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

CBT: Second session.

I had my second session of CBT therapy today, it went better than last session. We didn’t really cover much more other than going into more detail about panic attacks and then going on about exposure therapy (which scares the heck out of me!)

Vicious cycle of panic:

This was the first thing we went through today, it’s basically a cycle of what happens when you panic, it goes trigger – thoughts/images – feelings – thoughts/images – behavior then repeats as the panic attack goes on. I related to this a lot as this is basically what happens to me. She also spoke about like me worrying about being in a panic attack, like I always think I’m going to throw up and I hate throwing up, but she went over how I’ve had a lot of panic attacks but only threw up once.

Positive self-statements

My therapist noticed my struggle with filling out some parts of my panic diary, especially the “answer to negative thought” column, but she said that was totally normal as I never really know what to say about my anxiety and panic attacks, so she gave me a list of stuff to say to myself, there’s preparation statements like “I might enjoy it if I go” “It’s not going to be as bad as I think”

Exposure therapy

We didn’t go through this in much detail, just because my therapist didn’t want me to worry about it. (too late!) She basically only said that it was happening next week, so stupid me researched it and made myself worry even more

 

Only a short blog post this one, sorry! I think the next session will make a long blog post… hopefully!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

2016: Mental health, gigs and all sorts.

2016 has been a big year for me, I went to my first gig, I got help for my anxiety, after waiting 4 years to do so. Finished college, got a job, quit the job at the end of 2016 because of my mental health, what a roller coaster of a year.

2016 started out stressful, as I trained to be a chef in college the start of the year for every course is so stressful, so many exams, 5 hour cooking exams, paper exams.. a lot to take in! Additionally to all the stress, my anxiety of course wanted to play up and make everything worse. Having panic attacks when it comes to exams, every time an exam was being mentioned it gave me pretty bad anxiety, then it went really bad on the day of the exams, panic attacks, crying, walking out.

In April, I turned 18 on my birthday, wasn’t the best of days, riddled with anxiety all day, the meal was good though, food is always good. Then there was the month May, a bad month. I had the biggest exams of my life. Two 5 hour practical exams, it was extremely a nerve wrecking, anxious experience. I had a panic attack in the middle of my first one, I thought it was all over, I thought, I wasted my time training to be a chef. But no, I managed to complete both exams (what a miracle!). I also got my first job after the exams, the interview went extremely well, and I enjoyed the job for about the first month, then my anxiety just took over. I ended up quitting in December, I just couldn’t handle the amount of stress the job caused, I was having a breakdown every night. It was not good.

Then the best month of the year came, July. The month where I miraculously finished college, and got a ticket to see my favourite band ever, the 1975. I missed so many concerts due to my anxiety and money. But I got tickets for the biggest show they’ve ever played, it felt good. Throughout all this anxiety and college exams, I found out that I needed surgery for my eye, strabismus surgery it’s called. That made me really anxious, I cried when I found out. I was put on a waiting list, and had countless amounts of hospital appointments in 2016.

I finally, after four years, got the courage up to go to my GP and open up about my anxiety, I then got an assessment to get my self on the waiting list for CBT. I was very scared, it was a new experience, never felt it before, panic all over, scared, but happy at the same time?

December then came, a stressful but very good month. It was the month where I found out my surgery date, my date to start CBT, and my first ever concert. Also, Christmas to top it all off! The concert, was a very anxious, stressful experience. It was the first time I’ve ever went to Manchester by my self, I got lost finding my hotel room, luckily I was going to meet with a friend, who knows Manchester very well so she luckily helped. Then it was the time to line up, for four hours.. what a boring, anxious time. Many people were drunk, shouting, playing music. Safe to say, it was a weird experience.

Now here I am, in 2017, writing this covered up in three blankets as it’s so cold. 2016 was a bad year, had it good moments though. Let’s hope 2017 is good.

 

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam