CBT: Twentieth Session

This is my first session since being back from holiday, I thought I’d update you with how the holiday was, as it would make this post longer because my session this week wasn’t that in-depth.

The holiday was amazing! The first day or so wasn’t. My anxiety was the worst it has been in weeks. However, I just did many techniques I’ve learnt throughout CBT and I was back to enjoying my holiday! I challenged BDD by wearing shorts every single day on holiday and it was amazing!

This session just consisted of talking about my holiday and talking about what I want to get out of therapy. My therapist thinks I have improved drastically and she said she didn’t think I would have improved as good as I have done in the time I’ve been in CBT.

I’ve stopped SH, I’ve challenged my social anxiety and challenged my negative core beliefs which I thought were true and right, but turns out by challenging them I have learnt they are not true at all! I am so happy with how far I’ve come and high-intensity CBT has honestly changed my life.

My therapist showed me a “maintaining progress log” which we will fill out in the upcoming sessions as basically my own blueprint for my own therapy when I finish CBT. It will help with relapse prevention and if I need to phone anyone or have more therapy then that’ll also be on there. This is the first time since starting therapy that I actually feel that I am getting more ready to finish therapy. It’s not so scary for me anymore.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking back to January. I was in the darkest place, I was honestly worried about my own safety and I had almost no one to speak to about my mental health, 6 months later and I have so many supportive friends and I’m close to finishing CBT. I thought this would never happen, but it has.

Things do get better. Even if they seem near impossible to get better, they can and will.

 

 

CBT: Eighteenth Session

We mainly focused on BDD and my emotions/moods in this session, which I’m really happy about! I have wanted to challenge my BDD for ages but it just wasn’t time and there were other things to challenge, now is the time though and I am ready!

My therapist introduced me to a thought record sheet for my body dysmorphia, I will list all my thoughts about what I feel about my body and what I think others are thinking. I also have to list the situation/trigger which will help my therapist find my triggers and work on them. It also involves rating emotions, this record will help me as I will be able to find what is the worst situation for my BDD and then I can challenge it, slowly but surely.

We went over the negative core beliefs that we did many sessions ago, she asked me if I thought they were still true, because of all the work I’ve done. Many of them I thought were not true anymore, like where I was scared of people seeing me when I have a panic attack, turns out I don’t really look different. There are still a few that I feel I can work on, such as.  “I’m a failure” “I’m not good enough” There were a few more.. but I stupidly left my sheet in my session! Silly me!

I also looked at a worksheet called “wheel of emotions” My therapist gave me that just to reassure me that the feelings/emotions I have are perfectly normal. She also mentioned that my mood swings could just be more obvious as I am now obviously thinking about my moods.

I’m still doing the exposure therapy, it’s going really well and I’m actually feeling proud of myself for the first time in months!

CBT: Seventeenth Session

// T W // Self Harm 

 

Before I go into detail on this post, I would like to just say that I am certainly not bragging about having CBT, some people think I am. It’s like they think I like having therapy. Fun fact – I hate going therapy, I hate telling my therapist what I feel, I would never brag about doing something I fucking hate, I’m never going to stop blogging, it helps me and I’ve been told it helps others have an insight of therapy when they are worried about starting it. Nobody will stop me.

This session was really good, I should have been 6 weeks clean from self-harm on the day of the session but I self-harmed. However, I’m not letting it rule me, It’s one time in 6 weeks, I am so proud of myself for doing so, here’s to longer next time!

I asked my therapist about the assessment she mentioned as my mood swings are getting awful, really awful. But, because I’m in the IAPT system, I’ve got to see my GP first.. and she’s on annual leave, just my luck eh!

She asked me what I wanted to focus on, as all I am doing lately is exposure therapy for my social anxiety, which is actually going surprisingly well! I said I want to focus on BDD and on my mood and having things to get all my anger out, as I tend to snap at my friends and I hate myself for it.

 

Facing BDD is like facing social anxiety, it’s basically exposure therapy but without doing stuff to hide your body. For me, my exposure therapy includes wearing shorts and short sleeves, as I always wear jeans as my legs are a big part of my BDD and I always wear hoodies to hide my stomach and arms. I don’t quite feel ready for it at the moment, but my therapist says that’s okay! I need to still focus on my exposure therapy for my social anxiety as that needs to be a regular thing for me for the time being!

Hopefully, after I’m home from my holiday I’ll be able to see my doctor and get the reason for my horrific mood swings because I really need to get to the bottom of these as they are horrible and I can’t manage them at the moment.

Liam

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

 

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

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

Living with a speech problem

I’ve been unable to speak properly all my life, I’ve had years of speech therapy but it hasn’t worked, one bit. I have dyspraxia but I have not officially been told if it’s linked to my dyspraxia. Something has to have caused me to not be able to speak, but no consultant has found out why. I can’t pronounce certain letters like G, Q, K, V and others. I also stutter so much and speak very fast, people say I speak too fast so much, but I can’t control it. I wish I could.

I get annoyed with myself so often for not being able to pronounce things properly, and when people ask me to repeat what I said – everybody does this, even family (I can’t blame them for asking, if they don’t understand something, they would ask as they want to know). I get so angry with myself but I need to learn to not, but it’s a really hard thing to learn, hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it one day. I can’t help that I have a speech problem, but my god.. what I’d do to just get rid of it somehow.

Countless years of speech therapy, attempting so many different methods and it’s not worked.  If I remember correctly, I didn’t learn to speak until pretty late, like 5 or 6?

My life with a speech problem has been hard, it is the cause of my social anxiety (80% certain) Bullying, people asking you to repeat every single thing most of the time. It’s certainly very frustrating.

Bullying has been a big problem, especially in high school, I expected it to be honest, but it was constant throughout high school. Comments, people purposely not pronouncing things right when I come into the room, or into the area. People mimicking me, telling me to “learn to speak properly” A comment which has been said many, many times. If I could… learn” I’d actually love to be able to speak properly, it’d change my life, completely. It has been something which people just seem to notice and say things about, it stops me from going out because I am scared of people not understanding me, people saying things and judging me.

I wish I could speak properly like people can do. It’s something that has affected my life in many ways, it has made me have so low self-esteem, it’s made me scared of going out, and possibly the cause of most of my MH problems really. If I was able to speak properly, would I not be so afraid of what people think about me? Who knows…

 

Liam

 

CBT: Twelfth session

// TRIGGER WARNING – SELF HARM //

This post was meant to go up yesterday, but I actually went out and socialised! Shock! I had a great time and challenged my anxiety in multiple ways!As I made a list in the previous session, throughout the week I was trying to tick things off, and add things onto it. I found it really motivating to do so.

As I made a list in the previous session, throughout the week I was trying to tick things off, and add things onto it. I found it really motivating to do so.

I filled out the usual GAD-7 PHQ-9 questionnaire. The scores are going down slowly, which is great! We focused the session on what we can do to get the scores down. She mentioned that my depression can go down with doing things, challenging it. Not staying in all day where it’ll get worse and then the self-harm starts again. I’ve only self-harmed once in two weeks! I am beyond happy about this, things are looking so good it’s brilliant I LOVE IT! We also talked about the CBT formula and the cycle of depression, which I am apparently slowly breaking! Woo!

I mentioned how I seem to be so agitated and I tend to just snap at people lately, even my parents and sisters. I seem to snap for some reason. It makes me feel so crap when I just shout at them but I have no reason why I do so. I also explained how I sleep so much and it’s not making me feel any better, so she wants me to set up a schedule, for each week – I had one with my previous therapist but with my relapse of SH and being moved up to higher intensity therapist, I didn’t really stick by it.

The schedule for this week included getting up at 10 am, prevent boredom by doing things I love – reading, blogging, writing, fishing, listening to music etc. Go out with a friend, which I did yesterday and it was the best day for a long time! It also includes me buying a journal which I’ve already done – god I am getting this scheduled one brilliantly!!! I told her about my low self-esteem and how I feel about myself. She then mentioned trying a “positive qualities log” as she explained how people may say nice stuff, but when you’re struggling it just goes over your head and you don’t really take notice. This log should help me with that. I have to write everything people say positive about me, may it be in person, on twitter or anything!

After the schedule idea was explained and it sounded really good, I think it’ll help a lot. We talked more about my irritability, and like my snapping at people. She mentioned a stress ball and asked what I do to chill… I then realised I don’t really do much to chill and that’s where I could be going wrong. I need to chill out more.

I went on to how I feel about my depression getting better, but my anxiety is still really bad. I know that I am going to ask my doctor about propranolol to reduce the physical symptoms but I also need to make my anxiety go down with other things, not just medication. We are hopefully going to look at that soon – if my doctor does give me propranolol that is!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam