During this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, I’ve often written about unhelpful thoughts that contribute to anxiety and depression (called Cognitive Distortions by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT).
Here are some examples of recent Cognitive Distortions (and please don’t tell anybody that I’ve been having these thoughts in the beautiful city of London, where the people AND the sushi really know how to have fun and get around, with amazing modes of transport:
Now, where was I, before the photos of the fabulous conveyer-belt sushi place that my old friend Alexa and her son Alex took me and my son yesterday?
Oh, yes, some cognitive distortions I had yesterday (long after we had said heartfelt thank-you’s and goodbyes to Alexa and Alex):
I should be enjoying this trip, every moment.
If I let my son know how I’m feeling right now, it will be bad for him.
People in London think I’m a stupid, obnoxious, naive American.
If I am not completely vigilant and at the top of my game, bad things will happen.
I should only blog about happy things while I’m away. If I don’t, people will be disappointed in me.
It’s okay to be afraid and express those fears, but not while I’m on vacation! People will think I’m weird, get impatient with me, and stop wanting to hear from me.
I guess it serves me right for thinking I was such a big shot my first few days here …doing great, connecting with people, being a smart tourist, showing my son a great time … Who did I think I was?
For those of you keeping score, the Cognitive Distortions above include the following: Shoulds, Mind Reading, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Emotional Reasoning, Labeling, Negative Filtering, and pretty much everything else on the list.
So, yes, I confess. In the beautiful city of London, where I am meeting up with wonderful people previously known and unknown to me, where the ratio of kindness in the population is the same as anywhere else in my world, and where I am the same person that I am back in Boston (with the same limits and weaknesses), I felt, much to my horror ….
… The Dreaded Thud of Shame (DTOS).
And, as always, there were contributing factors to the DTOS:
Contributing Factor # 1 (iPhone related): I still can’t figure out how to connect my iPhone to the internet safely enough to avoid, in my mind, the possibility of incurring mega-amounts of dollars or pounds.
And that’s a bummer for many reasons, including the fact that I’ve taken some AWESOME photos on said iPhone of wonderful places like Camden, which Alexa and Alex showed us yesterday. And I can’t access those photos, right now, to put in this blog.
But, it’s Google Images to the rescue!
Contributing Factor # 2 (iPhone related): So far, I haven’t been able to talk to my boyfriend back home, at the end of each day, as long as I would like to, without the fear of incurring mega-amounts of dollars or pounds. (Never fear, though: both my bf and my son are working on fixing that.)
So considering that there were several contributing factors (mind you, I’ve only listed the iPhone-related ones above), why was the Dreaded Thud of Shame (London edition) such a surprise to me?
And yet, it always is.
In ways, I’m glad that The Dreaded Thud of Shame is always a surprise, no matter where and when it takes place.
Maybe that shows that I KNOW, on a deep level, that I don’t deserve to feel it.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our blog post for today.
Thanks to Alexa, Alex, Camden, the good people of London, my son, my bf, and to you, for reading today.