2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: CBT

Change unhelpful thinking habits

I am starting to enjoy my CBT sessions. During the last session we started looking at unhelpful thinking habits, and this was again an eye-opener. It is obvious that if you keep thinking these negative thoughts, nothing good will happen. It is a learnt behaviour, so in order to get out of it you need to re-train your thinking habits.

The forgotten tool belt

Part of last weeks homework was to look at diary for challenging negative thinking, and to complete a few of these. I managed to come up with a great example as I unfortunately made a bit of a mistake at work. To me it was not anything really bad: I had forgotten my tool belt at a customer’s house so needed to go back and collect it.
I fully understand from the company’s view that it was time wasted. I had to pick something up that I should have remembered in the first place. There would be a knock on affect for the rest of the day. On the other hand, we all make mistakes and I do not have a habit of leaving things.
As soon as I realised I had forgotten it and that I needed to speak to my manager, my brain went into overdrive. The thing that worried me about all of this was how my manager would react. In my head I thought that he would shout at me, tell me off, put me on an action plan, have me fired, complain that I was not of any use, say bad things to me and be very disappointed in me. This would lead on to me feeling down and bad for the rest of the day.

Mindset

So this was my mindset when I called him. Of course, he reacted in several of the above anticipated ways. Not bad enough to have me fired, but certainly very disappointed in me which I could hear in his voice, telling me to learn from this which annoyed me as it’s the first time in a year I’ve done this, saying it’s just not good enough and so on. I was left feeling very down and bad about this, much like I had done before calling him. This then impacted the rest of my day in a negative way. I was also stuck in this negative way of thinking, and could not shift my thoughts.

Better way of thinking

The idea with CBT here is that you try to challenge your negative thinking in a particular situation and come up with an alternative and much more helpful thought. Using this example, a better thought would be: he is entitled to be annoyed, and how he puts that across is just his way of communicating. Do not take it personally.
My rational brain tells me this is obviously a good way of thinking. As I am typing this, I am no longer anxious about it and it is pretty obvious that this thought is a much better one. I understand it and agree with it. Of course he was annoyed, I would be too. I would not speak that way, which says more about him than me. I also do not take it personally. After all, it was only a forgotten tool belt and the impact of this meant an hour of my day was spent retrieving it. In the big scheme of things, it could be a lot worse.

Change your way of thinking

My way of thinking in the above example is a classic example of catastrophising, which is one of the unhelpful thinking habits. To think that I would get fired over this is just that: believing that the worst possible thing would happen. By becoming aware of your thinking habits, you can then start to challenge your way of thinking and look at the situation in another way. As with any habits, this requires work and consistency. It can be done.

Next time

When you notice the unhelpful thinking, take a few seconds to analyse the situation and identify the negative thought.
There are always better and more helpful thoughts, find them and replace the negative thought with the helpful ones. Then let it go. In order to get better, you need to change your way of thinking. Simple, yet so hard. But it can be done.

For a great source of CBT, head to https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/

-Rosita

Speak up when it is not right

I started the CBT sessions a few weeks ago now however, it hasn’t quite happened the way it should have. The therapist cancelled the second appointment with very little notice then disappeared off the radar for days. This meant my anxiety went up because that is what it does. It may sound like nothing but it is a big thing to me. Not knowing what is going to happen and when means my brain goes into overdrive with questions and I struggle to get it to stop.

Putting a stop to it

Although my anxiety increased over this, which is quite ironic as the main aim of the CBT is to get help to reduce it, I did not feel that I could do anything about the situation. I would have just waited for her to get in contact with a new appointment and that would have been it. Having Helen in my life means I have someone always fighting my corner, so she stepped in as she thought it was very poorly handled by the therapist, and wanted to send her a well worded email. My initial thought was that of course we can’t do that, we can’t rock the boat, who am I to question what is happening. As you can see speaking up for myself is something I struggle with.

The email

Helen typed a well worded email, polite and to the point, which was sent to the therapist and the clinic. As a result of this, I now have a new therapist who I actually prefer. The clinic handled this very well too and were appreciative of my (Helen’s) feedback.
As an added bonus, I will also get a voucher for a very nice food store as a compensation for how this was handled.

The point

Sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zone, as uncomfortable as it may be. In this case, by telling someone that their actions were actually not acceptable, meant that I’m now in a much better place. Although it made me anxious at the time, I’m really glad now that I did just that.

And if I can do it, so can you. Don’t spend life being told what to do. If it doesn’t sit right with you, then you must say so.

-Rosita

Time for reflection

The last couple of years have been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I have had help from various people and professionals around me, all with their specific purpose at the time. As you might have seen in a previous post, I decided I needed to reach out again and ask for help (read this blog here).

CBT

I have now started counselling and CBT, and I am excited about both. This is very personal to me, but I also feel that I want to share some parts of it as I believe that is important. I had a long chat with the CBT therapist about all events leading up to the juice-incident (read about this here) and this caused me again to put in to words how I felt. I believe (in my non-professional opinion) that my anxiety took over a long time ago, leading to a downward spiral of negative thinking which then literally made me depressed. When I initially made contact with the CBT clinic there was an assessment with lots of questions about how I felt. The therapist gave me feedback on this, and the score for anxiety was by far greater than depression. To me that makes a lot of sense, and also confirms how I feel. The aim is that she will provide me with tools for dealing with my anxiety, and this is very exciting.

Counselling

The counselling is a talking therapy, and it is different from the one I had previously. As the counsellor pointed out, and that I had not thought of, it was more looking at tools to help me get through the day. What we are hoping to do now is getting to the bottom of why I feel the way I do. He is a nice guy and I feel comfortable speaking to him. It is difficult too at times. I realise I’ve spent the last few years not really thinking about things, or reflecting. I have simply just existed if that makes sense. One reason for this is that it is the easiest thing to do. But it does not mean that it is healthy. I’m very good at not talking and bottling things up, however that is all changing now.

Stand up for myself

There are a few things I really want to work with for myself. The one thing that stands out right now is that I always feel that I have to go along with what other people say and do, that I find it so difficult to stand up for myself and say “you know, that does not actually suit me right now”, or “I don’t agree with with that”. I feel that doing or saying anything that rocks the boat is just so difficult, so difficult that I just agree with what people say. That in itself is clearly not healthy. I feel it is certainly a huge factor contributing to me feeling the way I do. When you constantly do and say what others do or say, or expect you to do, then it’s easy to understand that I feel that I’ve lost myself along with all confidence and self-esteem. Again, this is something which is difficult to talk about, but then I feel that I should. This feeling is not based on what others expect of me, which is a nice little learning example. I also feel that by writing this down, I become more committed.

So there we are. If I was to give you one piece of advice, it would be to speak up for yourself and do what is good for you. Do not bottle it up.

Keep moving

I am looking forward to continuing my journey towards a happier self. That is what it is, a journey. I feel I was stationary for quite a while and I am now moving again. And speaking of moving, it is time to put my trainers out and head out for an outdoor gym session with the other spud this morning. It is raining but that’s fine too.

I hope you all have a good week. Please feel free to get in contact if anything here has bothered you, or if you feel that it has been good to read about my experiences. This journey is not a book with precise directions on how to get better, we can all learn from each other!

-Rosita

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