CBT: Sixteenth Session

I have had a fairly good week coming up to this session, things were going to plan, I did exposure therapy once and went out fishing every day, however.. my mood swings have been really bad, like I feel so depressed but half an hour later I’m on some sort of high and enjoying everything? It’s so tiring and frustrating… I know it’s not normal but I don’t know what’s causing it which is even more frustrating!

I also worry about losing my friends and being lonely. I told my therapist all of this, the session didn’t turn out to be like CBT but it was basically a talking session where I just spoke about what I was feeling, sometimes you need sessions like this, it really helps a lot!

My therapist mentioned that the mood swings can be caused by me working on my mental health as doing so can make you really happy or really depressed very often, I didn’t really think about it like that, but she is a therapist and I’m not smart haha!

We went to exposure therapy, she mentioned that I really need to try my hardest doing it more than once, but I am. It’s extremely hard and she knows that and said don’t get down about not being able to do it, easier said than done! I am hoping and praying I’ll do it more than once before my next session.

My therapist mentioned an assessment but didn’t say anything more about it. Truthfully, I want to ask for one as I know something isn’t wrong and I’m pretty sure it’s not to do with my mental illness’ I’ve been diagnosed with. That is just so scary for me, it may seem such a small thing to ask for but I’m honestly so scared of doing it, I hope I am able to ask, I really want to ask. Ugh, why are these things so hard?!

I hope my next session goes well, I’m not feeling confident about CBT at the moment, I’m not sure but all that confidence and hopefulness has just emptied out of me and I can’t find the reason why.

Liam

CBT: Fifteenth Session

// T W // Suicidal thoughts & SH //

 

Earlier this week, I had a really awful start to the week, due to something that happened at the hospital, I told my therapist about this – I continuously worried about telling her, I worried that she would find it silly or stupid.

I told her that what happened at the hospital had literally made my MH plummet and made me want to not live anymore, like seriously. I had the strongest SH urges I’ve ever had, but I didn’t do it. I had a good alternative and good coping mechanisms, and that’s four weeks, which is a month of no self-harm, I am bloody amazed! I only did exposure therapy once as I was meant to do it three times, but because of how bad I felt I didn’t do it, which she totally understood!

I told her that people and herself are telling me I’m doing so well, but I don’t feel like I am, I feel like I’m not doing good? It’s weird to explain but I don’t feel happy or feel like I’m doing good. She explained how that is normal when you struggle with your mental health, that you don’t realise how good you really are doing. She then made me write a list of positive/good things I have managed to do since starting therapy with her, listing it helped so much. It made me think I have been doing well and I just need to stop being so hard on myself and give myself credit at times.

My list was this:

  • No SH for a month
  • Resisting the SH urges
  • Went to Liverpool with a friend and ordered my own drink
  • Went Starbucks by myself and ordered my own drink
  • Planning my future change in career
  • Went on a night out
  • Carried on blogging when I felt like quitting
  • Applying for lots of jobs

When someone who doesn’t struggle with their MH reads this, it may seem like they are such little things to do, but for me, they were so big and I’ve realised that I am doing incredibly well so far and I need to be able to feel it, slowly but surely I will be able to.

My therapist then asked me to list the things I am doing to keep myself on the road to recovery/keep myself doing good things and not falling into a pit of depression!

I will be doing:

  • Going out more on my own
  • Not being too hard on myself
  • Rewarding myself
  • Reading more
  • Being more positive

Another fantastic CBT session, on to the next one!

Liam

 

Why I started blogging #MHAW17

I talked a bit about this in my post this week, social media & mental health. I thought it’d be a good topic to make a stand-alone post for, I’ve wanted to do one for a few weeks, but silly me hasn’t got around to doing it! Pro procrastinator over here.

I started blogging early January this year if I remember correctly, it is the same week I started CBT for the first time. My first post was my introduction to CBT. I started blogging because my therapist mentioned that I should have something where I can just vent, and just write whatever I want. A friend of mine mentioned blogging, I thought it was too late at first because there are many bloggers out there. I then realised I don’t do it for views or whatever I get, I do it for a place to vent, I still do.

I remember spending ages writing my first post and putting it out. It was scary, but it was a good feeling actually writing stuff. It got such a good and lovely response I was honestly shocked. I didn’t expect people to read my posts – I’m not the best writer at all…

I got into blogging real quick, I was doing a post every two days, I had so many things to write about and get off my chest, it really did my mental health good to start blogging and join the community of mental health bloggers. I was writing personal posts just because I wanted to, it was scary, posting about your life on a blog where anyone in the world could see, but it was good to do so, as I said before, it felt good.

I’ve not stopped blogging since I started, and I always tweet, like way too much. I’m so happy I started blogging, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have made so many supportive friends in this community, it really has made me a better person. The community is so positive and supportive and that’s why I love blogging so much, I am happy my friend mentioned blogging to me.

 

A letter to Gemma #MHAW17

Where do I start? You are such a great friend, you may not realise this but you’ve saved my life. Being able to speak to you about anything and everything really helps. I feel like a burden to you sometimes, but I know that is just my MH speaking, and I know you truly care about me, and that’s amazing as I feel like not many people do.

I love how you are always there for me, anytime, any day. I can always rely on you to cheer me up with your hilarious jokes (you are so funny it’s unreal)I don’t know how you do it, but whenever I have urges or horrible thoughts, speaking to you makes them all go away or makes them controllable.

I remember you helping me with finding sites for stock photos, and ever since then we have become so close friends, and I am so happy for that. If I didn’t have a friend like you, I don’t know where I would be, or what would happen to me really.

You are a star, you are absolutely brilliant and beautiful. You are so kind to everyone on twitter, and I am so fortunate to have you in my life, you deserve all the love in the world and all the chocolate.

I love love love your blog, you are such a talented writer, and you always help me with posts, you are one of the best bloggers in my eyes. I admire how honest you are and how strong you are with battling your mental health, your strongness drives me to beat my mental illness, it really does.

I wanted to write this to show my true appreciation to you, Gemma, I am currently sobbing whilst writing this (i truly am an emotional mess). I am so lucky to have a friend like you, I always feel like I don’t deserve you. I love you, you’re the best.

If you want to read her amazing blog or follow her on twitter, here are the links!

https://mysweetanxiety.com/

@gemcals

Social Media & Mental Health #MHAW17

It was recorded on January 17, that there were around 3.773 billion internet users and 2.789 social media users.  81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day. this is likely to increase as more generations are born into this era. Growing up with social media developing has shown me just how powerful the influence of social media can be. Unfortunately, this influence can be both positive and negative with the creation of cyber bullies & trolls, and the general ability to comment on each other’s lives from behind a screen. But, I don’t want to focus on the negatives. I want to talk about the positive impact social media has had on my mental health, and how it can help yours too.

For me, social media has helped me so much. For four years, I had no one to talk to about my mental health. I was isolated and knew nobody to talk to. I didn’t even speak to my parents as I wasn’t quite ready for that.

I then googled mental health blogs, as I thought there would be people who blog, and there was. There were hundreds. I was scared to join in, but I did it as I thought it’d be good for me. I joined in January this year, and ever since that, I have made so many friends, and met a good friend also! Social media may not be the best place at times but I have found that the community on twitter is fantastic, it has helped me so much and gave me friends that I will have for the rest of my life. It is truly fantastic what a community can do to you, it can help you so much it’s unreal.

Twitter has to be my favourite platform. I don’t think any other platform comes close to it. Twitter has this extremely personal feel at times, especially with followers, and being in a community related to one single thing, you get to know people and make friends. It is great how easy you can find new people and new friends, that’s why I love it.

Here are a few of my favourite people in this community, they all are so helpful and supportive it is absolutely amazing! I would list them all.. but this blog post would be too long, literally, there’s like 500 people I could list!

Gemma – Blog / Twitter

Sophie – Blog / Twitter

Rich – Blog / Twitter

Nicole – Blog / Twitter

Laura – Blog / Twitter

Mike – Blog / Twitter

Rosie – Blog / Twitter

Rachel – Blog / Twitter

Liam

sources:
http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/
http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016-methodology/

CBT: Fourteenth Session #MHAW17

This session we talked about me needing to go out more by myself, I’ve started going out more, with friends and my family but I only feel safe going out with them. I’m slowly going out by myself, to places like Starbucks but it’s such a challenge and I don’t stay there for long which is the problem. I need to stay there longer, like exposure therapy basically!

Behavioural Experiment

My therapist mentioned this, she wants me to go out 3 times within the next week, by myself and I must not go home if I have a panic attack. I must ride it out whilst still being out and away from my safe zone which is my home. Which will be really hard, but I can do it! I need to keep motivated! again, like exposure therapy!

Worrying and overthinking

I mentioned this to my therapist today as lately, especially the last few months, it seems to be getting worse when mostly everything seems to be getting better, which is annoying! I told her everything, that I never really go out by myself due to the fear of having a panic attack and having people laugh at me, we spoke about that and I told her it happened when I was in school and college, but not since. That is always playing on my mind though, I worry about what people think when they look at me, worry about what they might say if I am midst panic attack. She asked me a good question, it was “what do you think you look like when you have a panic attack? I basically said a mess, I feel really hot when panicking so probably red in the face, breathing all over the place and sometimes crying. She then asked me to stand up in front of the mirror. This was weird as I hate looking at myself in the mirror because of my BDD. Anyway, I did it. It was so worth it. She made me breathe really fast, which triggers a panic attack. She then asked me “do you look any different” and apart from a bit sweaty no I didn’t! This has changed everything for me. For ages, I thought I look so weird and horrible when I have a panic attack, apart from the crying and the sweatiness! – the room was so hot it’s unreal!

Safety Mechanisms

We spoke about what I do when I’m out to make me feel more at ease/safe. I said my fidget spinner, headphones, my phone and my fidget cube. She doesn’t mind me using these for now as I am getting close to being able to go out by myself a lot more, but soon I will need to try to go out without these, which will be a challenge but I am 100% up for it!

 

Therapy is going great lately, as you can tell by the blog posts probably! It is going so well and I feel like my mental health is the best it’s been this year, what a change! 2 months ago I wasn’t doing so well, but now I am doing so well! It does get better!

Liam

25 ways to indulge in self care. #MHAW17

Self-care is incredibly important, on your good days, and your bad days. Self-care is always needed. I try to take the time to self-care every day or so, but when I’m feeling bad, it’s hard but it’s still possible! I wrote a post on self-care, you can check it out here!

This post will include 25 methods of self-care, however, self-care is different for everyone! It’s important you find a few things that you do for self-care so you can alternate them each day or so!

  1. Have a nice, hot bubble bath.
  2. Read a book you enjoy, even if you’ve read it already!
  3. Go for a walk or a run.
  4. Go fishing, it’s really relaxing!
  5. Take a social media break, at times we need to do this.
  6. Clean your room, organise things.
  7. Play your favourite song, whether it be a piano, guitar or whatever you play!
  8. Draw! Draw anything! Let your mind run free!
  9. Have your favourite meal for lunch.
  10. Listen to your favourite songs or listen to a good upbeat playlist! (Spotify has loads!)
  11. Watch your favourite tv show or movie. (I recommend Shaun of the dead!)
  12. Take a chair outside and watch the sunrise/sunset
  13. Watch Netflix all day, if you want! (my favourite self-care method!)
  14. Search positive quotes and write them down on a piece of paper.
  15. Do some mindfulness activities.
  16. Have a go at meditation!
  17. Have a pamper night with one of your best friends, or by yourself!
  18. Watch funny fail videos on youtube and laugh for ages.
  19. If you have a to-do list, cross out some to-dos!
  20. Practice breathing methods.
  21. Get a towel, lay down on some grass and watch the clouds move.
  22. Go for a nice bike ride with some good scenic areas!
  23. Fix something you’ve been wanting to fix for ages!
  24. Wear your comfiest clothes, may it be a onesie, a hoody or whatever!
  25. Treat yourself. That new thing you saw in the shop and you want? Buy it!

As I said, self-care is different for everyone! I have listed 25, some that I actually do on a very regular basis! If you have any different methods and would like to share with people, comment on this post and people will see them!

Liam

Music & My Mental Health #MHAW17

For me, music helps me so much in related to my mental health, especially when I’m having a bad mental health day. I also love music so much (if you follow me on twitter, you can probably already tell that I love music so much and my music taste is so wide, I LOVE MOST MUSIC!)I find music really chills me out and makes me drown out the horrible urges and thoughts, especially if I play it extremely loud! – a tip I got from my therapist to help stop urges, and it works!

I find music really chills me out and makes me drown out the horrible urges and thoughts, especially if I play it extremely loud! – a tip I got from my therapist to help stop urges, and it works! I have heard from other friends that music also helps them, it’s a beautiful thing, right?!

I thought, why not write a post and tell you guys what my favourite songs when I’m having a bad day, a good day, in need of energy and when I feel good!

Music for when I have a bad day:

  • Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better
  • WALK THE MOON – Shut Up And Dance
  • The 1975 – UGH!
  • The xx – Angels
  • S Club 7 – Reach
  • Pvris – Holy

Music for when I am having a good day:

  • Ian Carey Project – Get Shaky
  • Christine and the Queens – iT
  • Clean Cut Kid – Vitamin C
  • The xx – Say Something Loving
  • The Cranberries – Dream
  • Theia – Roam

Music for when I need energy:

  • Skepta – Shutdown
  • The 1975 – Heart Out
  • Fickle Friends – Say No More
  • Cascada – Evacuate The Dance Floor
  • S Club 7 – S Club Party
  • The Veronicas – Untouched

Music for when I feel good:

  • Good Charlotte – Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous
  • HOLYCHILD – Happy With Me
  • Kesha – Your Love Is My Drug
  • The 1975 – Loving Someone
  • Sia – Cheap Thrills
  • The Wombats – Greek Tragedy

I could of literally probably list about 50 songs per list but you know… that’d be too long and you wouldn’t read it.. right?

If music helps you, then stick by it! If it doesn’t, try and find some songs that cheer you up, I guarantee music can help in some way, it’s a beautiful thing!

Liam

What having mental illness’ feels like. #MHAW17

I thought, with it being Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 this week, I felt like asking my followers/people on twitter what they would tell someone if they had to explain how it feels like having mental illness’

Here’s what I got from all my amazing friends on twitter! (Some chose to be Anon)

 

“It’s like you’re screaming and no one can hear. You almost feel ashamed that someone could be that important, that without them you feel like nothing. No one will ever understand how much it hurts. You feel hopeless like nothing can save you. And when it’s over and it’s gone, you almost wish you could have all the bad stuff back, so you can have the good” – @amylouiseblogsx

 

“It feels like you’re suffocated, suffocated by your own self. By your own mind, by your own brain. It also feels like your brain is turning on you, making you feel all these horrible thoughts and negative things. It makes me feel like I am alone in this battle. It makes me feel like nobody likes me and everyone finds me so annoying and pathetic as I am struggling so much” – Anon

 

“With BPD I have no idea what’s coming next. I can go 0-10 in a matter moments. I have periods of stability and periods of depression. Living with MH problems is so hard because the right support isn’t out there. If treatment was more accessible lives would be made much easier” – @ohevieee

 

“Yanno when you’re playing sims and you take the ladder out of the swimming pool so they can’t get out and drown? That.” – @rosiebsteele

 

“Living w/mh problems is like you’re drowning in the sea of your mind yet to everyone else it’s like you’re swimming. it’s exhausting.” – @LiVNiZZZLE

 

“Don’t judge people. You have no idea what’s going on in somebody’s head. Living with a mental illness is a daily battle. You need to focus on getting through each day. Not every day is a challenge, but when the good days come around they are amazing” – @louisechatters

 

“For me, struggling with your mental health is like being let down by a good friend. You’ve an influence on them, but most of the time you’ve no conscious control. Disappointment creeps up on you when you least expect it, and no matter how hard you commit you always seem to revisit that feeling of being let down every so often.”                – @gemcals

 

“Living with a mental health illness can be more than crappy. I have had some very dark days, days were I wasn’t sure I wanted to the the sun rise the next day. Some days I don’t get dressed, some days I don’t talk to anyone. The self doubt the low self worth can be isolating and extremely demoralising. That said there is a light. There are so many amazing people out there ready to help and support you. Mind, Samaritans, Rethink Mental Illness, to name just a few. Not to mention the online peer to peer support you can find. Please remember you are worthy, you are loved and there will always be some who will listen. You are not alone.” – @Mike_Douglas_

“Living with a mental illness is a constant challenge. Every day is different, some are easy but some are very difficult. It can be almost humiliating knowing that you don’t have full control of your brain. Normal things people take for granted such as going to the shops or calling a friend can sometimes be impossible, making life very lonely. But, the more you learn about your illness, the better you can make your life. I have found self-care routines that help and medication helps to stabilise my mood.”             – @OceanofFearXx

 

As you can see by all the awesome people telling how hard it can be to live with mental illness’ you will be able to tell that it is extremely hard, so if you have a friend or a loved one suffering from their mental health, be sure to be there and make sure they don’t feel lonely!

Liam

 

 

CBT: Thirteenth Session

I was really calm before this session, mainly due to the fact I had propranolol (it helped me so much, I was the calmest I had ever been in months, it was absolutely amazing)

After having a pretty good week, meeting a really good friend, challenging my anxiety and going two weeks without any sort of SH, I came into this session really confident, happy and calm.

As usual, like every session, I filled out the GAD-7 PHQ-9 questionnaire. Scores keep slowly coming down! Woooop! This session was mainly filled with body confidence, getting higher self-esteem and things related to this.

We spoke about being on propanolol, I explained how good I felt after having it yesterday, and my therapist said that since I am now on something to take away the physical symptoms of anxiety, now I can challenge in mentally and start beating it and controlling it, which I am so excited to do!

My therapist explained this “Big I, Little I” technique used in CBT. It is a really good technique! You draw a big I and write positive things about yourself, may it be your body, your personality etc. It is something used for BDD at times and just self-esteem improving and such!

We managed to come up with all of this in the session! I am surprised as I felt like I had nothing positive to say about myself, but with just talking about myself to my therapist, we came up with so much! It’s my goal to fill the Big I in before my next session!

(excuse my horrible handwriting and the horrible picture quality!)

I’m trying to be as positive as I can, as I feel like positivity is key when you’re fighting your mental illness’ So, positive positive positive for the next few weeks!!!

Liam