I think that there was a lot of catastrophizing of like, if I can’t pass this, then I’m going to drop out. My boyfriend’s going to break up with me, because he goes here. And I’m going to lose my whole life and move back to Ohio.
I don’t even– nobody lives in Ohio. I can’t move back there, but that’s where I came from. And I think that telling myself that like focusing on all of that negative stuff is not what you need to do. I think that now I have effective ways to deal with catastrophizing. And maybe the better way to call it is stories that I tell myself about the possible future.
My therapist taught me that you sort of stop that in its tracks and that you make sure to tell yourself a different story or to even start to acknowledge that this tale you’re telling yourself is a story and not a fact. It’s coming from a feeling and that it’s not real yet. So developing ways to stop the initial thought in its track and recognize the catastrophizing for what it is was a tool that I had already worked on before I got to this academic challenge.
So when I would say, oh, I don’t know how to do this problem, I’m going to fail quals, I was able to see that as a form of what I was doing before with my PTSD and see, OK, well, are you really going to fail? Is this really indicative that you’re going to fail the whole thing and sort of question myself? And like a huge part of that is just being aware of what you’re doing and what you’re talking to yourself about and then forcing yourself not to do that, which is not an easy thing to, do but it’s where you start.