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One of my most problematic symptoms is the voice that says horrible things to me. It can be either silent just in my head or I can say it out loud. Examples are: Everybody hates you. You're pathetic. You stupid bitch. You're useless. You fucking idiot. These insults are relentless and happen when I'm alone. Often it's when I'm in bed and I have to yell out something like shut up get out of my head. But this is endless and the voice will come back, guaranteed. What are some good strategies for when the voice speaks to you? It's really torturing me and the constant criticism is destroying what little self esteem I have. 

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I also have a very critical voice that really gets forceful during a depressive episode. I have had some success with using distraction-like naming 5 things I can see with a particular color,  then 4 with another color,  then 3,2,1 with different colors. There are many different techniques.  

Do you have a therapist?  

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I have a harsh inner critic. Sometimes, I can't get him to shut up. I try to distract myself.

I just posted this on another post, but if you start to believe your inner critic and get depressed, cbt can help.

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This is largely a therapy problem. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was designed particularly to address the inner critic. I would advise you to look for a therapist that specializes in CBT. You might also want to look at some CBT workbooks.

 

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I personally found that CBT made it worse since I took the torment "seriously" and tried to challenge it.  This just poured gas onto the fire really (I have "pure" OCD).  The only treatment (of any kind) that helped me was ERP https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/treatment/erp/ where you paradoxically deliberately "bring in" the thoughts that are tormenting you.  Check it out.

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I also have a very harsh inner critic. I hold myself to exceptionally high standards and then beat myself up relentlessly when I fail to meet them.

As others have said, a good approach to treating this is CBT. This is the workbook recommended/used by a CBT-based IOP program I have done. It's written by David Burns who is kind of an authority on CBT. Don't let the title fool you though, it will take more than 10 days to get through the workbook - it's tough work. I have some good skills from it though. Maybe worth a shot for you?

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I remembered an amazing book I read called The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris. There's a chapter called The Great Storyteller. Some of the techniques he describes include how to cope with a negative thought such as "I'm a loser" and singing it to the tune of your favourite song. You will not take the thought so seriously after that. Another technique is naming your mind's favourite stories, such as The Loser story or the My Life Sucks story. When your stories come up in your mind, acknowledge them by name. e.g. "Aha! Here comes the "I can't cope" story." One you've acknowledged a story, that's it - just let it be. 

Some other techniques - putting your negative thoughts/images onto a television screen in your mind and give it silly voice overs or subtitles. E.g. "I got rejected by my lover!" Premiers on channel 7 Friday 7.30pm. or Now showing at a movie theatre near you. 

The book goes into a lot of detail - it's 280 pages long.

It's a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. I'm going to now reread it. 

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Is it your own voice, or someone else's voice that's criticizing you?

Glad you'll see a therapist soon to discuss this. Ask him/her about CBT or DBT, and mindfulness/meditation.

CBT made things worse for me because I felt like I couldn't do it no matter how hard I tried, so to me I was failing the treatment program, which was quite intense. A couple of months later, I got into a DBT program which was a much better fit, although the days were also broke up with art therapy and other topical sessions, in addition to medical care, so felt less intense or taxing. 

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On ‎28‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 3:12 PM, pocketpanda said:

Is it your own voice, or someone else's voice that's criticizing you?

Glad you'll see a therapist soon to discuss this. Ask him/her about CBT or DBT, and mindfulness/meditation.

CBT made things worse for me because I felt like I couldn't do it no matter how hard I tried, so to me I was failing the treatment program, which was quite intense. A couple of months later, I got into a DBT program which was a much better fit, although the days were also broke up with art therapy and other topical sessions, in addition to medical care, so felt less intense or taxing. 

It is my own voice - the voice of the depressed anxious critical me. CBT doesn't do much for me either, but I do like the look of ACT. I will discuss it with the psychologist.

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