So today was my first therapy session! Not my very first, I’ve been before, but this is with a new therapist and a new approach. I wrote about my assessment here if you’d like to read, but basically we’re trying ‘ACT’ which stands for acceptance and commitment therapy. This is a really new approach for me, as I’m used to CBT but having discussed with the therapist it seems like the best approach.
So I turned up, really non anxious about it which for me is completely new, but because it’s a private arrangement I feel very much in control and that suits me well. We began by discussing how anxiety affects my life and my approach to doing things. I get pretty confident that although I’m anxious about things, I don’t let negative thoughts restrict my life as I generally push against them. I go to parties, I go to events, I always tend to go for it, whatever ‘it’ is.
However, when we talked about general life, my eyes were completely opened!
The therapist asked what I value, what do I want to get out of the sessions, what do I want? My answer was simple – freedom. I just want to feel free, have some time for myself, some self care, and not have the constant pressures of work and life. Specifics? I want to cook, I want to bike ride, I want to go on walks, and when she asked why I don’t, my only answer was ‘because life gets in the way’.
But why does it? Why does life get in the way? Because I let it – or more, my thoughts let it – and that’s when everything changed. Of course my thoughts stop me, they stop me constantly. I’ve spoken a lot about how I’m not happy at the moment because I don’t get time for myself, and I’ve always been bitter about it, yet the only reason I don’t have time is because I don’t make it.
We then looked at invoking anxiety to learn mindfulness and how to work with negative thoughts and accept anxious feelings. Again, this is very new to me, my instinct is to push them away but instead, I was allowing my mind to accept them, take them in and let them do their thing. When I did this, the anxiety dramatically reduced! It worked! It will take a lot of time, but it absolutely works and it’s definitely a new skill.
I came away from the sessions with a task – make time for me, to spend an evening for myself cooking a meal (I love cooking) and just enjoying myself. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I have to work to push past the thoughts of ‘I’m too tired’ or ‘its been an stressful day I just want to stop’. I need to work past those to actually realise it’s just thoughts. Accept them, feel them and carry on doing what I love.
I came away realising that it’s not just anxiety that makes my life difficult, but my own thoughts and life pressures – and it’s made me think just how important it is to make those changes so life does feel more pleasant.
So, what task can you do, to take time out for yourself, to make you feel better.