Your worried character who lives in the past
I'd never thought of worry and a compulsion to think on past events as a gateway to mental illness, but according to this release and the articles referenced, it is.
We probably all know someone who seems overcome if not obsessed by some past event or series of events. Perhaps we've even been there ourselves. I have, but it was something that passed as I worked through it.
But what of someone who can't seem to work through it? Who continues to struggle. How does this mind set effect people, say a character in a story you're working on? Where does it take them? What is the worst case outcome? How does it effect the people around them, the other characters in your story? Or in your life?
As always, it's important to remember that research shows that people suffering a mental illness are unlikely to become violent - they're much more likely to be the victim of violence.
Here's the story with a link to the series in the journal, Clinical Psychological Science.
* * * * *
Illuminating mechanisms of repetitive thinking
The ability to engage in mental time travel -- to delve back into past events or imagine future outcomes -- is a unique and central part of the human experience. And yet this very ability can have detrimental consequences for both physical and mental well-being when it becomes repetitive and uncontrolled.
|The Mindful Path |
Worry and Rumination:
Letting Go of Anxious
and Depressive Thoughts
by Sumeet M. Kumar Ph.d.
Order new & used from
"Our interest (as a journal) in repetitive thinking is in the role it may play in clinical dysfunction but also in mental health and physical health more generally. Apart from the role of repetitive thinking in clinical dysfunction, such thinking plays a pervasive role in everyday life and more broadly is central to the human condition," writes CPS Editor Alan Kazdin in his introduction. "This series is rich in the facets of repetitive thinking that are discussed and illustrated, including the role of rumination in dysfunction and therapeutic change."
According to special series guest editors Rudi De Raedt, Paula Hertel, and Edward Watkins, the articles collectively provide clear evidence for the advantages of taking a procedural, transdiagnostic approach to understanding repetitive thinking and other cognitive phenomena.
"Conceptualizing disorders with respect to converging patterns could stimulate the development of a new generation of interventions focused on changing the processes of disordered thought and affect," De Raedt, Hertel, and Watkins write in their introduction to the special series.
"Soon gone are the days of believing that clinical psychology can advance merely by describing people's thoughts and labeling them according to diagnostic criteria," the guest editors conclude.
The special series can be found at:
- Aggressive Sports and Domestic Violence
- Are Dogs 'Kids?'
- Brains Process the Pain of Villains More Than the Pain of People We Like
- Change, Conflict Cue Memories of Life's Milestones
- Do Patients in a Vegetative State Recognize Loved Ones?
- Expansive postures = state of power = sign of dishonest behavior
- If You're Not Looking for It, You Probably Won't See It
- Intelligence Is Not a Remedy for Racism
- It's Better to Be Confident Than Correct
- Kill One or Kill Five? How People Respond to Moral Dilemmas
- Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Are On Prescription Drugs
- Nightmares Create Feelings of Sadness, Confusion, Guilt, and Disgust ~ Not Fear
- People Remember Unattractive Faces More Than Attractive Ones
- The Small But Important Difference Between Apes and Humans
- Sudden Wealth makes People Conservative and Less Egalitarian
- Touch May Alleviate Fear for People with Low Self-Esteem
- Weighed Down by Guilt: Research Shows It's More Than a Metaphor
- Yes, People Can Learn Compassion
- Your "Sherlock Holmes" Character: What Pupil Size Says About People Facing a Decision