It’s a new year and fresh on our minds are what we want to achieve this year and what we want to do better at. For me, I have two simple goals this year that can drastically change my life for the better and at the same time provide confidence for a future. Sounds promising right? It was! It was great until my automatic thoughts attempted to kill the excitement of a new year beginning and an opportunity to shine through.
As I mentioned in previous posts my two main goals:
1) Financial freedom
2) Lose Weight
These two goals are monumental for me to achieve because finances and my weight are directly tied to my depression and my mania. Please note: By financial freedom does not mean being debt free, it means that I want to learn how to follow a budget and stick to it. I do not want to go into any more debt in 2018 so in order to do that, I must stick to a budget. My friends over at YNAB (youneedabudget) have an excellent program that I’ve dabbled with before. Jesse Mechem is the inventor of ynab, and just released his book on budgeting and I downloaded it on Audible. If only Jesse could be the voice of reason in my head, I’d be so much of a different state of mind if I had a rational voice in my head. Instead of having 500 all shouting different thoughts at any given time.
Budgeting has always been a struggle for me because often times I hated that word! Uh, the B-word!! Can’t be budget!! But as much of a bitch as a budget is, its the only way that I can remain confident that I am on a path to financial freedom.
As I have begun my blogging journey and started to implement CBT techniques into my life, I have realized that the majority of my impulsive purchases would be the effect of drinking, depression, or a manic episode. Often times when I was not impulsive when I was feeling good..it was only when I was down in the dumps with life and depression. This is a good thing actually because it shows me that I have self-control when I’m not using substances.
Regarding my 2nd goal of losing weight. Right here folks are the meat of my depression.. my weight is directly connected to my self-worth and if I don’t feel attractive then I will feel depressed about how much I weigh and I will do two things. One I will eat more to fill the void of sadness and two I would become impulsive to purchase items that were not budgeted for. This would set me up for a financial disaster as well as it would cause my weight to spike because of zero self-control.
I’d like to show you an example of how my brain handles an automatic thought:
Background: I’ve spent the last few weeks learning about budgeting and following the yNAB principals about giving every dollar a job. At the end of it, I feel proud of my efforts and I’m feeling good! I did my budget!
Thought pattern: Fast forward a week and I wake up to realize that I have forgotten to budget for an automatic reoccurring car insurance payment and I’ve overdrawn my account by $100. An automatic thought comes down from space like a comet out of space! “You stupid fuck! If you were good at budgeting you wouldn’t have overdrawn. You suck at this. Just give up already because you know that you suck at this.” This is my reality. This is what I live with when automatic thoughts kick in to sabotage a situation.
Immediately I would listen and trust my automatic thought and fall into a spell where I felt like a failure, and I was pissed at myself for not realizing this, and the fear of having to tell my partner that I screwed up again…
Apply CBT to the thought pattern:
Thought: I failed at budgeting. I can’t believe I did this again. FUCK! I can’t afford an overdraft fee!
Type of thinking: All or Nothing
Rational thought: Mark, you are not a failure at budgeting. If you look at your history you will see although you weren’t actively budgeting you always maintained a positive balance. You should feel proud of yourself for what you have accomplished thus far and realized that setbacks like this can occasionally happen. Keep up the great work!
Thought overcame! Successful CBT right there folks. I’m not perfect at this but you know that I will try and conquer! My life depends on it!
Now if only I can apply CBT to FOOD!
It’s a total domino effect. Everything I do is connected to each other. Food is my biggest lack of strength in society and as a depressed individual, I take comfort in sweets and junk food to fill the emptiness in my heart. I did this for all of 2017 and by the end of December, I couldn’t even stomach any more junk food. I ate it all. I ate it all so much that I gained all my weight AND I became impulsive to offset my depression. Double Edge Sword!
No matter how I approach it, this year is different. I will not be the victim of my self-hate! I will shine! I will eat healthier, blog more, and be the best I can be. There is NO perfection! Let’s clear that up right away Mark. You are not expected to be perfect. Nothing is perfect! Learn this! Study this! Embrace this!
Regarding my other goals, all in time Mark. Remember your motto “Slow & Steady” Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your depression. It’s gonna take time to repair the damage but fuck it, you’re amazing and you’re totally worth it! At the end of the day in 2018, I am optimistic, feeling confident, and knowing that this year I’m moving forward and not allowing myself to let history repeat itself.
Tomorrow I will talk about my biggest triggers for depression. I’ve discovered that these simple things create much bigger problems for me. What am I doing that is causing so much panic in my life?! Find out tomorrow!