"Mind-reading" / Mental health issues

I thought I'd use this blog as an opportunity to discuss some of my mental health issues as well as how I'm trying to manage them. Sometimes it can help to know that you aren't alone, and that you certainly are not crazy for whatever it is you feel.

One of the things that I struggle with on a daily basis is called "mind-reading", which I consider to be partially a by-product of my anxiety. My mind is constantly coming up with a variety of thoughts to superimpose on to whatever anyone else might possibly be thinking (about me). While it makes sense to care somewhat what other people think (we are social creatures who want to be accepted by a larger community), I shouldn't be trying to "mind-read" my friends. I believe this is detrimental to my ability to trust.

For a long time I didn't notice that this was something I did. As far back as I can remember, I've been just assuming what everyone else thought of me (which is usually something awful), and then accepting what my mind came up with. It wasn't until I started going to therapy a few years ago that I realized I was relying so heavily on this way of thinking, and that I could take steps to change it.

For example, if I got stuck in a thought loop such as "everyone hates me", I can counter it with the thought, "no one said that they hated me". Sometimes it helps me more to write it down on a piece of paper, and in doing so it's easier to process the counteractive statement.

Changing my thought habits has not be an easy process, and I still struggle everyday to not "mind-read". The difference now is that I have tools I can use to help turn my thoughts around. Something else I try to remind myself is that it's okay that I am still struggling, as long as I keep making the effort to try. That's what counts.


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