Thursday, September 22, 2011

Negative Thinking

Anyone with chronic pain knows negative thinking creeps in, especially during moments of intense pain. How is this a life? Am I ever going to get better? What has my life amounted to? These are common questions I hear from Steve and other chronic pain sufferers.

If left unchecked, the negative thinking can creep from the pain sufferer to everyone around him. It is an insidious process. You may not even realize that it is happening until you wake up one day and you realize every sentence in the conversation you just had with your loved one was tinged with negativity.

It is such a tough habit to break, too. It is harder to find the positive in a life of chronic pain than it is to find the negative. But, remember that the negative thinking does not just affect you and your loved one. If you have kids, they hear it, too.

One simple negative statement can do a lot of damage. Here's a little example. Due to the nature of my job, I spend an incredible amount of time sitting in front of a computer. Because I am working on increasing my client base, I am spending even more time staring at a screen. I know that, eventually, I will get back to my normal work schedule. However, Steve has begun to look at this in a negative light.

The other day when we were discussing my work schedule for the week, he made the comment "I hate the fact that you work so hard and have so little to show for it." He went on to complain about my work schedule and started to use my lack of time for him and the kids as a way to drive home his point. Before this conversation, I knew that the extra time I was spending was a sacrifice now, but would pay off in the long run.

After that conversation, I started questioning every minute that I spent working. It became a large source of anxiety. I found myself wondering if I even knew what I was doing and where I was going. One simple conversation could have derailed my entire career. It took almost a week for me to remember that I never questioned when he worked on a project at home because he wanted to excel at something. The black little thought wormed its way into my head and almost destroyed my confidence.

If you find yourself in the same situation, please get help for both you and your loved one. Counseling has helped Steve see how being negative is hurting him and us. You definitely do not want to spend 20 or 30 years with a born again pessimist. Life isn't worth it!

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