Tag Archives: cognitive behavioral therapy

30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge – Day 3

Day 3: What treatment or coping skills are most effective for you?

 

I participated in 6 months of inpatient schema therapy which was really great for me.  This helped me with my BPD.  Perhaps having to sit down for 6 months and break it all down into my mind is what this really worked for me.  It was all broken down into every group I went to, plus we had one group where the therapist added in a bit of DBT, but not much.  Schema therapy really was great though.

I also did quite a bit of CBT here and there.  It helped me when I really thought about it, but I never would actually practice it outside of a hospital setting.  When I was inpatient, and had the sheets in front of me, had to do the assignments, it all made sense.  Outside of the hospital — I just could never make myself think of it.

Outside of therapy programs though, using my coping skills is really the best thing for me.  When I am able to bring myself out of my “funk” enough to actually do something ….

  1. painting
  2. zentangles
  3. juggling
  4. reading
  5. writing
  6. writing on here has been amazing!
  7. walking or running
  8. support groups (NAMI)
  9. grounding techniques

those are the ones I try to use most frequently as they seem to be the ones that work right now….they change quite frequently… like a few months ago, I was obsessed with knitting — nonstop!

 

 

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Pros and Cons Challenge of Today 8/15/14

I have been challenged by Izzy to create a “Pros and Cons” list of my dad.  Pros” are the things that I am happy for, grateful for, or things that just made me smile. “Cons” are those things that you just want to forget about because they do nothing to help with your anxiety or mood that day.

Sooo Here we go:

Cons –

  1. Cleaned up my apartment
  2. Student Loan Bills in the mail – which I shouldn’t have
  3. Psychiatrist Bill in the mail – which I shouldn’t have
  4. Kind of just feeling under the weather
  5. Was all alone, no one to talk to today
  6. One panic attack
  7. Trying to figure out how to pay for Grad school…blah!

 

Pros –

  1. Alive – Living another day, but I missed the sunrise — maybe tomorrow?
  2. Woke up early (Thanks to a good sleep with Ambien!)
  3. Had some time to read today
  4. Listened to the rain and thunder, like every other day in Tampa – actually can’t figure out if this is a pro or con, but today it will be a pro
  5. Restricted myself from eating absolutely everything today (no I don’t have an eating disorder, but I can eat emotionally when I get bored or sad or manic or whatever the case may me).
  6. I didn’t go out and spend any money, or even look online on Amazon to spend money – even though they have smile.amazon.com which donates money to my charity (which is actually where I get my cousneling)…. whew.. I spend way too much money on that site with my bipolar.  Money I do not have.  Everyday I beat that is a day to celebrate.
  7. I watched my DVR of the Last Comic Standing season finale – sooo funny!! Made me laugh
  8. Looking forward to starting Grad School in like 2 weeks, but refer to Con number 7.

 

Ok this is definitely hard!  Over time I will get better at.

Anyone else want to take this challenge?

Just take your days, list your pros and cons for the day – that is it!  It helps you see what your day was like, the good and the bad.  Slowly helps you realize that not everything went bad, you do have good things in your life… even simple things.  Izzy has done a better job at conveying that in her blog over the past two days than I did in this though!

 

 

MIA today – but will Catch up tomorrow! — Anyone read Eckhart Tolle?

Hey Everyone!

 

I have had somewhat of a busy day, so I have had much time to look at my posts today to respond to comments 😦

BUT…. I am going to get to them I promise!  I have scanned a few and will most definitely be replying to them!  I haven’t forgotten about you!  I just needed to focus on some of my “homework” (DBT/CBT) for therapy to work through my anxiety, depression, and PTSD  as well as just started to re-read a book that my case manager from 3 years ago bought me for graduation, which I never read as I was so unfocused.  My therapist brought it up, so I thought I would look it up.  It was a book called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.  Anyone else ever read it???  Would love to hear what you all thing!  Feel free to leave some messages below about it.

It is a pretty good book – talks a lot about mindfulness.  There is quite a bit I don’t agree with, but it does have some decent stuff in there.  She gave it to me in a version on audible, so I have a hard time focusing, but I think I am halfway through.

Anyway,  I write posts ahead of time, so I think I have some coming out tomorrow that you should get to read still.  And I will try to get back to reading through some comments and being more present on here to get back to everyone!

 

Thanks for all the support!!! 🙂

Looking Back at Life (1/22/2011) – Chemical Imbalances

I look back at how bad my depression was over the last few years … in a previous online journal I had a post from January 22, 2011 at 6:28pm that simply stated:

The first two weeks of school have gone pretty good.

I need to die though.

Two sentences.  Nothing else.

My depression was so bad, that even though my first two weeks of college (actually the last semester of my senior year) had been fine, I still felt the need to die.  This was the year that my mental illness became extremely severe.  This entry was posted a week after my first psychiatric hospitalization. Prior to my second hospitalization, which would result in me abruptly dropping out of school (on the semester I should have graduated) and deciding I wanted nothing to do with graduating as I had no reason to believe I would live any longer.  And if I did indeed live, I did not need school.  I wanted no degree from the college I was going to, I hated my college at the time, and I wanted nothing from them at all.  I was much to amazing to have a college degree (woohoo bipolar delusions and suicidal ideations and reckless decisions).  I did go back and get my degree though, although I am not using it at all thanks to my wonderful hospitalizations and instability.

It is amazing how set I was on death though.  I had been depressed so much of my life, but this was the breaking point for me.  How can we see that things are good, but still want death so much?   The chemical imbalances in our brain and how they work are so –weird!

People ask me all the time why I am depressed.  Which I hate by the way.  I don’t know.  Things can be going fine in my life, and I am just depressed.  Which obviously this entry from 3.5 years ago shows — it seemed like things were fine, but I still was determined that I needed to die.  The chemical imbalance in my brain was just completely off!  That is how bipolar works, that is how major depressive disorder works, and schizoaffective, schizophrenia, and a whole host of other mental illnesses.  It isn’t a simple switch that I can turn on and off.

Yes, I can change my thought process, that does help.  But that alone does not fix me.  As I have mentioned before, I need my medication.  I am not someone who can go without my meds – because my diagnosis definitely is based on a huge chemical imbalance.  Working on CBT helps a lot, but only when my medication is also working.  Then I am stable enough to focus on using those technique to change my thought process too.

But — I guess, looking at this post from 2011… I also just think about how much it hurts to feel that way.  To know that you can see your life going ok but to know that you still feel the need to get out of it.  To have this deep desire to just escape.  I haven’t felt that deep desire since January 2013 luckily, my meds have been working well since then, but I still have the thoughts and desires here and there.  Not constantly though.  It was a hard.  It still is hard., but I’m learning to manage and it’s getting easier.

Are you a bully?

I never thought I was a bully,

Until I heard how I talked to myself.

I think I owe myself an apology.

Ruminating on My Thoughts and Using Cognitave Behavioral Therapy to Escape It

Continually thinking about your problems can interfere with your concentration. Most people expect that thinking through their problems will help solve them. But continual thinking and thinking usually can’t solve a problem. For example, if your spouse leaves you, running this fact through your head a thousand times won’t change things.

                                       -Dr. Neal Houston, Sociologist

 

I ruminate all the time!  I saw this quote and it struck me as completely true!  Sitting and thinking about something over and over again does not fix anything.  Sure, I come to conclusions about things sometimes, but usually I can come to those conclusions fairly quickly – but I still will continue to think and think and think, and question and question and question.  My therapist calls this the snowball effect – it pretty much is just that.  I think one thing, ask a question, think of that, ask another question, think of that, and so on and so on.  It progressively gets worse and worse. The thoughts get more dangerous.  For me personally, they can lead to a deeper depression and even the suicidal ideations.

I have to nip them in the bud.  This is where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy comes in for me.  The whole Triangle thing comes in – for those of you who have taken CBT. My thoughts affect my emotions affect my behavior and back to my thoughts.  I have to change one of those things to change the others.  So for me, it would be to change my thoughts so that I don’t act out on a behavior (the suicidal thoughts) and my emotions (my depressive thoughts) do not get worse.  Or I need to do a behavior (a distraction – painting, reading, writing, etc) – so that I can quit ruminating on my thoughts. 

triangle

Found on: http://creationsmindbody.com/bond-theraputics-2/cognitive-behavioral-therapy

 

This is such a hard thing for me to do and remember to do.  I will get so sucked up into thinking that I do not even realize that I am going over and over the thoughts in my head until it is too late and I feel like I cannot even get out of it.  I begin to get so overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed and then do not even want to do anything or feel I cannot do anything to get out of the situation.  It is so important to not get stuck in this sort of situation.  Practicing this CBT is very important to keep our thoughts on the right track.  I definitely do not do it enough. 

 

You Don’t Make Me Pull My Hair Out, But Seriously, I Do Pull My Hair Out

“You are going to make me pull my hair out!”

Well, let’s be honest, you may get angry or frustrated, but you aren’t going to pull your hair out because of someone.

For some people though, they really do have an urge to pull their hair out.  They have a disorder called trichotillomania – or trich – for short.  The most common places they pull hair from are the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes.  This will leave noticeable bald patches.

Depending on who you talk to, there is a debate on how trich is classified.  Some say it is an impulse control disorder, some say it is related to OCD, others say it is a body focused repetitive behavior (BFRB). 

It can be found in all age groups, including infants!  However, most commonly it appears in the tween – teen years. 

According to the DSM V the symptoms of trichotillomania are:

  1. Recurrent pulling out of one’s hair, resulting in hair loss.
  2. Repeated attempts to decrease or stop hair pulling.
  3. The hair pulling causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  4. The hair pulling or hair loss is not attributable to another medical condition (e.g., a dermatological condition).
  5. The hair pulling is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., attempts to improve a perceived defect or flaw in appearance in body dysmorphic disorder).

There really is no known cause of trich.  It is thought to have a neurologically predisposition.  It is also thought to occur as a coping mechanism during stressful events.  I personally tend to pull out my eyebrow hairs during times of stress when I get anxious.  I do not do it all the time though and have learned to cope with it better when I have something to do with my hands such as play with a stress ball.  I tend not to notice I am doing it though unless someone points it out.  Many people with trich cannot control their urges though. 

Some treatment options have been used.

  1. Therapy is the most common one.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often used.  Other forms of therapy can also be used depending on your psychologist (or other type of therapist you see) and how you feel the best way of going about it is.  There are clinics around the US that specifically specialize in treating trich.
  2. Some medications have been thought to help trich although none are officially approved for it at this time.  Naltrexone and Topomax are two that some people have tried. Others have also been prescribed SSRI’s. 
  3. Support groups specific to trich are also important to gain connections with those that are dealing with the same problems you might be going through.

If you want more information on trichotillomania, a wonderful site to go to is http://www.trich.org/index.html

Some other sites that give general information about trich include:

 

***(There is also another disorder called dermatillomania – this is similar to trichotillomania.  It involves skin picking though, where a person will pick at there skin such as scabs until the skin is bleeding. If you would like more information about this, go to: http://www.skinpick.com/dermatillomania.)