Dotori's distancing

December 15, 2023

A Developer Making the World More Convenient

Hello, I am Dotori, a software developer in my early thirties. I find great satisfaction in creating widely used services and aim to provide users with convenient solutions.

My curiosity in programming sparked in high school. I enjoyed creating something new and solving problems, like staying up all night to build a webpage for a class project. That passion drove me to become a developer.

Creating New Things While Solving Problems

A Habit of Ruminating Thoughts

I struggled with a habit of endlessly ruminating over unpleasant past events. Troubles with people, moments that soured my mood—it felt like reliving the pain each time I thought about them, like an addiction I couldn't quit.

This habit eventually spiraled into conflicts with those around me. Walking home after hanging out with a friend, a sudden onslaught of negative memories hit, and I couldn't help but feel anger and frustration from the past. That's when I snapped at my friend for something minor, unusual for the typically composed me.

"Despite feeling the pain over again when I ruminated, I couldn't stop the thoughts."

Days of Escapism Through Sleep and Alcohol

I was lost, unsure whether the problem was me, others, or the situation. So, I chose to avoid it all.

Retreating into sleep or numbing my thoughts with alcohol seemed the only escape, even if it was a temporary run from solving anything meaningful.

Choosing Avoidance Despite Knowing It's Only Temporary

I'd sleep or drink to avoid negative thoughts, even knowing it wasn't a real solution.

Seeking the Root of My Anxiety

I had a recurring argument with my boyfriend that lasted for months. Each fight made me press him until he apologized, temporarily easing my anxiety until the same issue spurred another argument.

Initially, I resented my boyfriend for making me anxious. But upon deeper reflection, it appeared he wasn't largely at fault. That led me to wonder: If no one was wrong, why was my heart so restless?

"If no one was at fault, why was I so anxious?"

Realizing I Might Be Causing My Own Anxiety

Then it hit me: 'Maybe I'm the one making myself anxious.'

What if the things I worried about actually happened? Would they be as distressing as I anticipated? Surprisingly, no. Once my worries were no longer worries, my mind cleared, and peace followed—leading to no more fights over the same issue with my boyfriend.

This amazing realization made me consider applying it to all my life. I discovered cognitive therapy, a psychological technique based on this perspective, and started practicing distancing.

"When what I feared no longer worried me, I felt a sense of clarity and calmness."

Anxiety Measures Decrease

Distancing includes bi-weekly measures of anxiety and depressive responses, which initially classified my anxiety as 'hazardous.' But steadily, the levels dropped to 'mild'! Seeing the progress has been rewarding.

My Measurements Journey with Distancing

Wisely Coping with Anxiety

Since I began my career, making mistakes at work always triggered worries about my colleagues' opinions. While I can't say I'm completely free from anxiety now, I certainly manage it better.

Just last week, I made a mistake at work. I nearly succumbed to those daunting thoughts, but using the 'defusion' techniques learned in distancing, I slowly calmed my nerves and efficiently resolved the mishap. Applying what the program taught me in real life feels fulfilling.

As the program reiterates, we can’t eliminate arising thoughts, but it's entirely within our power to manage them adeptly. I've changed how I handle negativity when it surfaces.

Now I'm able to cope with anxious situations and focus on my work

"We can't stop thoughts from arising. Our job is to handle them well when they do."

People Can Change

My view that 'people don't change easily' has shifted thanks to distancing.

In the past, when memories of mistakes or arguments haunted me, I'd spiral into negativity and let it affect my day-to-day life, wondering, 'Why do I always have to regret?' It seemed impossible to break that cycle.

Distancing changed my mindset. The first realization was that negative thoughts mostly hit when I was physically strained. So now, when those thoughts appear, I don't criticize myself but rather acknowledge, 'It seems I'm not at my best today.' It's how I broke the cycle of bad patterns.

Tuning into My Feelings and Body First

Answers I Found Myself

My coach always guided me to reflect on my own thoughts. Instead of giving me the answers, she helped me find them myself.

What sticks with me is the help with completing anti-depression activities. Facing resistance and the urge to avoid, I didn't understand my feelings, so I sought help from my coach. She asked me a few questions that allowed me to delve deeper into my emotions.

Contemplating those questions, I realized my fear of not adhering perfectly to a plan caused my anxiety. After sharing this with my coach, she reassured me that it was okay to be imperfect and reminded me of the objectives of the anti-depression activities. Her reassurance made it easier to embark on the activities.

Whenever I had questions or needed advice, the detailed explanations were very supportive!

"My coach always encouraged me to reflect on my thoughts myself."

Now It's Part of My Everyday Routine

I have been working on forming small routines and maintaining them consistently. These activities began with the anti-depression program. Initiated months ago, they have since become my habits.

Anti-depression Activities Initiated in the Program

For example, starting my day with tomato juice or massaging with my favorite scrub in the shower; they are small but enjoyable. These little pleasures fill my days with a sense of accomplishment.

Recent Small but Enjoyable Activities

"Starting the day with tomato juice, or massaging with a favored scrub in the shower, are examples of those little pleasures."

Conserving My Energy for What Matters

Moving forward, I want to reduce my worries and anxieties to save the energy spent on negativity, investing it instead in activities that bring me joy.
Lately, newfound vitality prompts me to take walks whenever possible, and I'm eager to continue creating positive changes in my daily life.

Discovering Simple Joys on a Walk

Experiencing the Relief of a Calm Mind

For those who, like me, tend to worry often, I suggest reflecting on these questions just once. Perhaps note them down somewhere: 'What if my current worry actually happens?', ‘Will it really impact me?’, 'What's the actual likelihood of it occurring?'

Try answering these questions for yourself. You might just realize the worries causing you pain are not as significant as you initially thought, leading to the strange comfort of a calmed mind.

If you're looking to bring this small experience into your whole life, I recommend distancing. Like me, you too could enjoy this precious experience.

Better Mental Health,
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for depression and anxiety led by experts
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