|Dialectics of Anxiety and Depression
by Thomas Marra, Ph.D.
- in conflict
- are opposites
- are contradictory
- are competing
- are black or white/all or nothing
- “a set of issues that demand different and incompatible responses” (p.16)
- “an internal debate you have with yourself” (p.17)
- “not [being] wrong or bad that a dialectic set of needs and wants exists” (p.17)
- “each side of the dialectic are equally important to you” (p.16)
- You feel anxious. On the one hand you want safety and on the other, you want to feel freedom. An example is if you have anxiety about going to a party. One part of you wants the safety of just staying at home with familiar surroundings and situations, and the other part of you really wants to go to the party to feel the freedom of being in a new experience and having fun with new people.
- You want to watch your weight, but you also want to eat half of that chocolate cake.
- You want your boyfriend to move out right now, but another part of you desperately wants him to stay.
- Just notice. Observe what you are experiencing. Identify the two conflicting thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc.
- Notice your train of thought. Mindfully turn the mind toward your thought process.
- Realize that you can’t have it both ways. (The old saying is “You can’t have your cake AND eat it too.” So, if you eat your cake, you no longer have it, but if you have it, you have not eaten it.)
- Make a decision. Follow through, notice how it goes, and use the experience to help with other paralyzing dialectics.
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