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CBT, Negative Feelings and Work

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CBT, Negative Feelings and Work

Postby Robonaut » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:16 pm

Hello there,

I was wondering if somebody out there has a strategy on dealing with negative feelings when being in an "unavoidable" situation.
Imagine, there are things to be done at work, and suddenly or not suddenly you have a strong feeling of depression or anxiety towards the work you are doing. It is so strong that it it paralysing.
This can be seen equivalent with any kind of activity that can be perceived as uncomfortable, e.g. taking care of household chores. I'm referring to repeatedly occurring situations and strong feelings that do not vanish after a while, but more of long-term negative feelings.

Not to start a random discussion here are the strategies that have been suggested to me so far in cognitive behavioural and schema therapy and what happened after:

- don't be too perfectionist with your work, re-think goal setting and values
Result: ok, I tend to be perfectionist, but if I don't deliver, not even talking of good work, but any work at all, it will have negative short- and long-term outcomes. Not a catastrophe, but it will make me feel bad after.

- take a break, become an observer of your feelings, let them pass
Result: I conclude that it is the work that causes the bad feelings and I avoid them by not going on with working (which can have immense negative consequences, less with chores, but more in a professional context)

- change "I must ..." formulation into "I decide to..."
Result: Doesn't work for me in this context, because the awareness of possible consequences when I decide not to continue is even more paralysing. Also, if I would have the choice, when I'm depressed it would always be retreat, because this would be my strongest need in this moment.

- stay in the moment, don't think about bad things that happened in the past, and not about unknown outcomes in the future
Result: I stay in the moment, calm the overwhelming feelings down, but if it is the work itself that bothers me, the "moment" is the unpleasant place to be, neither the past nor the future matter in this case.

I was thinking a lot about the difference between actually needing to stop working and doing sth pleasant, and laziness. Where is the border? How to raise motivation in a moment or days of depression when there are just things that need to be done (not in my head, but in fact)?

Has anybody experienced sth like this and found a solution for him/herself?
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Re: CBT, Negative Feelings and Work

Postby Indescribable » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:23 pm

Hello Robonaut, I don't know whether my coping method will work with your situation, and it's more about avoiding feelings than dealing with them, but here it is, with an example.

I personally get really anxious about wrapping things up to mail them. To my mind it equates to the thing already being broken in the mail and numerous negative feelings and self loathing follow. But I don't get anxious (as much) about the individual steps involved in the process. So l just go to the drawer and get the bubble wrap and the sticky tape. Next I just put them on the table. Then I get the item I need to wrap. Then I cut a piece of bubble wrap the right size. I just keep on step by step, trying really hard not to actually think about the process as a whole. I will still feel a little bit of stress, but at least I get it done rather than putting it off till it's too late. Perhaps this is a form of mindfulness, I don't know.

I also use a little bit of CBT to get myself to start the process at times. I did some self-help CBT for social anxiety disorder but got impatient and cut it down to asking myself just two questions - what is the worst that could realistically happen, and what is the likelihood that it will happen. I found those two questions really help me in a lot of situations. In my mail-wrapping example the worst that's likely to happen is the thing breaks in transit but it's not actually likely because I have the ability to wrap a thing up safely, and that's enough to get me going to do it.

When it comes to housework I get a sort of depressed and trapped feeling at times, feeling as if it's actually going to last forever, so these days I put on some music and think, "I'll just put the dirty dishes by the sink while I listen to the music" followed by "I'll just fill the sink with water and some washing up liquid while I listen to the music" etc till it's done. I sometimes feel I've lost time when I've done that but perhaps that's just me? Maybe set an alarm if you have something important to do later :lol:

I hope that helps. I know myself it's hard to deal with anxiety at work. Best of luck to you!
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Re: CBT, Negative Feelings and Work

Postby Robonaut » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:21 pm

Hi Indescribable,

I found your answer very helpful!
It's kind of like the strategy to find a goal and divide it into do-able steps.
I guess the bigger the anxiety, the smaller the steps :)

Thanks a lot!
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Re: CBT, Negative Feelings and Work

Postby triplemoon18 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:06 pm

Hi Robonaut - I have definitely been there - totally depressed and anxious but knowing I have to get my work done - Once I get myself going on something, I usually can get into the work and get it done if there is a deadline (I work in a law office, so I have to get some things done).

I do have my crap days here where I feel just horrible - sometimes I cannot get anything done until I either cry a bit in the bathroom, talk to someone here about what I am feeling or call my fiance or someone to vent a bit.

There are also days where I just write myself some lists of what I think should get done and try to cross out as many as I can do - or I try to calm down, have a cup of tea or reward myself for doing the work by getting myself a treat like a doughnut.

Sometimes you just muddle through, do as much work as you can do, give yourself lots of breaks and just appear as busy as you can.

My boss knows about my BPD now, so I can let her know if things are going really really bad and she will get me to do what work I have to do and then I can leave early. If you don't want to come clean and be crying at your desk or looking crazy stressed, you can always say you have the flu, a migraine etc. and get what you need done and leave for a break too.

It sucks cuz you can have a whole week of just getting through the day and hoping it will be better the next day and that is how I get through it - reminding myself that I have before and I will again - this too shall pass.
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Re: CBT, Negative Feelings and Work

Postby jaus tail » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:32 am

i like work that's computer oriented or can be done independently. no interaction with people.
whenever i got angry, i put the rage in the work and released it. that helps.

if i had to interact with a colleague, i used to rehearse the talk in the mind a few times, make sure i'm in a calm moon and know what to say and then address the person.
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