How I Am Managing My Mental Health In Work

In 2016, I finished training to be a chef and went into my first ever job, at first I absolutely adored it but slowly after that, I was doing more and more hours and it was ruining my mental health.

After having numerous breakdowns, towards the end of the year, I had to quit. This was heartbreaking for me, quitting my first ever job in an industry that I dreamed to work in. It just wasn’t meant to be, my mental health went to the lowest it had ever been whilst working. I just couldn’t handle it.

After quitting, I reached out for help from my GP for my mental health. I then waited and went through low and high-intensity CBT. I have learnt how to manage my mental health more and

Fast-forward to now, 2018 (it still feels weird writing 2018). I am working in a job that I absolutely love. It may not be my childhood dreams but it’s a job and I am forever grateful to have one that I like.

Through my time in CBT and time off from working, I have learnt several ways to manage my mental health in work.

Taking time out for myself.
I learnt that this is so important to do, everyone should aim to do this at least every week. I set one day which I am off work that week to dedicate to myself, to do whatever I love, may it be writing, sleeping, blogging, going out.

It gives me time to just think and that’s what I missed when I worked as a chef. I didn’t get the time to just think, whenever I was off work I was just catching up on sleep.

Forgetting about work when I finish.

Seems fairly obvious to forget but I always used to worry about work even when I finished, constant thoughts of “did I take the right amount of cake out the freezer?” “is everything ready for breakfast tomorrow?” My brain never seemed to switch off.

This was a hard one to learn, I feel like everyone who works does this sometimes, people must worry about work at home, but when it is constant every single day then it gets a big problem.

I have to admit I still tend to do this from time to time, but not half as much as I did in my previous job. I think a part of it was down to how busy my previous job was and how short staffed we were.

Telling your manager/boss about your mental health.

This was extremely hard for me, I waited months to tell my new boss as I had to make sure he was trustworthy but it turns out he was!

It’s helped so much telling my boss about my mental health, I am open to all the people I work with now (we’re a small tight team) and they are so supportive and can actually notice when I am panicking or overly anxious.

 

Learning to do all of this has been a struggle, to say the least. However, now I am working and managing my mental health a lot better it seems like I am slowly but surely getting my life back on track – I don’t want to stay in this job for the rest of my life but I am currently planning a career change which is very exciting!

 

 

 

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

CBT: Ninth Session

This session, again, was the best session I’ve ever had. It’s making me feel so good how each session is just getting better and better! I’m thinking back to my first few sessions with my previous therapist, I liked the sessions and learned a lot about myself and my mental health, but I just think they didn’t help much as it takes me a while to open up in a session, and I’m so happy I’m having longer sessions now!

I had a mini panic attack out of the blue today just before this session, didn’t really know why up until I had the session, funnily enough, the session was solely about panic attacks and how they work, how they get triggered, and what I can do to stop them/control them!

As usual, it started out with doing a questionnaire. I then told her how bad I felt last weekend, solely because I got invited out for a few drinks but I kept overthinking it and said no, and it made me feel so down and depressed. She then went on to explain how it’s a vicious cycle. Being invited to go out, end up saying no and then feeling low and then the self-inflicting behaviours start, but she reassured me that we can break that vicious cycle.

We talked about the symptoms I get from panic attacks, she wrote them down (legs shake, uncontrollable breathing, churning stomach and light-headedness) She then explained how thinking about those symptoms or panic, can actually cause you to panic, I thought that was pretty unbelievable, so she told me to say those symptoms out loud until I felt those symptoms, it actually happened. Me thinking and saying the symptoms out loud, actually brought on the symptoms, something I’ve never heard of/thought of before. She wants me to try and socialise more, and if I feel a panic attack coming on, don’t leave situations like I normally would, and try to ride the panic attack out and see how good I’d feel then – as I feel awful going home from somewhere early as I had a panic attack.

My therapist also explained about the trigger of panic attacks – fast breathing. If you are able to control your breathing, you can stop the panic happening. She then told me to start breathing really heavy, as I would if I was panicking. I did it, and it caused a panic attack, and she was able to calm me down out of it within minutes. That was just to teach me the trigger of panic attacks and also teach me that they are not dangerous or bad. We went through Diaphragmatic breathing, and she showed me how to do it, I have to practice it every single day now. I have tried doing it before, but when I went bad in terms of mental health, I just stopped as I had no motivation what so ever.

This was my last session for two weeks. I am motivated to do well in between those two weeks. It scares me as whenever I have no CBT for a week, I tend to go downhill a bit, but I am determined to not go down and just keep going up!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

 

CBT: Seventh Session

I could not help but dread this session, new place to go, new therapist to meet. So much to worry and overthink about. I was worrying that my therapist wouldn’t be as nice as my previous one, or as understanding. Turns out she was just as good!

This session was basically a duplicate of my first ever CBT session really, so this post will probably be very short! We first started off with the usual GAD-7 PHQ-9 forms and asked my about my medication, told her that I had side effects but they are slowly easing off, she asked me the questions and I answered, and she asked why and such, just so she could get more details, as she was writing notes on me.

I told her absolutely everything, even things that I didn’t tell my other therapist. I was shocked I was able to! Things like past experiences of bullying in high school, such as comments about my appearance and my speech, which she thinks is a trigger for my MH as I always think back to that, and feel that everyone will say stuff like people did in the past. I also explained to her how I feel on the way I look, and she said she thinks I  have BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) which could be a big part of my anxiety. Finding that out was very overwhelming. I could have cried, I was really close to doing so. She gave me some information on what it was, and a website called www.bddfoundation.org to have a look at.

She then mentioned that it will be a hard road to recovery for me, but it will work! She did mention that it’ll get worse before it gets better and because of my SH, she is going to take things carefully, which I totally appreciate. I was so scared, and I even told her. It was so hard for me to go into a new place and go to a new therapist, and she totally understood! She gave me a sheet of unhelpful thinking habits and wants me to look through them and tell her which ones I feel like I do, such as “mind reading” as I assume people are going to think I look weird because I feel like I’m too thin and look too thin, which links into BDD and such. Also “catastrophizing” as I imagine/believe the worst will happen in every situation,  which I actually went through with my previous therapist!

I haven’t got CBT next week, which might be a bit offputting for me as I’m in a routine now of going to CBT every Wednesday. Coming out of the session I had yesterday, I felt overwhelmed, but after a few hours of trying to get my head around the session and BDD, I can’t feel demotivated. I will beat this mental health, I will learn to manage it.

 

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

Overthinking

Overthinking is a big part of my anxiety and mental health overall. Overthinking things like “ugh I sounded like a right idiot when I asked that” makes my anxiety worse, overthinking is extremely common when you have anxiety. Overthinking rules my brain, everything I want to do, I overthink. Let’s say, for example, I want to go out with a few friends. I overthink things like “what happens if I fall over” “what happens if I do something stupid and everyone laughs”  “what happens if I stutter and just sound idiotic to people”

It’s annoying, just due to the fact that I plan on doing things, like going out with a few friends. I overthink about the social situation and think that people will find me weird, and think I’m silly for being so anxious and panicky, and just end up cancelling. I try so hard to look for a solution or something else to stop overthinking, but my mind just cant stop thinking about that situation, I don’t know why I do it if I did I would try to stop, but nope, don’t know why I do it.

There’s so much involved with overthinking, past situations for me make my overthinking worse, and I’ve heard from people that it is the same for them. I overthink so many social situations solely down to stuff that has happened, such as panicking in public. I also overthink things that have happened. Like “oh I shouldn’t have said that” “why did I say that” Overthinking for me is also solely down to my anxiety/social anxiety. I continuously overthink about what I come across like, what people think I am, what people think of me when I panic, panicking in public.

Overthinking is a cycle, and I’m currently caught up in that cycle of overthinking mostly everything. For me, avoiding situations which I overthink about, will obviously not help and I am trying to slowly do those situations i.e go out with friends and socialise etc.

I hope I can get out of this vicious cycle of overthinking, as it is truly tiring and constant battle.