With the help of my therapist and after doing my first Stress Log exercise I learnt to distinguish feelings from negative thoughts.
Now I realize that all the negative things I was thinking about had a very deep impact on how depressed I felt right after Emma was born.
My deep feeling of guilt had a lot to do with me thinking “I must be a very bad person not to be happy to have a daughter”. It is quite obvious that feeling guilty doesn’t come out of nowhere. It is not so obvious, though, that feeling guilty is not a direct consequence of the situation. Saying something like “this situation is very upsetting” would have made total sense to me before. Now I understand that there is a very important step between what happens and how I feel: my thinking.
So when Emma was just born I felt very guilty because instead of feeling happy I found myself crying. “I must be a terrible person: I said to myself. If I believe I am a terrible person, well, no wonder I felt really sad and guilty.
My therapist says that any negative thought that causes such negative emotions is worth challenging.
In order to challenge the negative thoughts I identify in my Stress Log exercises, I use another tool called Thought Challenge. Here is a picture of my first Thought Challenge exercise: