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Author: RosemarysBaby Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 15005  
Subject: Re: Are depression and inner anger the same thin Date: 2/21/2005 1:32 PM
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Personally, I think anger can turn into depression if you don't deal with it.

I have done lots of things wrong in my life, too. I used to dwell on them a lot--now I only dwell on them a little! :-) I guess I figured out that, until someone invents a time machine, there is no way that I can go back and change anything at all, so I have two choices--I can feel sorry for myself that I didn't choose A and chose B instead, OR I can move forward and think about what I learned from the experience and resolve not to repeat it, and go forward and not look back quite so much.

I admit, some days it's a lot harder than others. But I did get over some of my internal anger.

I think that's where cognitive behavior therapy is useful, either with a professional or do-it-yourself (to a point).

A couple of years ago, I had to make a timeline of my life. I was going through RCIA, the classes you take to convert to Catholicism. Well, I ended up not converting, but the timeline was very helpful. The project called for me to make a timeline of my life, with significant life events, and note when I felt closest to God, and furthest from God. Well, that was pretty hard because I'm not a very religious person and never have been, so it turned more into an exercise of when I felt good about myself, and when I felt bad about myself, and when I was happy, and when I was unhappy. I figured out that I was happiest when I felt good about myself, and unhappiest when I felt bad about myself.

So the next part of my self project was to figure out why I felt bad about myself, and I divided those reasons into internal and external factors. Most were internal. I had internalized external things over the years (external things being that certain people didn't like me in high school... being rejected by the college I wanted to go to.... being rejected by a man that I loved very much... getting arrested for a DUI... having some ill-advised relationships... some other bad choices that I made....) and over time I had sort of translated some of those things into "I am a bad person because I did such and so."

Then I looked at the stuff that made me feel good about myself, during the times when I was happiest. The things that made me feel good about myself included the times I helped my family, did volunteer work, etc.

And then, sitting there looking at this chart I made of my life, I had kind of epiphany and realized that I was not a bad person or a good person... I am a person who has done good things and bad things, made poor choices and good choices.

And once I could tell myself that, I realized that in my internal self-talk that seemed to continually say, "RMB, you suck... why did you move away.... why didn't you take that job... why did you drink while driving, you idiot..." I was lying to myself, or at best only telling myself half of the story, because I never, ever said, "Wow, RMB. Good for you working at the soup kitchen, and good for you tutoring for literacy..."

Sorry, this turned out much longer than I'd intended. I guess the point of all this is that all of this is what CBT does--it looks at how you think and points out where your self-thoughts are getting in the way of... yourself. And how to redirect those thoughts in more positive ways.

Anyway, I don't mean to sit here and blow sunshine up your butt... I know that it can be really difficult. I hope you take steps to feel better about your life and yourself, whether it's steps you can take yourself, or under the guidance of a counselor or doctor.

RMB
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