Sharing – Overcoming Depression Demands Flexible Thinking, Not Positive Thinking

Obviously, the headline mentioning that “Positive Thinking” is not a solution to depression caught my attention. Still, there is a lot to consider in the article below as well, such as this:

“As noted earlier, it is not wrong to pay attention to negative cues or consider negative interpretations of events. The problem lies with inflexible, automatic, and black-and-white thinking. With failing to modify one’s beliefs after obtaining evidence inconsistent with the interpretation.

For example, to believe failing a course means one is incompetent or stupid, and continue to believe so even after learning of the high percentage of students who fail courses, suggests an interpretation bias.

Not surprisingly, the most effective treatments for depression not only provide experiences that challenge dysfunctional and maladaptive beliefs but also promote flexibility in attention, and especially, information processing.”

When I was being treated for major depression, or when I am struggling even today, the first thing I notice is that I start to interpret everything negatively. Even good news is met by skepticism and doubts. I start finding holes, assuming the worst about every situation and person I interact with. I also start to fall into deep black and white thinking, seeing only my way of thinking, and the wrong way of thinking.

Most things in life are not that clear. They are ambiguous. I know that when I’m unable to think beyond simplistic right and wrong it is very likely part of my own struggle. I’m falling for the cognitive biases that try to convince me that all the negative things I’ve ever experienced are the truth, and all of the positive things have been a lie.

It’s these cognitive biases that prevent many people from healing. Simply put, you can’t heal when you are unable to believe healing is possible for you. Getting past that initial perspective is the first step. You don’t get to skip it. You have to learn how to be more flexible in your thinking, even if it challenges your stories, your beliefs, or your past experiences.

The world is not nearly as black and white as most people think it is. Demanding that it be something it is not is no way to heal your mental health.

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