…As I say, choir is something I know I can do, and I enjoy it. The macho men seem to disapprove, or maybe my interp makes it so. None of them said verbatim that I was a sissy for singing. I was being a true paranoid. The coffee tasted good, tho. It was interesting the way the scene seemed “arranged:” first the men going on about gender roles at the manly table, then Lisa coming and gathering me for choir? But it was only set up in my own mind. I have to relearn the truths of cognitive therapy. Everybody’s mind perceives differently and has different desires. I felt uncomfortable because the guys were talking about how men work and provide while women stay home, etc, tho acknowledging that such is changing. As if to accentuate their evolving point, Lisa corralled me away for choir practice, something the macho men wouldn’t want to do. Or really, it was the macho within ME that perceived it that way. The only arranger, the only composer was my own mind, tho it seemed objectively real. I criticized myself, not they me. I was my own judge and jury. Why would the other guys be talking about ME? Why would I be the topic of conversation with me in their midst? This is personalization, the mechanism of paranoia. When I don’t keep on top of this distortion, mental mayhem can follow. Mom used to make this thinking error every waking moment. Of course, no one had her in mind at all. And as a consequence, Mom couldn’t keep friends. I need a nap, I think. I feel sorta drained.
There’s a decent book that’s partly on this subject:
Kingdon & Turkington, Cognitive Therapy of Schizophrenia.
Hopefully it’s still in print. It cites seven cognitive distortions that are particularly relevant to sz, and personalization is the first one!
I don’t see much point in the traditional gender roles they were talking about.
Let people do whatever suits them, I say.
I agree. I was just pointing out how it was all in my head.
You know, I used to be like that all the time.
I’m still like that sometimes. Making connections that aren’t there.
Very true. Nicely stated. Thanks for reading!
I’m trying some CBT this last week to deal with weird thoughts…I see my mind as a huge fishtank in which I installed a special “filter” that asks 3 questions before I can let a weird thought become a behavior.
- Would this behavior be considered socially acceptable?
- Will this risk harm to myself or others?
- Can this get me hospitalized?
I imagine the thought pouring thru that filter and, depending on the answers to those questions, I can decide whether or not I should do what I was thinking of doing.
It’s pretty basic but it’s helped me be less impulsive with my weird thoughts. And I used to think CBT was bullcrap, but this works for now.
Good for you. I like the fish tank illustration. For me, it is that, plus it expands and contracts at will to encompass objects in my surroundings. For instance, my “halo” can extend itself to influence a hornet in a bush as I am walking by. Say my mind is on being stung by an insect at a prior time and place, and bam! the hornet barrels out of the flora and nails me in the upper arm. (This ex. actually happened to me once, BTW.) Then I figure that my fish tank gathered in the insect and caused the phenomenon, as it seems to me.
What saves me is knowing that another person passing by will have a different fish tank. Hers will have a totally other way of perceiving things. So that, were I to ask her about the hornet, she would form an alternate explanation re: the insect’s action. It’s kinda like the “monad” concept of Leibniz’s philosophy, but I know that’d be getting too involved.
There is a space heater down and to my right. From it appears to come the tinkling of organ notes. Is this the truth outside of my mind, or does the latter merely enhance my perception of the object’s sounds? There’s a song on the radio. It sounds pertinent to the mood I’m in, but I know that the song merely exists in the order the program director chose to play it, and its seeming relevance to my mood is the creativity of my own imagination. Also, so-and-so next to me creates a different experience from the song.
All the above is nothing new. Poets especially have known about perceptual tricks from the time of at least the Italian Renaissance. There’s a sonnet by Francis Petrarch I love in particular: “She Used to Let Her Golden Hair Fly Free.” You might try searching the web for it, if it’s worth your time.
Take care, and remember to “clean” you “fish tank” regularly. I know, we all do what we can. Thanks so much for reading this and the above.
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