Article 1

When you are

feeling depressed you may have very distressing memories

from key times in your life which seem to provide strong evidence for your negative beliefs. These are likely to be times when you felt intensive emotions such as sadness , shame or anger . Such moments may become ‘ negative self-defining memories ‘ that when viewed through the dark lens of depression , seem to prove or reinforce your negative views of yourself.

For instance, Michael had a very strong memory of pushing a frail old lady when he was working as a cleaner in a hospital . He felt terrible shame about this memory and believed himself to be a very nasty person because of it . He did not remember that the lady had been angry and confused at the time , that she had been pulling at his clothes and his hair for many minutes. , and that he had been trying to get away from her because she was out of control, and causing him a lot of pain. In that context his actions seemed understandable and not at all cruel.

It seems that

memory sharpens at times of great stress and difficulty

which means that we may recall specific details of these distressing events long after they have passed .


The sort of events that seems to haunt us, , almost like ghosts from the past, are times when we have felt threatened or humiliated in some way, , or when we have experienced failure or loss.

For example, you may have felt

intimidated , bulled or abused

in a close relationship or in the work place . You may carry around a mental image of someone from this time shouting at you , perhaps’hearing’ their voice almost as if they were still present. Memories of such experiences may then return to you at times when you feel stressed or uncertain – when starting a new relationship you may be troubled by memories of difficulties in past relationships. When you start a new job you may recall times when you struggled or were unfairly criticised in a previous job . If new your partner is a bit short with you, or if new your boss asks you to change a piece of work , the old memories surface .

The current event can then be seen as providing confirmation of previous negative or critical beliefs about yourself, the world an/or other people and the feelings you had at time that the bad memories were formed may come flooding back.

I will complete in article 3 soon.


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