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Old 12-12-2018, 06:52 PM   #1
one_step_closer
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How to let go of (minor) guilt?

People who are familiar with me will know how majorly guilty I get over everything big and small that other people don't see as an issue. The most recent thing that kept me awake last night was feeling guilty and sorry and bad because the GP I saw had to touch my dirty shoes when he was moving my leg around to see what knee movements I could do. I try to tell myself that he has probably touched other peoples shoes and things worse than shoes and that he likely isn't ruminating on it or feeling hurt by it, but...it's hard to let go of. I think I should have asked if he wanted me to take my shoes off but then it would have eaten into the appointment time. I get so tangled up in all the things I have done and what I think I should have done and how I think other people might feel. If the GP has not been negatively affected by my actions then I guess it should be ok for me to try and let go of stuff from my side but I don't know how to do that. I do think I deserve to torture myself but there is so much every day that I worry about and I think I need to let go of some of it because it's getting too much.

Does anyone have any ideas? (I feel hugely bad about posting this because it's sort of being kind to myself but I will try and keep it here). Also, don't put too much thought into it because I don't know if I can even give myself permission to try to ease things but it might be useful for other people so will post this.





I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much.


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Old 12-12-2018, 09:13 PM   #2
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How about writing a list of why it won't have caused him any problems?

As in:

- He's probably touched worse!
- It won't have done him any harm.
- If he needed you to take your shoes off he would have asked.

Seems like a short list but keeping it short and sweet might help you to stop re-thinking it. Maybe add a couple of other points to it if you can.

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Old 13-12-2018, 10:51 AM   #3
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Thanks NP. I do try to do things like that, although in my head mostly, and I tend to end up challenging the things I say that make it ok because I'm worried so much that things are actually not ok. I could try writing stuff down though.





I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much.


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Old 13-12-2018, 05:44 PM   #4
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Maybe try writing it down instead as then it makes it more clear and concise and harder to challenge, especially if it's on paper because it becomes more tangible. You could even read it out loud to enforce the words.

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Old 13-12-2018, 08:09 PM   #5
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I try to allow myself a set time and amount of time to dwell on things, and then I make sure I make the conscious effort to move on and do something else.

So for example, I set a timer for 10-20 minutes, however long I feel I need, and allow myself to feel guilt and dwell on those thoughts. Or dwell on something that makes me really sad. Whatever negative/unhelpful thoughts I need that I would otherwise tend to get stuck on or ruminate on.

Then after that time is up I make an effort to get up and do something else entirely, usually something that I enjoy that I also need to focus on, or go run an errand, something where I cannot think about it anymore.

The way I look at it is that it's okay to feel negative emotions, but they shouldn't dictate your day or your every waking moment. By allowing myself time to feel them and process them a bit, while also making sure I set up things to not get too lost in it, that helps me. It's hard for sure. But I guess to me part of dealing with negative emotions is understanding that they need a space to exist just as much as positive emotions.

Apologies if I've already mentioned this skill before, but you could also look up something called "cognitive defusion" (spelling is unfortunately correct) it's an ACT skill that also is supposed to help with challenging negative thoughts. Basically it's about allowing yourself to have negative thoughts or emotions without necessarily acting on them or having them be overpowering.



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Old 17-12-2018, 04:51 PM   #6
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Thanks Camden. I did read an ACT book at one point, think I remember that technique.





I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much.


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Old 21-12-2018, 04:46 PM   #7
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I get this too. Some times I can be lay at awake a night thinking of silly thing I feel guilty about from years ago.

I do similar to Camden and allow myself a set amount of time to feel guilty for.

I find mine is worse when my mental health is a little squiffy particularly anxiety so I try to think about things I can do to improve that. It is almost like my brain needs an outlet for the anxiety so makes me anxious and guilty about petty things. Do you have any one to talk to about this? I had some self-compassion based CBT a few years ago and that has helped a little.



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Old 22-12-2018, 05:50 PM   #8
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Thank you.

I do sometimes talk to my CPN or whoever I have an appointment with but nothing seems to touch the guilt or my self hatred. My previous psychologist did some compassion focused therapy with me, I don't think that helped either but I was in and out of hospital a lot so might not have been properly doing the work. It's hard to give myself permission to be kind to myself.





I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much.


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Old 22-12-2018, 07:55 PM   #9
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I think with regards to your last sentence particularly, where it's hard to be kind to yourself.... I think that's where something like cognitive defusion might actually be really helpful. Because it's not actually about kindness. It's almost backtracking a step BEFORE kindness and trying to help you with feeling less strong of an attachment to thoughts.

So instead of, for example say, you have a thought like:
I did x bad thing, I am a horrible person.

Instead of what something like CBT might say where you need to be like,
I made a mistake, but I am still a good person, or whatever it is.

Cognitive defusion might have you instead do something like,
Repeat the phrase "I am a horrible person" ten times as fast as you can, or like, repeat it only sing it, or repeat it while imitating Donald Duck. There's a ton of others, but basically the point is to make it sound silly or dumb, even to yourself. It's a lot harder to believe something like "I'm a horrible person" so strongly when you've said it to yourself out loud in imitating Donald Duck, for example. Or even just saying to yourself (or out loud), "hey, brain, thanks for having the thought that I'm a horrible person."

Basically the point with cognitive defusion ISN'T to reframe things. It's only just to help you feel less attached to the thoughts- to try to give you a bit of distance. There's no judgement. Just more about trying to realize maybe you don't have to believe the thought quite so strongly. That's why I find it really helpful. Because I don't have to think of it like being good or bad or positive or negative.

I find with that with time, once I've done cognitive defusion for a while and feel a little bit less like maybe the thoughts are 100% positively true that it becomes a lot easier to then challenge or reframe them. Where with a lot of stuff that gets so ingrained, I can't challenge it or reframe it because I believe it so strongly.

I hope that makes some sense. I think for me also I found a lot of the ACT concepts so helpful. Things like DBT get so focused on judgements and reframing, where I'd get so hung constantly questioning myself and whether or not my thoughts were even okay. Where with ACT it's really about removing judgement, and just saying hey, it's okay to have whatever thoughts you have. But that doesn't mean you have to give them power or time. You can sort of step back and observe the thoughts and take them just as thoughts without having to respond to them. I know that might sound sort of.... far fetched or hard to wrap your head around if it's not something that's useful. But when you already have a lot of judgements, being allowed to have the space to have any thoughts you need or just come up with was actually ... quite nice for a change in a treatment setting!



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Old 22-12-2018, 08:35 PM   #10
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Sorry not my thread but thank you Camden I found your post helpful and will definitely be giving it ago myself.



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Old 23-12-2018, 12:11 PM   #11
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Thanks Camden.





I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much.


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Old 23-12-2018, 07:26 PM   #12
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<3 to you both



You can't always keep it separate.
This is happening, this is part of you.


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