I’ve been living with depression for seven years of my life. During the early parts, I frequented the counseling office in my hometown. My therapist gave me a key piece of advice that has helped me in many situations. I had a “negative thought loop” and the tools she gave me to manage this pattern is one of the strongest tools I still utilize to help me live a more enjoyable life.
The negative thought loop is an ego driven thought pattern which is based in negative self-talk. For example, if I were to fail a test tomorrow, my negative thought loop might begin with the egotistic thought of, “That was really stupid, I should have studied harder.” This leads me to feel negative about my performance, and eventually my ego concludes that “I’m just stupid.” The cycle keeps going down and down into a spiral, taking my well-being with it. This negative thought loop would take a hold of my consciousness. I would feel trapped by negative energy with no motivation to even get out of bed and I would have suicidal thoughts as I felt I had no other way out. Worst of all, I had no awareness that this was occurring in my head.
What my therapist explained to me was that it was my ego who created these negative thought patterns and to alleviate the harm caused by them, I need to identify these thoughts and step out of the loop. I found that meditation was the best way to visualize the loop. I close my eyes and visualize my brain as a series of connections to different thoughts. This allows me to see the thoughts that are causing harm. Once these thoughts are identified, I am able to consciously avoid continuing the negative self-talk.
This tool became the turning point because it has allowed me to live a life no longer dictated by depression. At first, I struggled to identify negative self-talk, but eventually it became second nature. Despite this, there have been times where I’ve severely relapsed, yet by remembering this tool, I’ve been able to pull myself out of the clutches of depression. If you are suffering from depression, I hope you find use of this tool like I did. Please do not give up because I believe you can get through this!
– Written by Clark