Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Judgments

I'm currently participating in a dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) group, and our assignment this week is to track our judgments. Have you ever tried this? We are literally expected to carry around a piece of paper and track how many times we make a judgment. I'm finding this assignment a bit challenging but quite enlightening.

The definition of judgment is the formation of an opinion after consideration or deliberation. A judgment can be good or bad. It may be about others or ourselves. Any judgment at any time qualifies. What I'm finding is judgments rush through my brain at an amazing clip. There doesn't seem to be any consideration or deliberation, and that makes them nearly impossible to observe. Judgments are everywhere.

Everything from, "He's so cute," when watching Jet play, to "Geez, she's cranky today," when working with a typically cheerful patient, are judgments I've observed this week. Okay. So what? Well, while those two judgments may seem innocuous, the judgments I'm observing are more instantaneous, almost always negative, and much more difficult to track. They are the steady stream of judgments I make about myself. Innocuous? Probably not.

This is, of course, the whole point to our assignment, to bring into awareness our personally aimed negative judgments. If I stand back and look at what I've told myself in just the past hour, for example, it's a wonder I accomplish anything. According to my internal dialogue, I'm not skinny enough, smart enough, or good enough to associate with any of you. Comparing myself negatively to others appears to be something of a hobby. It's a wonder I'm not curled up in a corner somewhere.

I would never tell my friends or any of my patients the things I tell myself. Yet here I am bombarding myself, blowing holes in my psyche. Keeping track of my judgments has been enlightening. I mean I knew I was hard on myself, but I don't think I realized the prevalence of my negativity. The thoughts occur without a thought, that is without awareness, yet they've definitely got to have an impact.

The lesson is clear. Now that I've been made more aware, I've got to begin to challenge these thoughts and hopefully, over time, decrease their prevalence. The result of doing so can only be positive, I think, and definitely worth the effort.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a useful exercise. I've carried a clicker with me and clicked each time I had a negative thought. It sounds like a similar principal. It is a way for you to be more mindful of your thoughts.

- Virginia

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

This sounds like a very useful exercise. I, too, am very hard on myself and tell myself things I would never consider saying to another. It's really hard to change, but I'm trying. I worry about being too judgmental of others, too. I have a hard time distinguishing between an opinion and a judgment of someone. I keep hearing "Judge not that you be not judged" from my childhood.

I'm sorry I've been missing lately. I've not been online as much. Lots of anxiety over a possible change coming up in my life. But it's good to be back!

Tammy Warner said...

Once again you have enlightened me to something I know I do, but never gave much thought. Thank you! I'm going to try to pay closer attention, but like you said, I can't imagine writing them all down, I know there will be many more than I have ever realized.

Nemya said...

It's amazing what happens when a person changes their thought pattern. Not easy, but as you've said, definitely worth it.



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