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Author Topic: Treatment with CBT Questions...  (Read 545 times)

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Offline knittykitty

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Treatment with CBT Questions...
« on: December 28, 2013, 09:22:44 AM »
Any success stories out there? I've got a few questions if anyone can help?

I was diagnosed with GAD in 2011, I did about 3 months of CBT and it got enormously better. Unfortunately this year it has come back with a vengeance as I didn't recognise it on its way before it was too late.

Anyhow - I'm back at the same therapist who I like, and have done 5 weekly sessions, and we're going through CBT again but focussing on specific elements of what keeps perpetuatig this anxiety. Basically (in Helen Kennerleys words) I spend my day scanning for the thing which give me headaches, in order to avoid them and then avoid the panic attack which comes on. This is predominantely around my son, for example he's just got a lollipop and in my mind too much sugar can cause headache so I'm not terribly comfortable right now, I've made him drink water, I've given him a sandwich etc etc to soak up the sugar - this is my avoidance tactic into play!

Anyhow here are my questions:

1. I actually feel like I've gotten worse rather than better at the moment, could it be that as I'm on holidays and have no break from my son so I am completely consumed by scanning for things which will give him a headache, and then avoiding avoiding avoiding like the plague? or is that that becuase I've started CBT that I've realized how bad this actually is? I think the later but surely now I know what it is I should be slightly more at ease??
2. I'm trying to challenge each and every "faulty" thought to prove it incorrect and disregard it, however its rather difficult and time consuming as it seems to be every thought! Has this concept worked for others, I'm certainly perservering and have only bee going a couple of weeks on this, it seems logical but boy is it hard!
3. I feel like an awful Mum, becuase my son is my source of anxiety, I just feel so sad. I know I'm a good Mum but has anyone else out there suffered in this way and how did you cope with this?


Thanks a bunch
x
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Offline kconnors

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2013, 09:51:19 AM »
Hi,

I guess my first thing is to address your comment that you feel like an awful Mum because your son is your source of anxiety . . . first, I do not think your son is your * source * of anxiety. I think that your anxiety needs a focal point and that is your son . . . because you are scanning for the thing which gives you headaches, it appears that you have projected that on to your son and are forever scanning for things that will give * him * a headache, according to your post . . . if you are concerned that a lollipop is too much sugar, it is within your control to give him something else . . . there are healthy "sweet" treats such as apple slices and if he really really wants something that is sugar, then try something that is controllable like one very very small mint . . . . although many believe that we are genetically programmed to store up carbos, a lot of our need for sugar is through habit so now is your opportunity to instill your son with good eating habits so long as you model them also . . .

You are not an awful Mum . . . you have recognized your issue and you are seeking help . . . an awful Mum would not do that . . . .she would just continue entrenching herself in her anxiety and perhaps causing long term harm to her son . . . you are not doing that . . . you are showing the strength to re-engage in the process of recovery and, yes, you are a good Mum . . . so don't feel guilty . . . . be the best Mum to your son without projecting your anxieties into his world and that you know you can do . . .

I have had a lot of success with CBT and yes, because you are on holidays, this may be an issue . . . you have no distraction other than your son . . . so, follow through with the CBT, redirect your focus from your son (re: anxiety), and enjoy the time with him . . . yep, difficult to do, but you can do it . . . if and when you can, let us know how you are doing . . . .take care, KC
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Offline knittykitty

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2013, 10:17:10 AM »
Thanks for the reply KC, the point you have made which I've quoted here is fantastic - I think my therapist has spoken about this before but she didn't put it in so many words....makes me feel a good deal better about it...which is a bonus for today  :happy0151:

first, I do not think your son is your * source * of anxiety. I think that your anxiety needs a focal point and that is your son . . . because you are scanning for the thing which gives you headaches, it appears that you have projected that on to your son

He doesn't have that much sugar so one lollipop isn't going to break the bank per se, but I understand what you are saying. He's a good kid and I'm trying my hardest for him to not know what I'm going through.

Might get out my original CBT books, back to basics as they say! Probably overthinking it all..

Thanks
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Offline tinam7

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2013, 11:26:50 AM »
Want to add that while CBT is outstanding, there can be recidivism. If we break a bone we get a cast and it heals. They haven't invented that for the brain yet (joking).

The reality is that CBT can require regular attention. Sometimes I cart index cards around with me. Also exercise regularly and meditate every day. Modify my expectations. Accept that there will be better and worse times, but refuse to let that dampen my belief in CBT.
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Offline knittykitty

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2013, 11:43:46 AM »
Blimey can you imagine if you could heal a brain like you can a broken bone  :laugh3: Thanks Tina, your point about regular attention is great, I had such success with it the first time around I guess I just forgot to keep an eye on things! My exercising has dropped off to be fair, although my hsband and I bought our son a new bike for christmas so a few rides around town have been just the ticket in the interim...

Thanks
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Offline doogle2

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2013, 11:50:20 AM »

2. I'm trying to challenge each and every "faulty" thought to prove it incorrect and disregard it, however its rather difficult and time consuming as it seems to be every thought! Has this concept worked for others, I'm certainly perservering and have only bee going a couple of weeks on this, it seems logical but boy is it hard!


Yeah don't bother with trying to prove "faulty" thoughts incorrect - that concept doesn't work at all.

The way is to just be aware that because you are experiencing anxiety at the moment you are going to have "faulty" thoughts. That way when you have a "faulty" thought and it jars you, shocks you, stops you in your tracks, etc. just think "Ah - there's one" and pay it no more attention whatsoever, as it is giving it the attention that brings it to life, keeps it around, makes it into something bigger than it ever needs to be, etc.

Pay it no attention, give it no time, no space in your head, no-thing at all, just let it go and move on as though it was never thought in the first place, with the continued awareness that - because you are currently anxious - "faulty" thoughts are going to appear. So expect them to appear and don't be shocked when they do - that way they will cause you far less anxiety.

Non-attachment is the way with thoughts, the way to let go of them again - trying to prove them wrong and giving them any sort of space in your head only gives them energy and ANY source of energy is what makes a thought stick - not fall away.

Hope it helps  :action-smiley-065:
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The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish ~ Evelyn Waugh

Offline knittykitty

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2013, 12:29:00 PM »
Ahh - ok thanks Doogle - will give that a try - makes sense. I've been at it all day and I'm exhausted!   :yawn: :laugh3:
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Offline e77

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2013, 06:11:31 PM »
Some really good advice given.  Dr. Claire Weekes in her books advocates what doogle has proposed.  Thich Nhat Hanh, of buddhist faith, has written many excellent books regarding acceptance/mindfulness.  I like the cognitive stuff too.  I can see how you can get exhausted as our thinking and temperament tend to be driven by emotional reasoning rather than analytical thought so we get very tired trying to practice something we are not used to doing very much.  Maybe do a little bit of both and practice consistency rather than doing too much of one or the other.  Take care
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Offline scb07d

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2013, 10:03:56 PM »
You can't alter your thoughts/feelings in the same way you can alter things in the external world.

CBT is flawed in this respect. No matter how much time you spend "challenging" your thoughts and making them more "rational" they'll keep coming back. A lot of people find initial success with Cognitive Restructuring because if you believe in something, it can seem like it's working. The changes in CBT come from the behavioral changes I think.

Acceptance/Mindfulness based treatment makes more sense. Although this often falls under CBT (because CBT has become an umbrella term) it's not the same. Our brains automatically try to "solve" internal problems. But it's not possible really. You're better off accepting difficult things and continuing to live your life as if the problem isn't there.

You can spend decades trying to adjust internal experiences in hopes of improving your life, but it doesn't work. Focusing on functional behavior in the external environment is how change occurs. That being said, adopting an accepting attitude toward difficult internal experiences can lead to major changes in a person's life.
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Offline knittykitty

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2013, 05:08:39 AM »
Its interesting what you are all saying, I've spent most of the Christmas period (which has been a very difficult time) trying to challenge these "faulty" thoughts, I think its actually made me ruminate more and more and has probably contributed to my discomfort.

Have I interpreted some of the CBT thinkings incorrectly? or are some of you saying that the mindfulness way is more useful in this regard?
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Offline scb07d

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2013, 05:32:52 AM »
You're interpreting Cognitive Restructuring correctly I think. For example... it's like you walk into a restaurant, you feel like 1) everyone is looking at you, 2) everyone is judging you, 3) you're being awkward, etc. In real time you're supposed to realize that those thoughts aren't realistic and replace them with a rational thought, then the anxiety will go away. So you mess around with thoughts inside your head to make them more rational.

CBT tends to treat humans like machines where you can just extract the faulty idea and replace it with something that makes sense using language. But our brains aren't like that. If it were legitimately that simple, people would have figured it out.

The combination of Acceptance, Action and effective coping methods are pretty much the best you can do I think. You accept the difficult feelings and thoughts without trying to change them. You commit to meaningful actions in your life. And then in the meantime, you do things like exercise/hang out with friends/meditate/read a book/etc without viewing these things as solutions to how you feel.

In truth, Psychology doesn't have a "solution" to anxiety. The solution is to stop trying to find solutions and accept the way you feel.

Mindfulness is useful because it allows you to give up the fight, so to speak, with your thoughts and emotions. Instead of waking up everyday thinking about what you have to do to get rid of anxiety, you just live inside it.
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Offline tinam7

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2013, 08:50:03 AM »
CBT, or however else we want to name it and view it, is open to individual adaptation, as I see it. For me, in fact, the first step was still trying to understand the origins. That factored into utilizing the TEA form (Thought, Error, Analysis).

We can get lost in the labyrinth of thinking and terminology, esp. if we're trying to learn and apply it all on our own. For me it's been a creative adventure. Even the TEA form has evolved into journaling. Meditation is almost at its center now. I should point out that I've been at it for years, read books (starting with Freud) and have always enjoyed the process. Maybe it was one step back at times, but then I was pleasantly surprised by two steps forward.

P.S. Just read Thich Nhat Hanh's book Walking Meditation. He is fabulous. Thank you for mentioning him e77.
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Offline knittykitty

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2013, 09:06:33 AM »
Thanks everyone for your input. Not a great few days it has to be said, feel worse rather than better at the moment just by way of update, guess I'm not at work with my usual distractions and focusing completely on this "thing" which has got me hook line and sinker, and as KC said then focusing it all on my son, so every time I look at him I give myself chest pains!...Going to give up "fighting" it, but I don't want to always have it with me, I'd like to think I'm in this to get rid of it? Not sure now if thats a realistic goal. Returning to a normal level of anxiety (what ever that is  :laugh3:) has to be achievable.

Supposed to be going out this afternoon and I am dreading it, we have to walk there in the cold for 35 minutes (they live off the beaten track), I'll get a headache, it might be hot there as they always have the fire on and I'll get a headache, they like loud music - and you guessed it, I'll get a headache. Whats worse is what if my son does! Arggghhhhhh.....Can feel my chest tightening now!  :(

Just off to have a cup of tea and a sit down and chill for a moment...
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Offline kconnors

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2013, 09:15:20 AM »
Hi . . . .

Sometimes when we anticipate something happening (i.e. getting a headache), then it does happen because strangely enough that is our comfort zone. . . . we meet our expectations and that your son gets a headache may be him picking up on your issues . . . .as difficult as it is, anticipation is the fuel for anxiety . . . .

Also, and this is personal, I had great success in not fighting the symptoms of anxiety . . . it is a process not an event but . . . in the beginning, when the symptoms of anxiety started, I used to fight them, try to be in control, what I call my Mr. Spock phase (from Star Trek) and that did not work . . . I realized that I was fighting against myself . . . I found a series of free tapes on the Web and I fell in love with #6 . . . . basically, it said that just let the symptom be, acknowledge it, but don't focus on it . . . I did not believe that this would work and it took about 3 weeks of listening to the tape (sometimes 5 or 6 times a day) and practicing and eventually it worked for me . . . because I feared changing my comfort zone even though the comfort zone was anxiety, it was a bit tough going in the beginning but as I received gradual relief from the symptoms, I wanted to establish a new comfort zone . . .

All of this to say is that anxiety as a comfort zone is self-perpetuating . . . and you certainly do not want to pass your issues on to your son so for both of you, please keep working on it . . . .recovery is possible but it can be a frustrating process so don't give up . . . .and remember, it is possible for your son to adapt his behaviour to yours so perhaps that might be motivation for you to change your comfort zone . . . having experienced the process in my terms, I know that the best approach is for you to have a support system so if we can help you achieve your achievable goal, please let us know . . . take care, kc
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Offline tinam7

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Re: Treatment with CBT Questions...
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2013, 09:52:23 AM »
These are wonderful posts. When my son was young there were periods I could not stop crying. I explained to him that my issues had nothing to do with him. To this day we have a loving, close relationship.

Your son will be the greatest motivation to do all you can to help yourself which you are doing. Part of CBT (for me) is to try and turn the negatives around to positives. What do you care if it's cold outside? You bundle up and face the elements. Makes you stronger. Your headache could be due to dehydration. Have plenty warming tea and look forward to enjoying yourself. You know we are here to support you and wish you all the best.
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