C: I come from a family history of two generations of spousal murder. My grandfather from my mom’s side and my biological father (opposite side of genetic tree) have both murdered their wives and suffered from severe mental illness. Grandfather suffered from depression, biological father diagnosed schizophrenic in his 30’s. Lost my mother at a young age.
T: I’m high risk for some kind of mental illness or chemical imbalance due to my genetics/ family history. Actual thought is: “I have really scary and f’ed up genetics , maybe one day I will be mentally ill.” I don’t want to end up with a mentally unstable life partner that could potentially murder me. Mental illness is scary, isolating, and dangerous.
F: Fearful, unsafe, anxious, paranoid, doomed
Helpful: Go to therapy, try to learn about mental wellness
Unhelpful: Over analyze any small sign of potential mental red flag both within my self and others around me (romantic partners)
R: Paranoid about mental illness, mental fixation on what could go wrong. Easily triggered by both myself/romantic partner that shows any warning sign of potential mental illness. Nightmares.
Summary of thought link:
Mental Illness/ Schizophrenia = Insanity = Out of touch with reality = scary disorganized thoughts = loss of control over thoughts/ behavior = potential violent behavior/ murder= social judgement = nonfunctional in society = isolation
Evidence for my thoughts might not be true: I’m in my late 20’s and haven’t had symptoms of mental illness.
I can clearly see how my thoughts are unhelpful.
I need to release this story that is deeply ingrained in me.
On top of this original fear, I feel like my fixation on this fear will result in me creating an illness that maybe wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t so fixated on it.
A more helpful thought I can believe: “I can set myself with tools and expose myself to things that support my mental well-being. I can be cautious of anything that may seem alarming without judgement. There are things in life that I can’t control, and even if my fear does happen, I can get treatment it and it doesn’t have to mean a dark life.”
I feel so much resistance with this new thought/ belief because mental illness seems like a chemical imbalance that, to me, seems uncontrollable. Can someone who is mentally ill still choose their thoughts/beliefs?
I’ve considered purposefully connecting with people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenic and have made peace with it/ live fulfilling lives. I don’t know anyone, but one non-personal example is Elyn Saks (TED talk). The idea of doing this feels extremely triggering and I fear this can maybe deepen my fear.
Believe or not this was my more condensed version (ha). Thank you in advance for your help!