Not a doctor-just my stories
Automatic thoughts a concept in cognitive behavioral therapy, are images or mental activity that occur as a response to a trigger (like an action or event). They are automatic and ‘pop up’ or ‘flash’ in your mind without conscious thought
Flashes of doom–
Flash: My 3-year-old dog is going to the vet tonight he is overweight and has these bumps under his skin, he will have a tumor in his belly, he will have to put down, we will be devastated, my other dog will be sad and confused
Reality: Bumps are pimples he needs more baths, he’s fat
Flash: I am going to fall down the stairs see it every time I walk down some stairs. I have to hold the railing can’t walk down the middle
Reality: Have had some trips and spills, even broke my wrist falling off a stepladder never fallen or tripped down some stairs (probably because I hold on for dear life)
Flash: we have some loose stonework in front of our house, pulled up all the wobbly bits, will do a renovation soon. This morning I stepped on of the stones and flashed to falling and knocking out my teeth, blood, mess
Reality: Got in my car
Flash: See a bee, there will be a swarm, they will swarm me, I will be covered
Reality: Never been stung
Flash: Had a cataract, before I had it officially diagnosed I would flash that I was going blind in that eye
Reality: Cataract, surgery, all good
Flash: Every movie, show, concert, flight, the activity I am excited about something will go wrong, late, canceled, I will get sick, miss an announcement
Reality: Never missed anything not once
Reality is not always a comfort to me the flashes are a possibility…
Sometimes I hear about something that happened to someone else from the mundane to the tragic and it gets added to my Rolodex of worries. See! It happened to somebody, a-ha! I am perfectly rational.
These flashes are not a laugh riot, I can’t make them funny. The stair one is so omnipresent and I have had it for so long it is like a friend walking down the stairs with me.
What has changed over time is my recognition that while possible my flash is not plausible at the moment. I can’t control it, it is super fast, have it, let it go.
I did come up with an image of the thought inside my brain traveling from one ear to the other, then out in a balloon and floating away.
I also use the phrase “going dark” for myself. What I do find funny personally is how the least likely outcome is the one I go to first. Wow, that’s where I went? Tripping, car accident, illness, death. Remember though instantaneous I don’t dwell unless I am walking down stairs-sigh.
Here’s hoping I can learn to flash happy, this is going to be a fun day! Or flash productive, I am going to do the dishes and love it! Or run really, really, really fast.