Friday, March 04, 2016
I had my first CBT Therapy session on Monday 29 February 2016 with Natalia. I had to wait about 3 months which I realise is very good considering the waiting lists for mental health support on the NHS these days.
I had my usual self-doubts beforehand - I've not had any 'real' social anxiety issues since before Christmas so maybe I should cancel and let someone else have the slot who needs it more than me.
But then it occurs to me that that's because I've not been anywhere or done anything outside of my comfort zone just going to work and home again. My one social outing was to visit my friend Audrey at her home in Sittingbourne and who I now feel comfortable with it only took me 6.5 years to get there. So I gave myself a talking to and said lets do it I know she'll be nice as therapists are trained to put people at their ease (and she was).
To start with we had a general chat about matters that bother me which basically stems from my social anxiety as general day to day work is okay. She told me I should record things that go through my mind when I'm anxious. She advised me to write a list, a hierarchy from easiest to hardest of goals or things I want to do that I currently find hard to do. And to start to implement mini-dares for myself such as going somewhere I wouldn't normally go as I find travelling especially on holiday or going on weekends away often induces my anxiety. Natalia explained that if you set yourself smaller achievable goals but spread them out, when you eventually deal with a larger one, you realise that the larger event is really only a series of smaller ones strung together and it becomes easier to manage.
She also mentioned it was important to incorporate exercise, getting enough sleep and eating healthily.
It may seem obvious to most people but when your anxious or get yourself in a rut it is difficult to get out of bad habits and implement basic changes in your life.
Anyway she gave me lots to think about.