CBT: Nineteenth Session

Before I go into writing this post fully, this is my last post for a week as I am off to sunny Tenerife for a weeks holiday!

This week, I started an annoying nervous habit of sniffing up, it’s not hayfever or a cold, it’s just an annoying habit which I want to stop! My therapist said it’s more than likely related to my MH. The only way to challenge it is habit reversal, she also said because I’m so conscious about it, I could be doing it more so I need to learn to not be so conscious about it and it may stop – easier said than done, but I can do it!

As my therapist knew I was going on holiday, this session was all about that, basically talking about it and asking me how I felt about going. I am scared of going on holiday as I’m going to be the furthest away from home I’ve ever been, the furthest away from my safe place. Also, because it’s going to obviously be hot, I will be wearing shorts which will be very uncomfortable for me due to my body dysmorphia, but my therapist put it simply like this “everyone else will be wearing shorts, nobody will notice you” which is very true!

I mentioned that I am still doing my exposure therapy, but obviously, my therapist doesn’t want me to do it on holiday. I’m just scared of having no one to talk to in person about my MH if I struggle on my holiday.

I hope I can enjoy my holiday, I fly tomorrow and a part of me is excited but a part of me is very scared. I hope it turns out well and I have a good week to chill out and just have a break from working on my mental health and relax.

Sorry that this post is short, the session wasn’t such CBT based as some of the sessions are just talking and not much on CBT techniques!

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CBT: Eighteenth Session

We mainly focused on BDD and my emotions/moods in this session, which I’m really happy about! I have wanted to challenge my BDD for ages but it just wasn’t time and there were other things to challenge, now is the time though and I am ready!

My therapist introduced me to a thought record sheet for my body dysmorphia, I will list all my thoughts about what I feel about my body and what I think others are thinking. I also have to list the situation/trigger which will help my therapist find my triggers and work on them. It also involves rating emotions, this record will help me as I will be able to find what is the worst situation for my BDD and then I can challenge it, slowly but surely.

We went over the negative core beliefs that we did many sessions ago, she asked me if I thought they were still true, because of all the work I’ve done. Many of them I thought were not true anymore, like where I was scared of people seeing me when I have a panic attack, turns out I don’t really look different. There are still a few that I feel I can work on, such as.  “I’m a failure” “I’m not good enough” There were a few more.. but I stupidly left my sheet in my session! Silly me!

I also looked at a worksheet called “wheel of emotions” My therapist gave me that just to reassure me that the feelings/emotions I have are perfectly normal. She also mentioned that my mood swings could just be more obvious as I am now obviously thinking about my moods.

I’m still doing the exposure therapy, it’s going really well and I’m actually feeling proud of myself for the first time in months!

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CBT: Seventeenth Session

// T W // Self Harm 

 

Before I go into detail on this post, I would like to just say that I am certainly not bragging about having CBT, some people think I am. It’s like they think I like having therapy. Fun fact – I hate going therapy, I hate telling my therapist what I feel, I would never brag about doing something I fucking hate, I’m never going to stop blogging, it helps me and I’ve been told it helps others have an insight of therapy when they are worried about starting it. Nobody will stop me.

This session was really good, I should have been 6 weeks clean from self-harm on the day of the session but I self-harmed. However, I’m not letting it rule me, It’s one time in 6 weeks, I am so proud of myself for doing so, here’s to longer next time!

I asked my therapist about the assessment she mentioned as my mood swings are getting awful, really awful. But, because I’m in the IAPT system, I’ve got to see my GP first.. and she’s on annual leave, just my luck eh!

She asked me what I wanted to focus on, as all I am doing lately is exposure therapy for my social anxiety, which is actually going surprisingly well! I said I want to focus on BDD and on my mood and having things to get all my anger out, as I tend to snap at my friends and I hate myself for it.

 

Facing BDD is like facing social anxiety, it’s basically exposure therapy but without doing stuff to hide your body. For me, my exposure therapy includes wearing shorts and short sleeves, as I always wear jeans as my legs are a big part of my BDD and I always wear hoodies to hide my stomach and arms. I don’t quite feel ready for it at the moment, but my therapist says that’s okay! I need to still focus on my exposure therapy for my social anxiety as that needs to be a regular thing for me for the time being!

Hopefully, after I’m home from my holiday I’ll be able to see my doctor and get the reason for my horrific mood swings because I really need to get to the bottom of these as they are horrible and I can’t manage them at the moment.

Liam

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CBT: Sixteenth Session

I have had a fairly good week coming up to this session, things were going to plan, I did exposure therapy once and went out fishing every day, however.. my mood swings have been really bad, like I feel so depressed but half an hour later I’m on some sort of high and enjoying everything? It’s so tiring and frustrating… I know it’s not normal but I don’t know what’s causing it which is even more frustrating!

I also worry about losing my friends and being lonely. I told my therapist all of this, the session didn’t turn out to be like CBT but it was basically a talking session where I just spoke about what I was feeling, sometimes you need sessions like this, it really helps a lot!

My therapist mentioned that the mood swings can be caused by me working on my mental health as doing so can make you really happy or really depressed very often, I didn’t really think about it like that, but she is a therapist and I’m not smart haha!

We went to exposure therapy, she mentioned that I really need to try my hardest doing it more than once, but I am. It’s extremely hard and she knows that and said don’t get down about not being able to do it, easier said than done! I am hoping and praying I’ll do it more than once before my next session.

My therapist mentioned an assessment but didn’t say anything more about it. Truthfully, I want to ask for one as I know something isn’t wrong and I’m pretty sure it’s not to do with my mental illness’ I’ve been diagnosed with. That is just so scary for me, it may seem such a small thing to ask for but I’m honestly so scared of doing it, I hope I am able to ask, I really want to ask. Ugh, why are these things so hard?!

I hope my next session goes well, I’m not feeling confident about CBT at the moment, I’m not sure but all that confidence and hopefulness has just emptied out of me and I can’t find the reason why.

Liam

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CBT: Fifteenth Session

// T W // Suicidal thoughts & SH //

 

Earlier this week, I had a really awful start to the week, due to something that happened at the hospital, I told my therapist about this – I continuously worried about telling her, I worried that she would find it silly or stupid.

I told her that what happened at the hospital had literally made my MH plummet and made me want to not live anymore, like seriously. I had the strongest SH urges I’ve ever had, but I didn’t do it. I had a good alternative and good coping mechanisms, and that’s four weeks, which is a month of no self-harm, I am bloody amazed! I only did exposure therapy once as I was meant to do it three times, but because of how bad I felt I didn’t do it, which she totally understood!

I told her that people and herself are telling me I’m doing so well, but I don’t feel like I am, I feel like I’m not doing good? It’s weird to explain but I don’t feel happy or feel like I’m doing good. She explained how that is normal when you struggle with your mental health, that you don’t realise how good you really are doing. She then made me write a list of positive/good things I have managed to do since starting therapy with her, listing it helped so much. It made me think I have been doing well and I just need to stop being so hard on myself and give myself credit at times.

My list was this:

  • No SH for a month
  • Resisting the SH urges
  • Went to Liverpool with a friend and ordered my own drink
  • Went Starbucks by myself and ordered my own drink
  • Planning my future change in career
  • Went on a night out
  • Carried on blogging when I felt like quitting
  • Applying for lots of jobs

When someone who doesn’t struggle with their MH reads this, it may seem like they are such little things to do, but for me, they were so big and I’ve realised that I am doing incredibly well so far and I need to be able to feel it, slowly but surely I will be able to.

My therapist then asked me to list the things I am doing to keep myself on the road to recovery/keep myself doing good things and not falling into a pit of depression!

I will be doing:

  • Going out more on my own
  • Not being too hard on myself
  • Rewarding myself
  • Reading more
  • Being more positive

Another fantastic CBT session, on to the next one!

Liam

 

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Why I started blogging #MHAW17

I talked a bit about this in my post this week, social media & mental health. I thought it’d be a good topic to make a stand-alone post for, I’ve wanted to do one for a few weeks, but silly me hasn’t got around to doing it! Pro procrastinator over here.

I started blogging early January this year if I remember correctly, it is the same week I started CBT for the first time. My first post was my introduction to CBT. I started blogging because my therapist mentioned that I should have something where I can just vent, and just write whatever I want. A friend of mine mentioned blogging, I thought it was too late at first because there are many bloggers out there. I then realised I don’t do it for views or whatever I get, I do it for a place to vent, I still do.

I remember spending ages writing my first post and putting it out. It was scary, but it was a good feeling actually writing stuff. It got such a good and lovely response I was honestly shocked. I didn’t expect people to read my posts – I’m not the best writer at all…

I got into blogging real quick, I was doing a post every two days, I had so many things to write about and get off my chest, it really did my mental health good to start blogging and join the community of mental health bloggers. I was writing personal posts just because I wanted to, it was scary, posting about your life on a blog where anyone in the world could see, but it was good to do so, as I said before, it felt good.

I’ve not stopped blogging since I started, and I always tweet, like way too much. I’m so happy I started blogging, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have made so many supportive friends in this community, it really has made me a better person. The community is so positive and supportive and that’s why I love blogging so much, I am happy my friend mentioned blogging to me.

Liam

 

 

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A letter to Gemma #MHAW17

Where do I start? You are such a great friend, you may not realise this but you’ve saved my life. Being able to speak to you about anything and everything really helps. I feel like a burden to you sometimes, but I know that is just my MH speaking, and I know you truly care about me, and that’s amazing as I feel like not many people do.

I love how you are always there for me, anytime, any day. I can always rely on you to cheer me up with your hilarious jokes (you are so funny it’s unreal)I don’t know how you do it, but whenever I have urges or horrible thoughts, speaking to you makes them all go away or makes them controllable.

I remember you helping me with finding sites for stock photos, and ever since then we have become so close friends, and I am so happy for that. If I didn’t have a friend like you, I don’t know where I would be, or what would happen to me really.

You are a star, you are absolutely brilliant and beautiful. You are so kind to everyone on twitter, and I am so fortunate to have you in my life, you deserve all the love in the world and all the chocolate.

I love love love your blog, you are such a talented writer, and you always help me with posts, you are one of the best bloggers in my eyes. I admire how honest you are and how strong you are with battling your mental health, your strongness drives me to beat my mental illness, it really does.

I wanted to write this to show my true appreciation to you, Gemma, I am currently sobbing whilst writing this (i truly am an emotional mess). I am so lucky to have a friend like you, I always feel like I don’t deserve you. I love you, you’re the best.

If you want to read her amazing blog or follow her on twitter, here are the links!

https://mysweetanxiety.com/

@gemcals

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Social Media & Mental Health #MHAW17

It was recorded on January 17, that there were around 3.773 billion internet users and 2.789 social media users.  81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day. this is likely to increase as more generations are born into this era. Growing up with social media developing has shown me just how powerful the influence of social media can be. Unfortunately, this influence can be both positive and negative with the creation of cyber bullies & trolls, and the general ability to comment on each other’s lives from behind a screen. But, I don’t want to focus on the negatives. I want to talk about the positive impact social media has had on my mental health, and how it can help yours too.

For me, social media has helped me so much. For four years, I had no one to talk to about my mental health. I was isolated and knew nobody to talk to. I didn’t even speak to my parents as I wasn’t quite ready for that.

I then googled mental health blogs, as I thought there would be people who blog, and there was. There were hundreds. I was scared to join in, but I did it as I thought it’d be good for me. I joined in January this year, and ever since that, I have made so many friends, and met a good friend also! Social media may not be the best place at times but I have found that the community on twitter is fantastic, it has helped me so much and gave me friends that I will have for the rest of my life. It is truly fantastic what a community can do to you, it can help you so much it’s unreal.

Twitter has to be my favourite platform. I don’t think any other platform comes close to it. Twitter has this extremely personal feel at times, especially with followers, and being in a community related to one single thing, you get to know people and make friends. It is great how easy you can find new people and new friends, that’s why I love it.

Here are a few of my favourite people in this community, they all are so helpful and supportive it is absolutely amazing! I would list them all.. but this blog post would be too long, literally, there’s like 500 people I could list!

Gemma – Blog / Twitter

Sophie – Blog / Twitter

Rich – Blog / Twitter

Nicole – Blog / Twitter

Laura – Blog / Twitter

Mike – Blog / Twitter

Rosie – Blog / Twitter

Rachel – Blog / Twitter

Liam

sources:
http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/
http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016-methodology/
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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

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25 ways to indulge in self care. #MHAW17

Self-care is incredibly important, on your good days, and your bad days. Self-care is always needed. I try to take the time to self-care every day or so, but when I’m feeling bad, it’s hard but it’s still possible! I wrote a post on self-care, you can check it out here!

This post will include 50 methods of self-care, however, self-care is different for everyone! It’s important you find a few things that you do for self-care so you can alternate them each day or so!

  1. Have a nice, hot bubble bath.
  2. Read a book you enjoy, even if you’ve read it already!
  3. Go for a walk or a run.
  4. Go fishing, it’s really relaxing!
  5. Take a social media break, at times we need to do this.
  6. Clean your room, organise things.
  7. Play your favourite song, whether it be a piano, guitar or whatever you play!
  8. Draw! Draw anything! Let your mind run free!
  9. Have your favourite meal for lunch.
  10. Listen to your favourite songs or listen to a good upbeat playlist! (Spotify has loads!)
  11. Watch your favourite tv show or movie. (I recommend Shaun of the dead!)
  12. Take a chair outside and watch the sunrise/sunset
  13. Watch Netflix all day, if you want! (my favourite self-care method!)
  14. Search positive quotes and write them down on a piece of paper.
  15. Do some mindfulness activities.
  16. Have a go at meditation!
  17. Have a pamper night with one of your best friends, or by yourself!
  18. Watch funny fail videos on youtube and laugh for ages.
  19. If you have a to-do list, cross out some to-dos!
  20. Practice breathing methods.
  21. Get a towel, lay down on some grass and watch the clouds move.
  22. Go for a nice bike ride with some good scenic areas!
  23. Fix something you’ve been wanting to fix for ages!
  24. Wear your comfiest clothes, may it be a onesie, a hoody or whatever!
  25. Treat yourself. That new thing you saw in the shop and you want? Buy it!

As I said, self-care is different for everyone! I have listed 25, some that I actually do on a very regular basis! If you have any different methods and would like to share with people, comment on this post and people will see them!

Liam

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