Having dinner with my wife. I’m just looking at my bowl of soup, stirring it, thinking. But my wife is trying to make conversation, trying to cheer me up. How’s the soup honey? It’s good. Is it warm enough? Yes. Then she stays quiet for a while, but I can feel the tension before her next statement: “I am sure you’ll find another job”.
I just couldn’t stand it. I got up and went to our bedroom, closed the door behind me. I wasn’t hungry anyway.
I am sitting on the bed now, trying to calm down, asking myself why I got so upset with my wife. I try to practice what my therapist told me. I try to examine all the garbage thinking in my head. “It is not the situation that upsets you”, my therapist said, “but how you interpret it”. So I am wondering: What was it about my wife saying I’ll surely find another job that upset me so much? Or was it the silence that preceded it that bothered me?
She has no idea whether I’ll find a job or not. But she feels the need to say I will. This to me means she doubts I’ll find one. It also makes me think that she won’t put up with me if I don’t find a job. It’s like she’s saying “don’t worry, you’ll find a job and my life will be OK again”. But this implies that if I don’t find a job, then her life won’t be OK, that staying with me won’t be OK. So how am I supposed not to feel the pressure? Could she really think she’s being supportive? She is only making things harder for me. I already know I am a loser. Why would she want to stay with me?
I did this Stress Log exercise – in the picture above – to identify all these negative thoughts. I understand it is quite obvious that this thinking would make anybody feel depressed. I understand all these negative thoughts have a lot to do with how depressed I have felt lately and with how low my self-esteem has been.
I can’t wait to talk to my therapist about this.