A couple of weeks ago I started High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I had been on the waiting list for this since December after completing about five Level 2 (I think) sessions. After those sessions myself and my therapist decided that they weren’t of much help and that I should try a higher level.
The initial CBT wasn’t very helpful for me. It mainly consisted of me having to keep a thought diary and then relaying the information back to my therapist and discussing it further. This didn’t really help to challenge my thoughts or behaviours so I am glad that I am now trying something with higher intensity.
It is very early days with my new therapist. I have only seen her for three sessions and the first couple were generally us getting to know each other but mostly her trying to find out what my issues were and she is now trying to create an action plan of how we can tackle said issues. I told her that I had diagnosed myself with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and after our chats and her checking with her boss, they also agreed that I fell within the criteria for this. In some ways it was a relief to have a reason to be the way I am. For some time I had been wondering whether this was just the way I was but now I can see that it is not a normal way to think or behave. I’m not sure if you’ve ever come across Sam Schaeffer from iovercameanxiety.com but I saw a video he’d posted on YouTube about the difference between introversion and social anxiety and things became clearer for me. Social anxiety is about not doing something out of fear, such as “I don’t want to tell my manager because she will think that I’m stupid and sack me.” My mind is really irrational so I am trying to practice more in picking out my thoughts and questioning them. It is really difficult though. This disorder has lived with me for many years and it has amalgamated itself so tightly within me that sometimes I’m not sure what’s me and what’s anxiety. It’s a daily battle.
As I’m writing this I’m not feeling 100% well physically. Over the past couple of days I have been getting a lot of dizziness and I have had a few tearful outbursts this past week. It has been hard to control and it has been in front of people which is usually something I really wouldn’t want to do. Sometimes it’s been because people have been trying to help me and it has made me become emotional and sometimes it’s because of the things I’m thinking that cause me to become distressed. On this particular occasion I was actually making a note on my thought chart where you have to write down the situation you’re in, how were you feeling and what were you thinking or imagining. The thoughts that I had and the visions I had about how other people viewed me really saddened me. Living with SAD is a bit like having a bully following you around putting constant doubts in to your mind. You can just imagine it piping up every now and again “She’s looking at you, probably thinks you’re a stuck up bitch”, “What does she want to speak to you about? Is she going to sack you?”, “You can’t do this, you’re not capable”, etc etc. I think this is why I became upset today thinking of all this bullying that I am giving myself on a daily basis. It’s really getting me down and I definitely need some help to quieten this voice in the back of my head, the voice of doubt.
I have another CBT session tomorrow so I will write a bit more later in the week.