CBT: Twelfth session

// TRIGGER WARNING – SELF HARM //

This post was meant to go up yesterday, but I actually went out and socialised! Shock! I had a great time and challenged my anxiety in multiple ways!As I made a list in the previous session, throughout the week I was trying to tick things off, and add things onto it. I found it really motivating to do so.

As I made a list in the previous session, throughout the week I was trying to tick things off, and add things onto it. I found it really motivating to do so.

I filled out the usual GAD-7 PHQ-9 questionnaire. The scores are going down slowly, which is great! We focused the session on what we can do to get the scores down. She mentioned that my depression can go down with doing things, challenging it. Not staying in all day where it’ll get worse and then the self-harm starts again. I’ve only self-harmed once in two weeks! I am beyond happy about this, things are looking so good it’s brilliant I LOVE IT! We also talked about the CBT formula and the cycle of depression, which I am apparently slowly breaking! Woo!

I mentioned how I seem to be so agitated and I tend to just snap at people lately, even my parents and sisters. I seem to snap for some reason. It makes me feel so crap when I just shout at them but I have no reason why I do so. I also explained how I sleep so much and it’s not making me feel any better, so she wants me to set up a schedule, for each week – I had one with my previous therapist but with my relapse of SH and being moved up to higher intensity therapist, I didn’t really stick by it.

The schedule for this week included getting up at 10 am, prevent boredom by doing things I love – reading, blogging, writing, fishing, listening to music etc. Go out with a friend, which I did yesterday and it was the best day for a long time! It also includes me buying a journal which I’ve already done – god I am getting this scheduled one brilliantly!!! I told her about my low self-esteem and how I feel about myself. She then mentioned trying a “positive qualities log” as she explained how people may say nice stuff, but when you’re struggling it just goes over your head and you don’t really take notice. This log should help me with that. I have to write everything people say positive about me, may it be in person, on twitter or anything!

After the schedule idea was explained and it sounded really good, I think it’ll help a lot. We talked more about my irritability, and like my snapping at people. She mentioned a stress ball and asked what I do to chill… I then realised I don’t really do much to chill and that’s where I could be going wrong. I need to chill out more.

I went on to how I feel about my depression getting better, but my anxiety is still really bad. I know that I am going to ask my doctor about propranolol to reduce the physical symptoms but I also need to make my anxiety go down with other things, not just medication. We are hopefully going to look at that soon – if my doctor does give me propranolol that is!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

 

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CBT: Eleventh Session

// TRIGGER WARNING – SELF HARM //

I went into this session the best I’ve felt in a long time. I only self-harmed once in 7 days. I am so proud of myself for being clean for 7 days. I told my therapist this obviously, and she was so made up and she knew I was going to be so much happier when I start going out more. I went for a meal last Friday, a party on Saturday and wales on Sunday. That is such a big step for me with my social anxiety!

My therapist did say that once I start fighting my anxiety and panic attacks and start going out more, my depression will get slightly better over time and my self-harm should do.. and it is!

We basically just talked about what I did the last week, and what I wanted to. There was no CBT involved really, it was just talking and I love it when the session is like that, it’s ace to get things off my chest! I told her about my blog and volunteering with time to change. I also told her that I’m starting to really have an interest in mental health, however, I’ve not done any a-levels and spent my time in college training to be a chef so my life can only go down one route, but as my therapist said.. there’s always time to change! I can always do a-levels whenever I want to! Or even a counselling course!

She asked me to write a list of things I wanted to do. At first, I listed about 3 things as I was struggling, but we got talked about what I want to do and the list was massive!

The list is:

  • Go out more – challenge my anxiety
  • Start working again
  • Read more – it’s a good distraction for me
  • Going out alone – don’t be afraid to go out by myself
  • Go to London – meet some of my really close friends from twitter!
  • Meetup in July – try and go to a meetup in July.
  • Blog more, and do media for time to change.
  • Host talks – Something I’d love to do, express my passion in mental health and host talks in youth centres, schools etc.

I never realised this until yesterday. It’s good to have a list of goals what you want to do, it keeps me motivated, and whenever I feel low, all I have to do is look at the list to get motivated to feel better.

I’d recommend making a list of things you want to do, I am always adding things to it, it’s not a list of what you need to do as soon as possible, it’s just for motivation purposes and it’s helping me already!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

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CBT: Tenth Session

// TRIGGER WARNING – SELF HARM //

This session was my tenth ever CBT session! Wow!! We went through my depression going worse and my self-harm, and the self-harm cycle. It was a really good session, really eye opening and I learnt so much.

I told her about the last two weeks, how depression and self-harm have gotten worse and about how I hardly went out. She explained that not going out is just feeding the depression and making self-harm worse. It’s time that I really push myself to start going out more. She mentioned propanolol to me and how she thinks it’ll help me a lot going out etc, so I’m going to ask my doctor about it next time I see her!

We had a look at this cycle, called the “self-injury cycle” It includes six steps in the cycle. This just carries on and the self-harm carries on. I need to try and break this cycle by starting to do things, so the depression doesn;t get worse, if I start doing things it should help break the cycle!

  • Mental anguish, the first step. I know, what a weird word?! It just basically means what goes through your head at the time. For example, self-critical thoughts, images etc.  For example, for me, it’s self-critical thoughts mainly.
  • The second step, emotional engulfment another word I didn’t know what it meant. It just means what emotions are you feeling, especially distressing emotions. I feel anger, sadness and upset and I feel disappointed in myself too.
  • Panic stations, the third step in the cycle. What are you feeling, what happened next? feeling out of control, numb etc. Then, the next step in the cycle is action station. In what way you self-injured, how, when where?
  • The next one is action stations. What way did you do it? Why? What reason?
  • Feel better/different, the fifth step. Relief, euphoria etc.  I feel calmer and a sense of relief and release of all my emotions.
  • The last step, grief reaction. When did you feel bad about yourself? self-disgust, self-hate. shame etc.

We went on to discuss this even further, and we both filled it out with the thoughts I think and other things. She said it’s important if I feel the urge, to be around people, as she noticed that I told her I only self-harm when I’m by myself. Funnily enough, I didn’t realise that, eh that’s why I’m in therapy right? To understand my messed up brain, and to learn how to control my mental health!

I came out of this session feeling so confident, happy and just all the good feelings you can feel. She told me to go to the party on Saturday, to enjoy myself and just feel how good it is to not go home because you’ve had a panic attack. Something I have to stop, if I stop that, there will be little to feed the depression, so my self-harm should get better.

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

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March Moods

This month has been actually pretty alright, a few really bad days but really good things have happened so it’s been a good month!

The song that sums up my month is: HOLYCHILD – Happy With Me

I may as well start with my therapy this month. I’m finally feeling like it’s going to work. My new therapist is absolutely amazing and so kind and understanding, I know I was worried that she wouldn’t be, but I always worry! I haven’t had CBT for two weeks, but I’m actually really excited for the next session! I’ve never been excited for therapy before… things are actually going well for me and I am so happy, it’s great how things going well can make you feel so much more positive.

This month has been full of good news. The first thing was that I found out I’m officially a time to change media volunteer! This is something I have wanted to do since starting blogging, raising awareness for mental health and beating the stigma around it! I’m so excited to start and can’t wait to do media! I’m also a contributing editor for mental movement magazine too! You can find my posts for them, here.

I’ve had bad days this month, like usual. I’ve been struggling a lot lately, but you know what? Recovery isn’t linear. Bad days will always hit us, but it makes us stronger as a person. We’ve survived 100% of our bad days. I’m feeling confident as I am writing this post, that I will get better and manage my mental health soon!

This month has been one of the best months this year. It’s mad how good news can make a month really good! April shall be good! More CBT, my birthday and the weather should be improving slowly! As I’m writing this, it’s 18 degrees! That’s hot for us!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

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Struggling.

I’m struggling right now, and I thought it’d be helpful for me to try and explain it in words, and write a post about it, basically to vent!

The last few days have been bad. I got my fluoxetine upped to 40mg a day on Monday, and ever since I’ve just felt really bad. Horrible thoughts are stronger than ever, urges are really really strong. I don’t know if the higher dosage is making me feel this way or it’s just a bad week and coincidentally happening after a med increase.

I feel like I don’t deserve all the support I get, I feel like I’m worthless, pathetic, idiotic and downright stupid for feeling this way every single day. I feel like everyone hates me and finds me annoying. I haven’t had therapy for two weeks. I think I could have really done with it this week. I hate how much I rely on therapy, I know I shouldn’t rely on it but I can’t help but do so.

I don’t know if I’ll truly ever feel better. I hope so but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon. I have a good day or so, however it just goes back to normal, crappy days and it pisses me off so much. It’s my birthday next Friday, and I don’t want to do anything for it. I just want to sit in bed. I hate everything at the moment.

I am fighting so hard, every single day and I don’t think I can take it much longer. It is incredibly hard to even get out of bed most days.

 

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Goals

I feel like everybody needs a few goals in their life to look to and strive forward to. I am bad at making goals, so this blog post is going to be a post about my goals, and what I want to do with myself after I am able to be in a good place with my mental health, and being able to manage it.

As you know, I struggle with my mental health, I’ve struggled a lot recently. My therapist was talking to me about goals, but not much because I haven’t really been interested in making them, as I have little to no self-belief and motivation, but I thought about it and managed to list what I want to do before the end of next year.

Motivation is key, and once you have the motivation, it helps so much. I am slowly but surely getting more and more motivation, it’s important if you have good, understanding and kind friends around you, they will help you gain motivation!

1] Go London

I have wanted to go London for years, but I always stop myself as I always overthink about going, how busy it would be, how I wouldn’t know where I was going, that I would have a panic attack and probably get lost somewhere and then social anxiety creeps in. I am determined to get over social anxiety and go London for a day or two. I really think I could enjoy it once I’m ready.

2] Start working again

Last year I got my first ever job, I was a chef. I had a passion for food that I thought nobody could stop, but sadly, my mental health did. I was so high functioning but it got too much for me, and I had to quit. My parents and sisters are bugging me to get a job, however, my therapist thinks it’s too early. It’s a big dilemma. I want to start working as soon as I can, It’ll give me something to do as well!

3] Go to a meetup

I am so grateful for all the friends I’ve made from the mental health blogger community on twitter. I’ve found so many supportive people. I wanted to go to the #TalkMH meetup in London sometime in April, but I think that’s a bit too soon for me, and it makes me so sad as I really want to go. I am determined to meet people from twitter, though. They are all supportive and great people.

4] Socialise more

I want to be your typical, 18-year-old lad who goes out with his friends on weekends and has a great night. My mental health stops me, I always panic when I go out and overthink about everything. I want to be able to manage it so I can actually go out, go for meals, go for drinks and just enjoy going out instead of staying in and only going out for therapy.

5] Volunteer for Samaritans

Samaritans have helped me so much, time after time whenever I text or ring up, they are so understanding and helpful. I appreciate how much the charity does for so many people in this country. I would love to volunteer for them one day, in a few years hopefully. It’ll be a great thing to do.

I know it’s hard to be motivated and make goals when you’re in a bad place, but just try to do it, it gives you something to look forward in doing, don’t make them too overly ambitious but don’t make them too easy! Challenge yourself!

Those five goals are the ones that will be pretty hard to do, but not impossible and I will do them. Slowly but surely, I’ll cross one off at a time, and one day they will be all done!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

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Loving yourself.

This is something I personally struggle with, loving myself. Not so “loving” but having a good attitude towards yourself, not putting yourself down just because you can’t do something, being angry at yourself and so on. May it be during your recovery, the way you handle your mental health or anything. I lack motivation all the time and I tend to hate myself, hate myself for not going out, hate myself for not being able to push myself out, and hating myself for having so many problems mentally.

Self-care is so important and helps you to feel better about yourself. Prior to my relapse, I was doing so well with self-care. (I have a post on self-care if you want to read it’s here) Now, it’s literally gone through the window and all the good self-care I was doing is no longer. I really need to get back into the rhythm and routine of doing something to self-care every single day.

I have been struggling for motivation since the relapse, I’ve tried everything, absolutely everything. I can feel my motivation coming back, but extremely slowly which is annoying. I’ve recently been trying to find a hobby which helps me just release all my feelings/relax, and I’ve found fishing to be helpful for that!

BDD doesn’t help me with liking myself, due to me looking at my body in a different way to others, it just doesn’t help with confidence what so ever. I am trying ever so hard to beat it though, it is manageable and beatable with CBT and medication, which i’m currently on!

I was having a chat earlier last week with one of my best friends Laura (her twitter is here) and she is so supportive, whenever I’m struggling she always helps me and doesn’t take my shit and no for an answer! she knows that I need motivation and she has literally just given me so much motivation to carry on trying to beat my mental illnesses and to write this post too! It’s great if your struggling with getting motivation, it’s important that you have good people/people you like around you to help you with that, may it be a friend or even your parents or a family member! They can all help!

I’ve been struggling a lot recently with my mental health and I need to learn to “love myself” more. So, if you’re struggling to “love” yourself like I am. Just know that you can do it. I am learning to do it slowly, and so can you. It’s extremely hard but I can do it, and you can.

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

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Missing You

It would have been my Nans birthday today. We were so close. She was the best Nan I could ever ask for, she was supportive of everything I was doing, and I mean everything. She used to call me her “favourite” and she used to bloody spoil me! Giving me £10 to go down the shop to buy a newspaper and some bread for her and telling me to keep the change, good times!

They say time heals, but it really doesn’t. I miss you more each year that goes by, I just wish I could enjoy a holiday with you again, with my parents and enjoy the hot weather like we always used to. They were the good times, hot weather and the beach!

She was always there for me, in the bad times and the good times. She would cheer me up when she saw that I was sad. She used to have a little dog called Lottie, she used to always bark at everyone who would shout at me, and if I was crying she would jump on me and lick my face until I stopped crying. She inspired me to start cooking, she used to teach me so much when I was with her. We used to cook so much! She was a brilliant cook and had so many recipes. She told me to never give up my dream of being a chef.

I remember when she took me to Cornwall with my parents and my two sisters. It was honestly the best holiday I have ever gone on, and I want to go to Cornwall again sometime next year. We had the best time and I still remember it so much.

I am determined to make my Nan proud. She would never want me to give up fighting my Mental Health. I am determined to never give up and always fight. Like she taught me to. I will fight and fight until I am in control of my mental health. I will do her proud.

I will always miss her, but I have great memories to look back on, and I will cherish them all my life.

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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

 

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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

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