Thursday, August 24, 2017

Are You Suffering from Negative Mindreading?

Negative Mindreading means you know for sure what your MD believes about you, and you've decided he's an indifferent fiend who hates you and doesn't care about your suffering

It's hard enough to deal with mental illness without creating misery from our imaginations. 

My psychologist Lynn coined the term "negative mindreading" to describe a particular way patients have of negatively personalizing their clinician’s insights.

Here’s a scene from my own treatment:

Dr. Rosen: “You look like you are really doing well”
Shoshana: “Actually, I’ve been having a really hard time with nightmares”

Dr. Rosen: “Nightmares aren’t new for you, are you taking your medication?”
Shoshana: “Yes, but it’s not helping”
Dr. Rosen: “The nightmares may pass, they often do. Just stay on your medication.”

Here’s my negative mindreading:
  • ·       He doesn’t care about my nightmares
  • ·        I don’t matter to him
  • ·        He hates me

What happens after negative mindreading? 

Well if you are like a lot of patients with mental illness you go to the internet and complain to everyone that your psychiatrist is an insensitive jerk who doesn’t care about your suffering. You don’t go to your MD and ask HIM if you are interpreting his insights correctly.

Here’s a better approach for the next appointment:

Shoshana: “Can we talk about ways of curbing my nightmares. We didn’t really address them last appointment”
Dr. Rosen: “They haven’t subsided?”
Shoshana: “No, and last appointment I thought you didn’t care about them”
Dr. Rosen: “I wanted to see if the problem would resolve spontaneously before we discussed treatment. Since that hasn’t happened, let’s try adjusting your Seroquel dose.”

Takeaways from my example:
·        Dr. Rosen wasn’t indifferent to my problem
·        He had a strategy
·        He doesn’t hate me
·        Delete all those comments I made on-line about him being an insensitive jerk (I never really posted that but many patients do)

Consequences of Negative Mindreading
  • ·        You make yourself miserable
  • ·        You are more often than not WRONG in your assessment
  • ·        You make it difficult for your MD or therapist to help you because you convince yourself they don’t care about you

Conclusion: Ask your MD if you feel he doesn’t care, isn’t listening, or hates you. You’ll save yourself a lot of grief and you won’t post stupid stuff online.

Next Up! Relationship Killers Part 3 - Forgetting your MD is a human being. This is a touchy topic for patients and physicians. Heaven forbid he’s having a bad day and you happen to have an appointment during his bad day. We’ll discuss.

Have you ever had to deal with any of these relationship killers? If so, how did you deal with them?

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