Cognitive Distortions

Yesterday I went to SF with my husband and we explored around Pier 39. It was beautiful and chilly and sunny. He pushed me in the wheelchair since it was a lot of walking. Unfortunately the afternoon had a wrinkle in it for me because I got up from the wheelchair in a certain way that my back hurt quite a bit afterwards. Today it is still painful and quite sore and since I don’t have issues with my back it brings up a lot of emotions and thoughts. I thought I’d practice some tools I’ve learned and try to apply it to my thinking today.

My therapist has encouraged me to bring my attention to the present, instead of dragging the past with me. So instead of regretting how I got up or dwelling on the fact it happened, I can learn from it and just think about what I can do NOW to take care of myself.

I also realized I’m applying a ton of the cognitive distortions I’ve learned from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), like catastrophizing and jumping to conclusions (I’ve permanently injured my back!), emotional reasoning (I feel something’s wrong, so it must be.), blaming (that was so stupid of me!) and black or white thinking. More balanced thinking could be:

  • I don’t know what exactly is going on with my back, but time will tell. It is unlikely I’ve seriously injured myself, and it is highly likely this will heal and the pain will pass. I have resources at my disposal if I do need help. I will use better body mechanics in the future.

Another tool from the clinic is to be a lot kinder to ourselves and cultivate a friendlier, more compassionate inner voice, like a friend would talk to us. This could sound like:

  • I’m so sorry- I know you’re disappointed this happened. It’s ok to take it easy today. I love you and we’ll get through this.
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