Emotions (Part -3)
Can fantasies lead to Depression hijacking ground reality?
The exercise we spoke about in my earlier blog that involved 40 college going spread across 6 months. The reason the exercise was initiated to understand why there are dropouts, suicides and clinical depression setting in on a surge in society among students. The aim was to create an awareness and help those kids in need. The exercise showed us that irrespective of the age group, every individual fantasizes. College going kids, who admitted to fantasizing about their future had a considerably lower scale of depressive symptoms at that given moment or period. But, lead to an increase of depressive symptoms a couple of months down the line. The subject under emotional and behavioral observation slowly started to live out their fantasies starting to make repetitive mistakes. We then took into consideration the grades of those 40 kids from college. It turned out that most 32 from among them had lower grades which a few months down the line began to represent itself as the source for depression and making wrong choices yet again? We then took these students for corrective therapy and over a period of 9 months slowly and gradually created a change in thought process and gave them a helpline number to call when in need of assistance.
An individual indulging in excessive fantasies considers it a source of protection against factors that pull his or her self-esteem down.
An individual indulging in excessive fantasies considers it a source of protection against factors that pull his or her self-esteem down. But they fail to understand that this is only a short term relief. Its like popping a crocin for a headache. In my world I consider fantasizing as the Bermuda Triangle. Once you have hit it deep, you can never get out. Resulting in lower efforts, wrong choices, irrational decisions and lower rates of success.
Our circumstances don’t make us who we are. We become what we are today based on how we have reacted to situations and circumstances. Our attitude to the outlook of life. I would relate irrational thoughts to a commonly used psychological term “Cognitive Distortion”. Thoughts blown out of proportion can and will lead to irrational thoughts and behavior. These are common. But can be pretty hard to recognize if not looked into keenly. Most of the time these arise as automatic thoughts. They become a habit. They become so much of a habit that the individual often fails to recognize they have the power to change it. Many tend to regard this as “This is how it is meant to be!”
We become what we are today based on how we have reacted to situations and circumstances. Our attitude to the outlook of life.
Cognitive distortions or Irrational thoughts can leave a deep and scar on the person’s emotional stability, leading to increase in stress, depression, and anxiety. When left unattended to, these automatic patterns in thought can remain etched and may influence the rational, logical way of making a decision in a negative manner.
A few common irrational thoughts could be:
- Either / Or, - When one fails to see there could be a grey area
- Self Blaming – I should have known this would happen. Its all my fault.
- Selective Attention – Focusing only on those that give you a positive feel and ignoring the obvious.
- Denial – Failing to recognizes symptoms deliberately and living in denial.
- Fallacy of Permanence – Assuming that things are meant to remain the way they are.
- Labeling – Marking out one situation and assuming that’s how it would be forever in the future as well.
- I just cant stand it – Assuming things are worse than what it actually is.
- Everything will be fine – Continuing to deny the obvious and telling self that everything will be ok. (This is good. Keeps you positive, but, denying to see the obvious will lead to a catastrophic disaster)
- Emotional Reasoning – I don’t feel positive so I will take a day off. Why? I don’t know!
- Jumping to Conclusions – Assuming you know it all about what the other person is thinking.
- Double Standards – When you expect someone else to behave differently to a situation than what you do!
- Self-Obsession – Focusing on yourself paying no attention to how things might affect others.
So what are irrational beliefs?
- I don’t deserve positive attention.
- I should never burden others with my problems or fears.
- I am useless
- I am not creative, nonproductive, ineffective, and untalented.
- I am powerless to solve my problems.
- I have so many problems, I might as well give up right now.
- I am so dumb, I can never solve anything
- I am the ugliest, most unattractive, unappealing, fat slob in the world.
- No one cares about another person.
- Everybody is dishonest and can never to be trusted.
- No one has a control over how things turn out.
- People always use you.
- People are so opinionated
- You are bound to get hurt in a relationship
- There is a loser in every fight, so avoid fights at all costs.
- It’s not who you are but what you do that makes you attractive to another person.
- What counts in life is others’ opinion about you.
- Always remain in guard to avoid getting hurt.
Do these sound familiar in any way?
Stay happy, but start to think rationally.