At a recent peer led support group at St. Ignatius Church, the mentally ill discussed ways to change their negative thinking.
A disabled veteran suggested using a procedure called ‘catch it, check it, change it’. When he gets a negative thought, he recognizes the thought is negative, checks to see if it is true and then changes the thought to be more positive.
A woman in the group spends time analyzing her negative thoughts to come up with positive affirmations. For example, whenever she thinks ‘I am fat’, she immediately tells herself ‘I have a good body. I can see, hear feel, touch, speak, walk and talk’. Eventually, ‘I am fat’ loses its sting and is automatically replaced by the positive affirmation.
Yet a third participant said that he asks himself ‘what’s the worst that can happen if that thought is true’. He talked about worrying about being late for the support group and asking himself what the worst thing that could happen would be if he were late. It turns out there would be no bad outcome – he wouldn’t be reprimanded, would still be welcome in the group and would get his turn to share his issues. He was worrying for nothing and by the way, he arrived early.
These group meetings, led by NAMI trained peer facilitators are held every Saturday from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM in St. Ignatius Church, 740 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD. They are open to anyone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness and are free of charge. Discussions vary weekly depending on the group members’ needs and current issues. For more information, contact The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Metro Baltimore at 410-435-2600