I’ve never hidden the fact that I suffer with anxiety, in fact I’ve been pretty open about it and over the years I’ve tried my fair share of treatments in a bid to get it under control. Mental health treatment is definitely something that is incredibly personal and what works for me isn’t always going to work for you.
Take medication as the perfect example. Over the years I’ve been prescribed with all manner of anxiety treating drugs but as of yet I haven’t found one that conclusively works for me. Some make me feel worse, some give me awful side effect and other’s have no impact at all.
On the other hand cognitive behavioural therapy is something that has consistently worked for me and still does even after all these years, I’ve tried all different kinds of CBT from counselling to self-help books and although it’s never eradicated my anxious thoughts, it’s definitely taught me a lot about myself and helped better equip me to deal with it.
So after eight years of cognitive behavioural therapy these are the lessons I’ve learnt.
CBT is a journey // I think is probably the biggest lesson that I’ve learnt since starting cognitive behavioural therapy and that’s what I’ve placed it at the top of my list because CBT is definitely one massive journey. I’m not sure that I’ll ever have an end to my anxiety but cognitive behavioural therapy has definitely changed how I handle it and also to an extent how I view myself. It’s something that I continue to dip in and off, returning to it when I feel I need help and so it’s an ongoing journey.
Upkeep // I don’t think that CBT is a quick fix for anyone and as much as it’s a journey it’s also a process. I’m not the best person to suggest this because I don’t practice it as much as I should but CBT is definitely something that requires upkeep.
Them pesky warped thoughts // One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt since starting CBT is that at the heart of all the emotions lies one warped thought or another. Being able to understand these thoughts and to label them is essential because it makes challenging them a lot easier.
Thoughts = emotions = behaviour // To most people this might seem obvious but when you’re in the midst of a mental illness this all gets a little bit blurry. It’s almost like your emotions become and the gospel and your thoughts become reality, causing you to act in ways that you might not normally. Learning this formula and being able to stop the thought before it determines your emotion is crucial and labelling helps with this.
What’s your experience been like? Have you ever had CBT?