Currently I’m in hospital searching for a place to live. My emotions are roller coaster. One of the places they’ve found, besides the threatened drop in shelter (!!!) is a religious organization called the Mustard Seed. They seem to have a serious problem with druggies and bedbugs.
The hospital arranged for an interview yesterday so of course I went. Showed my I.D. at the security desk and was shown to view the ‘large’ bachelor (200 sq ft) at double the current market value. All carefully calculated to extract all a person’s AISH and send them to the food bank next door. Oh, there is a urine test monthly. No overnight guests.
How does a person in wheelchair or a walker get their groceries up to their room? Is there assistance? We don’t offer that service. Oh, we dont allow personal possessions like furniture, bedbugs you know…clothes have to be heat treated…ummm I have dry mouth can hardly speak all of a sudden, may I have a drink of water?… we don’t offer that service…
So, upon leaving I am suffering heavily from the cognitive distortion: Life must be easy, without discomfort or inconvenience or I can’t stand it.
Consequently I then find myself:
Inflexible and unrealistic
I over-estimate my right to a trouble-free life
I under-estimate my ability to cope with adversity
I’m non-accepting of life’s vagaries
Then the various sub-beliefs kick in (now it’s a jet propelled roller coaster):
Things must go the way I want them to go.
I need what I want.
It’s awful if I don’t get what I want.
I must constantly worry about life’s predicaments.
I must control, avoid or change life’s predicaments.
I must make myself upset over life’s predicaments.
Making myself upset gives me the power to control, avoid or change life’s predicaments.
I must avoid, rather than face and deal with, life’s difficulties and responsibilities.
I must not be inconvenienced or made uncomfortable.
I cannot discipline myself.
I can’t stand the present pain that is necessary for future gain.
It must be easy to change things that I don’t like.
Difficulties must not exist.
I am powerless to change my circumstances.
Any effort to change my circumstances is pointless because it is doomed to fail.
Justice, fairness, equality, democracy and other “right” values must prevail.
I can’t stand it when my values are trodden on.
All problems must have a perfect solution.
The perfect solution to all problems must be found.
It’s awful if a perfect solution can’t be found to my problems (or those of people I care about).
I must not die prematurely.
I should be able to live forever.
It’s terrible that I will one day die and no longer exist.
It’s terrible that people I love will one day die and no longer exist.
My life must have meaning and purpose. If I can’t create meaning or purpose for myself, the universe or something supernatural must provide it for me.
I must not experience depression, rage or anxiety.
I must not have psychological problems.
I must not be institutionalized.
I couldn’t stand to be institutionalized.
I could never recover if I went “crazy.”
With these beliefs I have created the following emotional consequences:
Low frustration tolerance
Drug and alcohol abuse
Overindulgence in “feel good” behaviors (e.g., overeating)
Whew! Welcome to my roller coaster! So I ask myself simply, is there any evidence for these beliefs? Especially the one, I can’t stand it, my old stand by. I find there is no evidence, usually I am overestimating the problem and underestimating my ability to deal with it.
My anxiety lessons immediately and my brain seeks the obvious solution: if these fleatraps are twice market value, then why not go on the market to rent?
I relax at being able to see the obvious. Thankfully, I search other options, full of enthusiasm for this adventure we call life.