New Term: Quarter-Life Crisis

December 23, 2008

While driving into work this morning, I was listening to the Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk

Quarter-Life Crisis [wikipedia]:

term applied to the period of life immediately following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the early twenties to the early thirties. The term is named by analogy with mid-life crisis. It is now recognized by many therapists and professionals in the mental health field.

I must admit, I was surprised there was even such a term and even more surprised at some of the emotional aspects.  The following paragraph sums things up nicely:

These emotions and insecurities are not uncommon at this age, nor at any age in adult life. In the context of the quarter-life crisis, however, they occur shortly after a young person – usually an educated professional, in this context – enters the "real world".[1] After entering adult life and coming to terms with its responsibilities, some individuals find themselves experiencing career stagnation or extreme insecurity. The individual often realizes the real world is tougher, more competitive and less forgiving than they imagined. Furthermore, the qualifications they have spent so much time and money earning are not likely to prepare them for this disillusionment.

I must admit, that I recently hit the big three-O (aka 30 yrs old) and don’t really feel that much different nor do I have many doubts or regrets about my current stage. I used to have quite a bit of nostalgic memories of college and remembering how things were care-free then, but those are times of the past. What I can do today, however, is to try and reforge some of my old relationships that I have let slide.  This has mostly been achieved by becoming a bit more active on Facebook.

I never really used Facebook much in the past, but after noticing more and more of my family members sharing photos and thoughts via Facebook, I decided to take the plunge after seeing my wife become more active in trying to reconnect with her old classmates and friends.  I have to admit that it has been rather fun and I do see the allure in using Facebook.

Oops, I did it again and bit the hook.  This time, I bit the following hooks of distorted thinking:

Disqualifying the Positive – You dismiss positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.

Jumping to conclusions – You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
  A. Mind reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out.

— Source: Sources of Insight – 10 Distorted Thinking Patterns

I felt the anger arise and the lashing out beginning, but I was unable to stop it.  In doing so, I really discounted a very positive and caring act, only to flip it around and conclude it as a negative act.  Additionally, while the act itself was thinking on my behalf, my distorted view flipped that on it’s side.

Ever since I have become aware of these distorted thinking patterns, I find myself time and time again falling victim to them.  After the event, I tried to do some breath counting meditation, but was unable to make it past 50 (I will usually do 100 counts in a sitting).  The reason, I was just feeling way too angry inside and realized I was rushing the counting and only going through the motions.

It’s time to step back and try to take an objective view on my own behavior and thought patterns. I am still convinced the disarray of my home office is a direct reflection on the mental state of my mind.. twisted, strewn about, and disorganized. 

Ripping Audio OCD

December 7, 2008

I used to play World of Warcraft (WoW), so that was an easy outlet for my OCD fix. Without WoW, I now just rip things into MP3.  I guess I just traded one act for another. At least I can easily stop as ripping something only takes about 5 mins or so.

Distorted Thinking

November 27, 2008

From the Medical Dictionary, distorted thinking is defined as:

Any of a number of ’emotional traps’ that prevent a person from addressing negative emotions Forms of DT All-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, mental filtering, personalizing blame.

We all go through some form of emotional traps in our day to day lives but if we are aware of the forms of distorted thinking, we can stop them in their tracks instead of journeying further down the rabbit hole.

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