Friday, January 9, 2009

Dangers of Warpy Thoughts

I'm still waiting to pick up my prescription. Last few days have not been fun, but I'll put that down to withdrawal badly timed to coincide with beginning work again. Still, I've managed to get a small but non-zero amount of new things written down in my thesis, so I can't say to myself "I've done nothing this week".

In lieu of any actual help from the PCT Mental Health Team, I've been going it alone for a bit now, and my next step in trying CBT on myself has been joining up to MoodGYM. I flew through the first few pages because I know all about the warped, negative, thinking associated with depression, and I'd like to think I'm getting better at identifying it in myself, but I still have problems actually replacing it with something. So I'll let you know how (and if) this helps.

What prompted this post was that I've just finished reading an interesting article in the New Scientist about "emotional contagion" - how our behaviour and feelings are influenced by those around us and the people they hang out, and the people they hang out with in turn. Read the article, it explains it much better than I could here. Near the end, it points out that actually cutting ties with established friends may be going too far, but perhaps we should spend less time with people whose traits we do not wish to share - like negative thinking. Naturally, my negative-thinking brain thought, "true, I shouldn't inflict my bad moods on friends as it'll just bring them down". Fortunately I managed to halt half-way through the "they're better off without me" and stopped myself from withdrawing further into gloomy thoughts...but it did lead to a few minutes reflection on how "I'm so miserable no-one wants to be my friend" is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And of course, I'm one of the lucky ones who has friends. Many more people with social anxiety or an autistic spectrum disorder (or indeed, other problems) suffer from social isolation and depression and being reminded that we as a species are inherently social animals is as bad as being given the impression that people avoid them because they have "undesirable" traits - true as that may be. I had half a mind to write a stern letter to the NS about their responsibility towards such people, but realised that was a bit unfair. It's society as a whole that is biased against those who are not "normal". I'm fairly NT actually, but get riled about anything that discriminates against people with autism - and my own mental health problems are enough to mean that I struggle with a society that just assumes you can talk to someone on the telephone, say. And occasionally I feel the need to be the one who stands up and says "hang on a minute, you can't treat us like this just because we're can't complain" and promote understanding of autism and social anxiety and other disorders which cause complications with everyday social interaction. We need an advocate - someone to tell the "normal" people what it's like, to point out we are not incapable of finding a place in society if only they'd let us and make sure the disability equality legislation is applied (as it should be) to us as well.

Of course, someone capable of doing all that would be unlikely to fall into this group in the first place - that's why I don't do anything about it. I can't face going to a psychologist for therapy that could actually help me get better, I certainly can't stand up and give a seminar on how society is biased against those who have communication and social difficulties. Duh.

So rather than writing a rambling, rant-y letter that has no coherent point and therefore won't get published, I'll just post this instead. There's still the outside chance someone will read it. I mean someone other than the two, maybe three, friends who read my blog anyway. I've probably ranted about this at them before.

No comments: