Therapeutically Anxious

Well, it’s been 2 long weeks since my last therapy, and to say I’ve had some ups and downs would be an understatement.

My first session involved having an introduction to ACT and the approach of no longer just challenging thoughts, but welcoming them, embracing them and just letting them be. This is a whole new thing for me, I’m used to fighting and challenging my thoughts, pushing back against them and fighting through them. Although this method seems quite aggressive, it got me out of the house, and living a relatively normal life again.

This new approach though, is to address the fear of negative thoughts. We all have them, each and everyone one of us, but for some (me) it affects us differently and blurs the line between what are just thoughts and what we believe to be reality. When I had the method explained to me, it made sense, so over the last 2 weeks I’ve been using some new tools when faced with negative thoughts and anxious feelings with mixed results.

My first challenge was a big event at work, and as much as I tried the methods of calming down, welcoming feelings, welcoming thoughts, everything got all too much and I had to back down and make adjustments in order to manage it. This was really disappointing for me. We’d discussed this in my session and looked at ways to combat it, but before I’d even come close to going I kept feeling sick, tense, I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, so for me the alternative was to do things my way and in a way that felt comfortable. I went to the event which in itself was a huge feat, so for that I’m quite proud.

It hasn’t all been negative though! One particular day at work, I was having a difficult time with really negative thoughts, they were making my head spin like an owl on speed, and I was starting to find it difficult, then I realised it was the perfect time to put mindfulness into place. I took myself off to a quiet room and began to focus on my breathing, and my breathing alone. Listening, feeling the air move in and out, I began to regain focus, and turned my negative thoughts into a visible black cloud in my mind. I could see it, touch it, I was watching it there. I’d gained control, and with one deep breath I opened up a space within me to allow the thoughts to be. They were there, swirling around, not hurting me anymore. They were contained, and as I began to breath out, the space closed and the cloud got smaller until it was so small, I did one big exhale and I let it go.

Now I know this all sounds like absolute nonsense if you’re new to, or unfamiliar with mindfulness, but I honestly felt a sense of calm, I felt back in control and since then, the thoughts about that particular subject are easier to control tell.

So some positives as well as negatives for me. It’s taking a while to change my way of thinking, and adjusting to the acceptance of it. All in all though, it feels like a good approach. I don’t know what my next session holds for me, but I’m excited to learn.

Until next time!

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