6 December 2010

bit of a plan coming together.........

in 08 when i attended an eating disorders course for six whole months, we mostly discussed my problems with anxiety. every session. the clinician impressed on me how static anxiety could be to everyday life. i started to pick apart things. mum is an anxious person however she gets on with things, dad is anxious but tries not to show it, however body language and speech gives him away to the trained eye. so learned behaviour is appropriate in my situation.

i need to improve my situation, i know i have a genetic illness that isnt going to get better, i know that this illness contributes to my anxiety, for sure the p.o.t.s does. instead of giving up and thinking i cant do anything anymore because of this, ive come up with a few ideas.

on my darker days i think whats the alternative to all this? nothingness. in fifty years or so all my problems will be over, i will have left this earth. in some ways this gives me comfort, an urge to overcome anxiety. almost uplifting.

i have to do things which i dislike, i know that i need to feel uncomfortable, the clinician was the first person to tell me not to distract myself which is mighty hard. i understand all the theory, as im sure most of you do too. i know that my autonomic system plays a huge part in this.

she also said that our rational part of the brain, is very hard to come into tune with our emotional side. so where we could 'give ourselves a good talking too' we know that it just wont work, we know that. we have to change our emotional side. which takes work,work,work. not all that pleasant either. so the more we feel like crap, the better in her words. we are doing something right. yet we want to recoil. we dont want to feel bad, we dont like feeling these raw emotions. half the time what we are anxious about could of happened years ago, and has no bearing on the current situation that were are in. yet we dont make the connection. and on we go, thinking rationally, yet that just wont help. we need to change all those years of programmed thinking. and the only way to do that? is to put ourselves out there, to expect to feel awful, also to try and centre ourselves.

to change our emotional side, we have to practise,practise,practise, to change our programmed thoughts. perhaps for the first time in our lives to make them our thoughts. we all drag along the past, without consciously changing, we have thoughts from way back clinging us. and i think with how far gone we all are the only option is to slowly change.

ive often referred to our state of anxiety as 'obese anxiety'. imagine being 20st (or around 300 pounds), just because we practise a weeks worth of baby steps, nothings really going to change a life times worth of learnt behaviour. we arent going to reprogramme our brains, and suddenly drop to 10st in a week. its going to take a year or two, then you might fall backwards, practise and go forwards. thats why i think our anxiety which is so over the scale just wont work with a little bit of CBT. its ingrained,entrenched. when i was doing graded exposure i felt the need to rush the steps because it was time limited, also because the therapist said that in six weeks, yes six weeks i would have a completely different life, i kid you not that was his words! so i rushed as fast as i could, and didnt feel any different just let down by myself and stressed. can you imagine a 20st women being told that the way she looks at food in six weeks will be totally different! we all know that it wouldnt work.

we all need to be kinder to ourselves. thats for sure, what the eating disorder clinician pointed out was i didnt like to spend money, or spend money on myself which is quite usual. so i had to take say £5 a week and spend it on myself well i could do this for a few weeks then dried up because i couldnt see the point. well all these little tasks add up, they add up to change your behaviour slowly and thats the key.

all what ive learnt, ive put together. ive wrote a chart out, for every 25 tasks i complete, im going to give myself £20 to spend on myself, that will be difficult believe me. these tasks are going to be; arranging my own appts, dealing with people, thinking about my anxiety whilst in the situation, arranging physio, dealing with the drs better. instead of letting others deal with my dreaded situations. then i will write them down, tick them off. when i hit 100 which will take a few months i will give myself £40. i must spend the money, not hoard it away.

an example of the above, on the advice of the eating disorder clinician i joined an on-line group. it was awful, a posted a couple of times, i was so terribly self-conscious i backed off thinking this wasnt for me. thats what i normally do, avoid any situations that make me feel uncomfortable and over the years slowly but surely narrowed my life down to ths present state. i knew i had to do something. each time you hit a certain number of posts say a hundred you would earn a banana symbol, then hit five hundred a sweet you get the picture so i thought would aim for 1,000. forget feeling self-conscious, just look at the number and post.even if the posts were short i achieved my outcome, simply by giving myself a different view. and in the meantime got to know others. one win for me. also by the time i hit 1,000 i got used to posting.

so thats what im trying to do with this method. although its not going to be the biggy stuff, its certainly going to concentrate my mind on the little things which hopefully will pay off in the long run. im not going to include the easy/but slightly difficult tasks. just the things what really i find awkward and usually pass on to others.

so i have filled in the first reward, and last just have so ermming and arring over the middle two.

1. cath kidston ---- £20

2 ............ ---- £20

3 ............ ---- £20

4. boden/monsoon/next/whitestuff £40

i need to do something, i cant just do nothing. i will keep you updated, and tell all as i go along. any ideas for the middle two?


agoraphob said...

Awesome plan. Gotta do what works for you. Even if it doesn't work out, you can always make another plan. Dont be too hard on yourself to get everything done, but i agree we cant just do nothing.

Cant wait to read your progress.

Nechtan said...

Hi Em,

I do think a rewards system is beneficial. When tasks are hard or mundane then it does help to have a purpose to them. I also agree that we are hard on ourselves and how we treat ourselves. Guilt plays a big part. We are conditioned not to be selfish and I think we see any form of spoil ourselves when we are not contributing in the conventional sense as being selfish which actually isn't healthy but just looking at the government targeting people on benefits adds to that.

I have also found that because of the guilt at being in the state we are in we are too eager to recover and tend to try to force recovery. Its understandable and patience is very hard to find. As you said about CBT it is a joke. My CPN could only offer 5 visits and that was expected to reverse the habitual anxiety of 5 years. It just isn't possible.

Mindfulness is something to think about. What you said is so true about anxiety being the product not of the moment but of what happened in the past and worries about the future. Mindfulness is about keeping us in the present. It is about focusing on the here and now, from practice, so that we are not being pulled into what was and what may be. In theory it makes sense to me but in practice I at least need to give it a bit more work.

You have so many ideas I would like to comment more but I've gone on enough.

All the best


Elizabeth McClung said...

I agree with you about CBT. CBT is used because it is quick and it promises quick results and it can be checked off that you have had counselling. Eating disorders, even in group homes have a higher than 80% rate of reoccurance. As one of the therapists I respect (Dean of psychiatry and psychology grad program) said, that CBT is for the 'unaware' person who by showing that they are responding to stimulus, but for the aware person, it is not that useful.

I have found that internet eating disorder sites have a component of competition, which emerges in group therapy as well. I have found though as a goal to gain posts, and extend the self, that greeting new people, usually a thread for that, is good.

The reward system looks really good, I don't know what would motivate or be a good reward, I always think of forbidden passions, like having nails done or facials, things that I would never allow myself to spend money on, but then, this body is not for caring about is the message that I am breaking down, maybe something picked to help break down your message?

Em said...

hi shelly

i feel idle sitting her not being able to work forwards, so the plan was devised. i have to work out away round things being in my current state, and thats what im planning. really understanding the small steps. x

Em said...

hi nechtan

glad im not the only one with cbt views. when the therapist said how its suppose to work, the fastness of recovery i thought hey wait a minute. then you always think that your faulty in someways, because you havent overcome your problems.

i really need to slow down my thoughts, take baby steps and understand that slowness is ok. practise the building blocks of recovery instead of rushing forward and everything then collapses around me because i havent worked things out properly.

please feel free to comment as much as you wish, i dont mind reading especially when we might pick upon something that we havent thought of before.

keep warmx

Em said...

hi elizabeth

a good reward certainly would be something that i wouldnt ordinarly buy myself on a regular basis. i tend really not to buy myself much at all. so a little luxury will spur me on. also i think i need to pinpoint something, not just so spend an amount in a certain shop. i think that gives more of a defination. will have to find something. thanks for commenting. x

Achelois said...

wow I am impressed. Achievable goals springs to mind something learned on a pain management course, push the boundaries but don't set yourself up for a fall.

On the list of things to buy - how about some wonderfall hair products.ho

Em said...

hi achelois

simple steps, i have to reign myself in. i think in the past that has been my downfall. rushing ahead and taking a painful fall and not getting back up again. so i will try this approach. i need to do more in my life and this maybe a way forward.

you mention hair products, maybe a different colour of hair, ive been thinking along those lines!!!x