Bipolar: Black & White

Black and white thinking is a thinking distortion that is exacerbated by my mental illness, bipolar disorder. The mania brings on one extreme and the depression brings about the other.

Black and white thinking: “You think in absolutes, that things are either good or bad, with no middle ground. Practice thinking about the gray area between the two absolutes. Once you’ve thought of the best and the worst, what are some in-between options?” (Source: “How to be Happy” by Lee Crutchley).

This thinking distortion applies to my self concept. When I am manic, I think that I am AMAZING. I feel capable of doing ANYTHING. I could win a Nobel Prize or become a best-selling author or world famous psychologist. Anything is possible!

When I am depressed, my self-esteem crashes completely. I feel that I will be a complete failure, that I will end up jobless and without a home. I will be a disappointment to everyone and am a complete waste of space.

These 2 extremes are perplexing. I cannot predict the future, but I probably won’t end up homeless and I also probably won’t end up famous. I’ll be somewhere inbetween. I have to learn to see the gray area in my future.

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