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

CBT: Eighth Session

I was going into this session with a bag load of nerves, anxiety and panic. I was panicking for this session as I had to tell my therapist something pretty serious which happened within the week of having no CBT. Luckily enough I could actually tell her, sometimes when I want to say things, they just don’t come out, but they did today!

As usual, I filled out a PHQ-9 GAD-7 questionnaire but didn’t get told if my scores were higher, the same or lower. It was hard for me to truly say everything, but I did and it made me feel so much better getting it off my chest. We then spoke about how I went out to Liverpool, and that I panicked when out, and how it stops me from going out again.

We started on this formulation sheet, that spoke about my experience of bullying in high school, which makes me think that everyone is thinking horrible things about me, so anxiety is basically being the bully now. We figured out that my core belief is that people will think I’m “weird” “not normal” and “strange” which I worry about people thinking on a day to day basis, and it makes me panic when I see people staring at me, as I immediately think that they are thinking that.

I also found out my unhelpful thinking habits, I got told to have a read over them within the week without CBT, and I related to “emotional reasoning” “judgments” “mind-reading” “prediction” and “critical self” These are important to find out, as once you’ve found out you can then focus on beating the thinking habits! She also wants me to start exposure therapy again after a few more CBT sessions, but she wants it to be more intense, like in my previous exposure therapy, I just left after doing it for like 5 minutes at a time, she wants me to do it until I have a panic attack, and that panic attack ends. Which is scary!

I got shown a “thought record” which she wants me to fill out, especially when I go out. It has columns of “emotions/moods” “physical sensations” “unhelpful thoughts/images” This will give her a wider view of what I feel like when I go out. Pretty similar to a panic diary, same layout just different columns!

I spoke with her about how I rarely go out because of the chance of anxiety taking over and then making me panic, and therefore going home early. We both know my mental health is ruling my life, but the session was so good and informative, I came out of it with such a big smile on my face, knowing that I have learnt so much about my mental health in one hour session means a lot as it’s stuff I 100% know and I 100% know I can beat!

After that session, I felt the best I have felt in months. It felt so good, to come out of a session not drained, and feeling happy! On to the next one next week!

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.

CBT: Sixth Session

Prior to this session, I had a GP appointment and got prescribed fluoxetine/Prozac. The doctor said it should help my depression and anxiety, and also make CBT work better, or at least help. It’ll take four to six weeks to actually start to work which sucks, but every anti-depressant is the same I think.

This was the dreaded sixth session, the reason I was dreading it was all because three weeks ago my therapist mentioned that I’d only have 6 sessions, 8 at a push. So I knew this session would be a big one, but I didn’t know what would actually happen.

So, we just got talking about my GP appointment and my feelings of being put on medication and finding a perfect time of the day to take it, which is 3 pm! My therapist then told me to fill out the usual GAD-7 PHQ-9 sheet. My scores were the same, can’t remember exactly but they were 1 or 2 off the highest on both parts.

She then mentions that she has been thinking about this session throughout the week, and that she thinks I need extra support, and that she thinks I should have more CBT, but hourly sessions, I was truly happy, but then I found out it wasn’t with her. I told her how hard it would be for me to just all of a sudden move to a new therapist in a new clinic at the same time of starting medication. She totally understood that it was bad timing, she then found out that the waiting list has literally four people on it, including me. Meaning that I will not have a week or more, without CBT. I literally have the appointment next week, all because my therapist works absolute wonders.

I don’t know what I feel about changing therapists and changing clinics too. I would have felt better if I was in the same clinic, as it’s like a routine for me to go every Wednesday, and she totally understood, she knew it’d be hard, but if she did give me the two extra sessions just to get me ready to move, the waiting list could be longer, so it might be a sudden change, but it’s the best time as I don’t have to wait on another waiting list.

She also told me to not worry and gave me a number to ring if anything goes wrong in terms of if my therapist isn’t doing a good job, it’s going to be so hard for me to open up to some complete stranger, I know my therapist was a stranger to me, but it took me weeks to actually trust her, and now I’ve just been moved on? I was really annoyed, but then I realised it’s for my own good, hour-long sessions would be really good for me as I find it hard to go through everything in thirty minutes.

Here’s me hoping and praying that my new therapist is just as kind and good as my previous one.