Once we’re in the habit of forming negative thoughts and behaviour patterns it can be difficult to break the cycle. Sometimes an incident may trigger a series of negative thoughts or we may just start to think negatively. It is important to break the chain before it affects our wellbeing. While there are steps, we can take to stop the cycle and safeguard our wellbeing you may need support in applying those steps. Dave, an employee of the generation and renewables sector for 18 years, found he was trapped in a roundabout of negative thoughts after his marriage broke down.
Dave had been married for 22 years and although they were no longer a good fit, the eventual break down of their marriage was understandably tough. Dave found himself not leaving the house, distancing himself from his children and other family and he had stopped caring for himself. Dave had taken an extended leave of absence from work and felt he had little purpose without his wife and children. Dave had always been the provider and he now felt he had no one to provide for. Dave’s negative thought cycle was impacting his wellbeing, but he found himself unable to break free.
Concerned about Dave, Dave’s manager contacted the Electrical Industries Charity. Although Dave was not experiencing anxiety or depression his withdrawal from society meant he was becoming vulnerable to developing ill mental health. The Electrical Industries Charity contacted Dave who agreed to talk through charity support options.
Dave explained to a Charity caseworker how the breakdown of his marriage was not sudden but still a shock. Dave spoke of how he felt his identity as a provider, husband and dad had disappeared and subsequently he felt purposeless. The Electrical Industries Charity offered Dave Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which works on reshaping negative thoughts, but Dave was reluctant to undertake therapy. Understanding Dave’s reluctance, the Charity provided Dave with different strategies to help him replace negative thoughts.
The Electrical Industries Charity encouraged Dave to reach out to his ex-wife and children. Dave and his wife’s split was amicable and his children, older teenagers, were understanding of the circumstances. Dave needed to regain his identity and by reaching out and still supporting his ex-wife and children he could still be a provider and carry on being a great dad.
The charity welfare team then talked to Dave about the catch it, check it, change it method, a strategy which encourages you to catch negative thoughts, fact check them and then try to change them. The welfare team asked Dave to each time he found himself thinking negatively i.e. ‘I’m a rubbish dad’ to catch the thought, check it and then try to change it.
Dave and the Charity also discussed the importance of self-care in mental wellbeing. Dave had been neglecting his work, hobbies and himself since moving from his family home. The charity encouraged Dave to get back to fishing, a passion of his, try and return to work, which he loved and to try once or twice a week to cook and eat with his children.
Dave began to safeguard his wellbeing on three fronts and found his negative thought cycles dissipated. Dave felt well supported, valued and grateful for his marriage, children, job and most importantly himself. Dave has stopped his downward spiral before he started to lose control with the help of the Electrical Industries Charity.