Cognitive distortion is when what you see might not be true.
Catastrophizing is such a great word, and I have to admit, I do it all the time. As of today, I haven’t had a laptop for two weeks. I keep telling Mark, If I don’t get a laptop by tomorrow, the world is going to end.
Somehow he doesn’t really hear me. I tell him if I don’t have email again soon, I’m going to shave my head. Every day he tells me, you still have your hair.
Mark doesn’t think of everything that goes wrong as catastrophe. He believes that a lot of things can actually be fixed.
Why does one catastrophize instead of thinking rationally? Because it seems rational to you when you’re doing it. When you’re getting crazy, the craziness spins logically for you.
The other cognitive distortion that I’m so fond of is when there is a big gap between how you see yourself and how others see you. You think you’re a loser but everyone else sees a competent person.
You think you’re super important, others don’t quite see that. You think you’re brilliant, others say you’re average.
Of course, along with that is the cognitive distortion where you jump to conclusions.
Let me assure you, all of these cognitive distoritions are what make a character interesting. If you make a character who is completely mentally healthy, who cares? What you need to rock it, is some people who are screwed up.
When you get ready to write your next novel, think cognitive distortion.