LISA SCHLESINGER, LCSW-C
Why do some days feel inevitably swayed in an unfortunate direction? You get into your car only to find that it won’t start. You call the auto club and you are left waiting for hours. You finally arrive at work, after hitting every red light, to discover your meeting was cancelled. When you look in your wallet, you realize your son took your last 20 and now, you can’t get lunch.
Do you ever have those days where you feel everything is wrong? You feel you look awful in the exact same clothes you wore last week. You compare yourself to others and find yourself coming up short. Last week, you felt you measured up and today? You feel everything is just “wrong.” You feel people are treating you unkindly. You ask for help at the store only to feel invisible. You think to yourself, no one will ever help you.
As a psychoanalyst, I am fortunate to get know the people who come to see me. With this type of treatment, I meet with people several times a week. This frequency affords us the opportunity to come to understand the antecedents to moods and shifts in mindset. For example, a person may come in one day and think their life feels hopeful, that they may be next in line for a promotion. The next day, they may feel all hope is gone. Why the change in mood or state of mind? This is due to shifts in the person’s internal reality. Our mind receives information from the outside world. We also receive information from inside our own minds which process, manage, criticize and evaluate our experience. This internal reality is very important.
Our mind shifts from moment to moment throughout any given day. This is not to negate the reality that sometimes, unfortunate external things seem to happen. Rather, it is to say that one’s psychological life affects the lens in which a person experiences their life. If we reflect on the beginning example, we can imagine that another person, in a different state of mind, may not have noticed every red light. Maybe, they were listening to the radio when their favorite song came on to which they happily sang along.
When you feel, everything is going wrong, you may be experiencing persecutory thoughts and feelings, the sense that the world is not on your side. To put it simply, you may be having a “glass half empty” day. It may be difficult to see things a different way when you are in this state of mind. Therefore, you need to ride it out until the storm passes. Increasing awareness, may help you see that what you thought was wrong, may be an opportunity for growth.