As I mentioned briefly in my previous post; I’m doing okay for the moment and I see my ‘withdrawal’ from this site as a positive thing (not having too many new negative thoughts to contemplate and generally coping with day-to-day life). Whether or not that’s solely down to the CBT work I’m doing with Positive Step; I don’t know. I’m sure there’s some personal benefit coming from this course and that’s what I’d like to start by writing about this evening.
Last week was our third session and number four comes this Wednesday (I still haven’t sat down to write my homework). I found that the first two session were of little benefit to me personally, simply because I felt as though I wasn’t learning and that we were simply going over things that I’d learned previously, both through counselling last year and through blogging. Week 3 was about challenging our thinking, anxious thoughts and we also looked at for Living.
We started by looking at a common situation of visiting a large department store that was likely to be busy and, from there, looking at the three negative scenarios that could come from this – for example; that you might suffer a panic attack, get lost or even trapped in the store, in the event of a fire. You then score the risk associated with each item on the list and assess the probability of it actually happening, using facts and other resources to support an increase in positive thinking.
We also covered two other situations. One involved the thought of walking past a friend who doesn’t even notice you, let alone speak a single word to you. There, we had to assess reasons for why this might have happened. Starting with the negatives where we blame and criticise ourselves; before moving on to the realisation that we don’t know and that they may have had their own reasons, within themselves. Another example we used was the thought of fear of turning up for the very first group session (something we could all relate to). We were divided in to two groups and, in courtroom-style battle, one side was tasked with creating the positive thoughts around the thought; the other team had to come up with as many negatives and reasons for not attending as possible.
It was great to see the contrast between thoughts and to work through each process collectively. I can certainly see how this technique can help. It requires a little bit of work in your own time and I do see how it can help you to prepare for an up and coming situation. Our homework is to do this on our own by taking a situation that creates anxiety in our minds and to break it down and to assess it in the same way. There is one thought (filled with fear for a friend’s safety) that is constantly on my mind. If I was to write about that though, I know that I would find it hard to realise many positives and to out-rule the negatives, given the constant danger she seems to be in. On a personal note of success; I was able to privately confide some details about this and how it affects me to the course leader after the session. She offered me some good advice and, most of all, really listened to me and seemed to understand, having perhaps witnessed similar events with her own clients and patients.
My homework will instead be based on the anxious thought of driving a long way to an unknown area to meet up with the walking group (which I actually did yesterday morning).
So, I did go out walking yesterday and I also went out walking on Saturday as well, with someone who has become an incredible friend since I first knew her online in September. Yesterday’s walk, at 15-miles long, was them most strenuous I have endured with the group so far but I enjoyed it from a social perspective. Not only was my friend there (she encouraged me to do this one, as it’s not one of the most challenging long walks) but I also got to catch up with someone I met briefly in February and she seemed as keen and interested to hear what I had to say as before, which was really nice. A couple of others (all women) were as welcoming and it was a great relief with all the anxiety I had felt about participating in such a long walk for the first time. 🙂
I’m not sure what else I can write about at the minute but I am now trying to focus the attention of this blog on to things I would not openly reveal or discuss in public. So, the photographs and walks will only be appearing on my ‘real’ blog from now on. A handful of you know where that is and I would happily inform the rest of you if I can come up with a way to keep it all low-key and discreet… I don’t want people who know the real me to discover this blog and vice-versa. Having a separate blog for this seems to help me to distance myself from certain thoughts patterns, where I feel I used to plough too much in to it and almost succumb to a life of anxiety.
I’m okay. I’m far away and behind with my reading of your blogs but I hope you are all doing okay too. 🙂
- Positive Psychology. (phizberry.wordpress.com)
- Accepting non-recovery (dorasnow.wordpress.com)
- A Little Rant about “Positive Thinking” (enjoylifeforonce.com)
- “The fear is in the thinking, not the doing” (kerxo.wordpress.com)
- The Social Anxiety Spiral (psychologytoday.com)
- You Are What You Think You Are (gdisuccessfromhome.com)
- My Journey to Positive Thinking (glitzinspiration.com)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Depression (psychcentral.com)
- Using Evidence-Based Therapy (ocdtalk.wordpress.com)