From psychotherapy

“All The World’s A Stage . . . “

I just had to post this anxiety meme, and like larger than life, because as soon as I saw it I laughed so hard I almost choked on my coffee. It’s so totally true. Every time I’m ever with my therapist and we’re talking about something that makes me anxious, or we try to do something on the fear ladder and I get anxious, she immedately goes for the “Okay. start your breathing. Try to take yourself down to at least a three.” Right. I must’ve been breathing wrong before!  If that worked all the time, psychiatrists would be completely out of business.…

Self-harm

Self-harming, or cutting, serves many purposes. If you talk to eight different cutters, you will most likely get eight different reasons why they cut. It is as much individual as is the individual who engages in the practice. Take me, for example. I used to cut on a regular basis. In fact, I attended the S.A.F.E. Program (Self Abuse Finally Ends) in Chicago several years ago to help me stop. I cut for several reasons. I hated myself, felt numb, invisible, was angry, felt soooo much pain and cutting relieved it, was intensely sad, and intensely anxious. I did not yet know…

Positive Psychology

To prepare for this blog post, I read Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness in two days. It was a pretty major feat for me, since I’m usually a slow reader, especially when it comes to nonfiction material. This book, minus the index pages, notes, and acknowledgements, came to 260 pp. But I was excited about it, especially since my sister had recently begun therapy again with someone who used only positive psychology techniques. She had recommended this book to Carol, and when I tried to get two copies at B&N, they only had one, so I read it as fast as I…

The Crack Heard Around The World

“There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” ― Jim Morrison Maybe it began while you were sleeping, in those pre-dawn REM hours. You thought you heard a noise, sat up for a second, but there wasn’t another sound right afterwards, so you turned over and went back to sleep. Before you knew it you were in an earthquake. The books were falling off the shelves, the bed was clattering off the floor, and you were holding on for dear life. First it wasn’t there, and then…

Welcome and Psychoanalysis

Welcome to Mental Health Awareness Month 2015! I have o lot planned for this month, and the focus is, if you haven’t already figured it out, on mental health, not mental illness. Here’s how the month will look, from blog post to blog post: Welcome and Pschoanalysis The Cognitive Shift Positive Psychology Birth Order Neuroplasticity The Bystander Effect Follow The Leader The Lake Wobegon Effect Ericsson’s 10,000-Hour Rule Consciousness Rosenhan’s Insane Places The Principles Of Cognitive Therapy One & Two Three & Four Five & Six Seven & Eight Nine & Ten This should prove to be a very interesting and entertaining…

Venting

When I saw my therapist Wednesday he gave me a homework assignment. He even wrote it down, because otherwise, it would have gone right out of my head. “Challenge absolute thoughts (All or Nothing thinking). Find 15 cliches that relate to adapting to uncomfortable situations. Practice squared breathing exercise three times per week.” I’m not saying the assignment is stupid. It’s very worthwhile, actually. It’s just that I have so  much going on right now. Does he not realize that? The A-Z challenge goes until next Thursday (I think), I’m crocheting one very large granny square per day for a blanket I’m…

Therapy

Therapy can be a very helpful tool to get one from “here” to where they want to be. So much depends on the therapist, and the relationship between client and therapist. There are as many different kinds of therapies as there are grains of sand on the beach, literally. I was going to introduce them all here, but I went on Wikipedia, and they were actually alphabetized, there were too many for me to count. When choosing a psychotherapist, there are some important things to keep in mind. Like the fact that a therapist can be a social worker, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or…

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Most people, when they think of OCD, imagine the comedic detective, Monk. While he shows some of the fears, obsessions and compulsions that may indeed be typical, I think it’s mainly a caricature. It was still a wonderful way for people to be exposed to this particular illness. The obsessive part of OCD symptoms usually includes: fear of contamination, having things in order or symmetrical, strong or horrible thoughts about harming yourself or someone else, and unwanted thoughts, especially sexual. The compulsive part of OCD symptoms usually includes: washing or cleaning, counting, checking, asking for reassurances, following a strict routine, and being very orderly. The two…

Hardwired

There is some debate as to whether or not one is hardwired to be anxious. According to dictionary.com, hardwired means “pertaining to or being an intrinsic and relatively unmodifiable behavior pattern.” To me, that almost sounds instinctive, something done without thinking.  In all the research I did, one person asked a question on a site. She explained her psychiatrist told her that her anxiety would be hard to control because after 25 years it would be essentially “hardwired” in her brain. Most people who responded were angry with the doctor for even saying such a thing to her, giving her a…

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

I saw one of my favorite therapists (of which there have been many), Heather, for two years. Each and every time I saw her, because I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, she gave me a seven-point assessment test called the GAD-7. These are the statements it included: Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge? Not at all Several days More than half the days Nearly every day Not being able to stop or control worrying? Not at all Several days More than half the days Nearly every day Worrying too much about different things? Not at all Several days More than half the…

Coping

We all know what the word coping means. We could also refer to it as dealing, handling, confronting, or grappling.  With anxiety, it can take coping skills, which merely refers to the knowledge of what we’re dealing with, the ability and practice to handle it, to get through the situations we are faced with on a day-to-day basis. I guess I’d like emphasize the knowledge and practice part, because as long as we know our enemy and practice successful ways to defeat (him), we’ll get there–in my opinion. There are as many varied plans for coping skills as there are the people who design them. One talks about coping statements — like “So…

Love Yourself Through the Process

When I saw this cartoon it made me laugh so hard, and I was drinking coffee at the time. 😀 Then I realized it’s all about expectations and how what we think about things make them difficult. I hope that makes some sense. We dive into recovery and expect so damn much from ourselves from day one. God forbid we don’t meet those expectations. So when we can learn to laugh at ourselves it’s f***ing fantastic!! When I told the brilliant Dr. Walker this morning (therapist) that it wasn’t fun making paper cranes anymore, and I told him the whole story about…

Anticipation…..it’s making me wait!

It was hard to wait all morning to meet my new therapist, Dr. Walker. Anticipation and expectation had my mind going in all sorts of directions. “Will he want me as a client? Will he decide I’m just too much to deal with? What if he gets sick of me?….What if..he can’t fix me?” Then I got lost. There are only two things that can terrify me more than anything. Getting lost and not finding my way or, worse than that, when a spider drops off the ceiling without my knowledge and lands on my person. I think the spider is scarier. ‘Cause I found my…

Distraction, distraction everywhere and not a point to land on.

The good news is I’m sleeping better. Five and a half hours of sleep last night. Bad news is I’m still flitting from thing to thing to thing like a bird in a cage who can’t decide on a perch to settle. As I’m writing this post, I am surrounded on the table by origami papers (for the 1,001 paper cranes, of which I have yet to make one), a jigsaw puzzle, and a book on anxiety. I’m reading all at the same time (picking whichever book fits my fancy at the moment): The Husband’s Secret, When Panic Attacks, The Mayo Clinic Guide…