things that I’m not really proud of nor are they admirable in any way.

I believe that through out my life I’ve trained myself to react to certain situations, not merely with depressed feelings but frustration, anxiety and some times plain old anger (which can all lead to depression).  These behaviours began when I was a little girl.

The last child of the family, I was undoubtedly spoiled. So much so that I would throw tantrums when I didn’t get what I wanted. Like throw your body on the ground kicking and screaming type tantrums (it was a good thing I was cute because I don’t know how else my parents dealt with this nonsense). It eventually stopped as I grew up but sometimes, even to this day, my leg twitches in response to frustrations. It’s very rare as a 30-year-old woman that it still happens but ever so slightly in the rarest of circumstances I can feel my leg beginning to make that kicking movement. As a child, it was a reaction to not getting what I wanted and as an adult I needed a new way to deal with these undesirable outcomes or instances.

Jump to high school and nights of procrastination to observe an additional negative behavior. Even though I worked and studied very hard, there were those moments as a result of procrastination where I’d lash out in frustration if I was struggling. I remember tossing a chemistry textbook across the room once and throwing up all my papers (throw it up, throw it up, watch it all fall out). Luckily, I had a patient older sister who would calm me down.

As an adult, I have a bit more control over how I react, but the extend of it hasn’t changed much. My reactions may be considered more appropriate for a grown woman (thankfully).  But when I face uncertainty or trying times, I can react with anger and anxiety, instead of taking a rational perspective. For example, I recently took a job that was lower pay than my previous but I knew the smart decision was to take it for the experience. Now instead of reacting in a normal way to this, I felt extremely upset and depressed. It took me a while to reason out my thoughts and come to terms with my decision.

I think I am particularly wired to react with raw emotions instead of taking a reasonable outlook. And having never learned an alternative method, my instinct has always been to freak out. My system goes to “flight” instead of “fight” 9 out of 10 times. This recent situation was even more of a struggle because I didn’t have my ex as support. My emotions were running rampant without him to help me reason it out.

As a grown a** woman, it’s time I learned another way. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been beneficial to this because it teaches a new way to think. Instead of freaking out, I can use new beliefs to fight my emotions. For instance, with the new job I could approach it as a temporary situation and remember that I am a qualified person who will move on eventually. My negative reaction was caused because of thoughts such as “I’m a failure.” I know I’m delving a bit deep here but I truly believe this is all connected. I also do not think it is this simple. My next post on this topic will further explain!

How I was Trained to be Depression – Part 2: The Freak Out

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