Quarantine – Week 3


I can go to sleep with ease, socially engage, and passionately sing on pitch when I have compassionate self-talk. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.

I am getting to know myself really well during this time, and wow…I can be mean to myself. I can really discourage myself. I had no idea how much I held myself back with my negative self-talk.

I can be compassionate or hurtful. I can be my #1 fan or wallow in doubt and self-loathing. I can be kind or harsh. It is my choice when the present moment arrives.

Automatic Thoughts & Cognitive Distortions:

Typically my negative self-talk is automatic thoughts full of cognitive distortions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches that there are 15 cognitive distortions and that it is important to acknowledge automatic thoughts, be able to label them, dig for evidence, and if disproved, then replace that automatic thought with reality, optimism, or just let it go…to the unknown.

  • Filtering – I filter out positives and magnify negatives
  • Polarization – I only see reality in extremes with no middle ground and no room for “and” just “either/or” (I’m perfect or a failure)
  • Over-Generalizations – I conclude (in general terms) based on one incident (I receive one bad grade for one semester and think I am a horrible student who should quit school)
  • Global Labeling – I generalize one or two qualities into negative global judgements (if I fail one specific task, then I am a total loser)
  • Catastrophizing – I notice a problem, begin to “what if” and expect disaster (if I get a cough, then I will die)
  • Shoulds – I have a list of ironclad rules that everyone must abide by. I am angry when others don’t follow them and feel guilty when I don’t follow them. I must be punished if I don’t do things a certain way
  • Being Right – it is unthinkable to be wrong. All of you are on trial for me to prove that my opinions and actions are all absolutely correct. Being right is more important than the feelings of those around me
  • Mind Reading – I assume that the way others feel, think, and act is because of me (holding a grudge from a rumor and not finding out if it is true)
  • Personalization – I am always comparing myself to others and taking everything personally (we were late to the party and caused everyone at the party to have a bad time because of it)
  • Blaming – you are responsible for my emotional pain OR I am responsible for all of my pain (even if it is clearly out of my control in the context)
  • Emotional Reasoning – what I feel is true (if I feel like I am stupid, then I am stupid)
  • Control Fallacies – I am helpless and a victim of life with no control and I am also responsible for the pain and happiness of others (I can’t fix my quality at work because my boss overworks me)
  • Fairness Fallacies – I feel resentful, angry, and hopeless because I know what is fair but others don’t agree. I apply a fairness measure to every situation
  • Change Fallacies – I expect others to change for me when I press them to. They must change because my happiness depends on them
  • Heaven’s Reward Fallacies – I expect all my sacrifice and self-denial will pay off. There is a global score keeper. When I don’t receive my pay off, I get upset

Automatic thoughts with cognitive distortions happen when I fill in the unknown blanks with…anything really. What could I do differently?

The Unknown – Fill in the Blank:

I think the best approach to the unknown blanks in every situation is to be present and only respond to the facts. But, I could sit there and gather facts all day…and before I know it the decision has come and gone. So much of the time, I need to make a decision without many concrete facts because truly there is no perfection out there. Life just leaves it up to me to make educated guesses.

I think the best approach to educated guessing is: whatever outcome becomes of the situation, I want an outcome of which my behaviors were respectable to me. I do not have control over the situation being respectable to me. But, I need my behaviors to be respectable to me because that, at the very least, I mostly have “control within the context.”

Respectable Kevin:

Next week I will go deeper into my vision of a respectable Kevin: the personality traits that I live up to on a daily basis. Also, I became much closer to my self-talk and saw this “inner dialogue” in a much deeper and necessary way. I am excited to share that with you soon because it is a real life-changer for me.

The time I have spent in quarantine has caused me to turn inward. Every week has become a deeper look at myself. I am really getting to know me without anywhere to run. It is scary, an adventure, and totally fulfilling. I am loving it and can’t wait to utilize all that I am learning to be a more “tapped into” version of me out in the world.

Live Music:

There have been a lot of musicians coming on Instagram and other platforms to perform live. I really appreciated this. Trace Bundy came on this week and I wanted to share his incredible music and guitar-playing with you all. Enjoy 🙂

About Kevin Carlstead

I graduated as a hospitality and psychology student at University of Denver. I spent most of my teenage and young adult years in the hospitality industry. I am still searching for what industry suits my personality and talents so that I can feel more meaning throughout my days. My current career pursuit has me enrolled in a graduate program to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I love music with something to it. I love life with something to it. I have made it one of my purposes in this life to integrate both of these things that I love. This blog and my own songwriting has given me the platforms to do that very thing. Thank you for reading.
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