Our mentors and page authors are not necessarily psychologists or therapists. Even when they are, this page is not medical or psychological advice and they are not creating a doctor/therapist-client relationship. You should consult a professional if possible and they can tell you whether this advice applies to your situation. If this is an emergency, you should call your national emergency number, like 911, or a mental health hotline, like 1-800-950-6264.
If you think that a CBT tool isn’t working for you, you can always do an ABCD graph [link] for that activity.
For example, the activating event might be trying deep breathing. Your belief could be that it’s stupid and won’t work. The consequence is it actually adds to your stress. You could dispute that belief by reminding yourself that new things don’t work immediately, that there are alternatives to try (maybe you need to try it for longer or do a different exercise) and that the fact this activity didn’t work doesn’t mean they all won’t work.
Remember that you need to take time to dive into your psyche. You’re doing the work of a therapist here and it takes time to play detective and solve problems yourself.
One reason that CBT might not work for you, for example, is if what is bothering you is a true and unchangeable fact about your life. Most thoughts aren’t true and unchangeable. A permanent disability may seem unchangeable, but what is bothering you is likely something adjacent to that, such as “I’m not beautiful anymore,” “I’m not loveable,” “I can’t be happy,” or “I can’t take care of myself.”
But sometimes, after you’ve done CBT and downward arrows and arrived at the root cause of your sadness, it really just is something awful. For example, it could be dealing with a death [link]. Then, what’s important is acceptance and coping. Meditation [link], reminding yourself things can get better, focusing on positive psychology tools [link], and finding hidden strength will be necessary moving forward. You can’t always speed up the process of grieving, but you can accept each stage that you’re going through, understand it’s okay, and mitigate the intensity.
A friend or mentor who listens to you is also crucial. If we can help, please reach out.