I don’t really have anything concrete to talk about right now, but I do have the undeniable urge to write, so I thought I’d just check-in, and go over a few things that have happened this week. It’s for my peace of mind, more than anything else – a way to purge my head of a load of junk, in order to find some semblance of calm.
This week’s main event was my second group therapy, CBT session, on Tuesday. After the previous week’s opening two hours, I felt quite positive about the whole thing, but as the week grew on and the next session got closer, I began doubting it again. I do that a lot – the self-doubt thing. In almost everything I do, that little whisper of doubt, is in the back of my mind, niggling away, but I digress.
This time, I slowed down and tried to take everything in, that we were being taught. When you only have two hours each week, to learn the techniques needed, in order to change the entire way that you have been thinking, for years, it’s a lot to digest. However, having taken the time to reflect on it, I’ve learned quite a few important things.
Mindfulness is a technique used, to focus your attention on what is happening in your body. The example used with us was to sit comfortably in our chairs and to focus on the sole of our feet – the part of the body that is in contact with the floor. We were told to note the sensations in that part of our foot. Did it feel different to how it normally felt? Did we notice any other sensations in our bodies that we usually wouldn’t? If our minds began to wonder, we were asked to note the thoughts that made us drift, and to then gently, move our attention back to the foot. This constant re-focusing of your attention – drawing it back to the foot, is supposed to help you learn to be in-tune with your body and mind. To learn that whatever thoughts and emotions you may be experiencing, are just that – thoughts and emotions, and that they will also drift off.
Personally, I found this a really frustrating exercise. My problem was that I couldn’t focus on my foot – my thoughts kept flitting in and out, and yet I couldn’t focus on the thoughts either. It proved to highlight to me the sometimes conflicting nature of thoughts and that indeed, they are just that, thoughts. No matter how horrible, self-destructive and debilitating they can be at times, they are just thoughts, which I guess is the point of the exercise. (and I obviously say the word ‘thoughts’ too much)
An Anxious Prediction, is when you get that “Oh I don’t want to do that” thought, and then proceed to predict what would happen, if you followed through with the thing that you didn’t want to do. For example, one of my anxious predictions is, “I really don’t want to take Big Bro to nursery, because I’ll have to walk and walking makes me hot and sweaty. If I’m hot and sweaty, people will look at me funny and think I’m a mess, untidy, disgusting, and no-one will want to be nice to me.” Anxious predictions in someone who has an anxiety/self-esteem problem, tend to be crippling in their effect, because it stops that person from taking part in the things that make life enjoyable. If you’re constantly too anxious to go out because of the predictions you make, the likelihood is, you will avoid going out, in order to prevent those predictions from coming true.
I also learned a lot about self-esteem and lack of it, being able to have compassion for myself and the benefit of taking things slowly. So I will be taking things slowly. One step at a time.
If I don’t blog as often, it will be because I don’t feel as if I have anything worth saying. I’ve realised that I don’t need to blog every day. The blogosphere won’t disappear, if I miss a couple of days. I want what I do post, to be good quality and worth reading. My ambition in life is to write a book, so pouring my brain out onto this blog, without thinking about what I’m doing, is not going to help me improve my writing skills. One or two posts a week is what I’m going to aim for, so I hope you’ll all stick around to read them.
If you have anything else to add, in relation to things you’ve learned through therapy, or even just life experience, that you think may help with either mental health or my ambition to write, then please share your thoughts with me. I’m always interested in people’s opinions and read every comment I receive.
Thank you for reading.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Part 1: Assessment. (fivesafellowship.com)
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Part 2: Thought Diary (fivesafellowship.com)
- Anxious Thinking – Personalization (scottburnskahler.wordpress.com)