CBT without doubt, has changed my life. That may sound like a bold claim, but I’m telling you, it has. While I wish I’d done it a long time ago, I do believe everything happens for a reason and this came at the right time for me.
I’m someone who craves routine, badly. I like structure, I like to know what’s happening and I like to be in control, all things I’ve had to address in one way or another over the past 3 months.
Through CBT I’ve learnt the following:
Every time I have a worry, I check it, note it in my to-think-about-later file and move on. That’s it. I don’t let it spiral. I nip that thought in the bud.
I focus on problem solving versus worrying, where I can take action if needed and plan my next steps.
I’ve challenged the negative and positive beliefs I had about worrying. You see I used to think that if I worried about all possible outcomes of a situation, I’d feel more prepared. I didn’t realise that this belief was flawed and that actually, it was making me feel worse.
I’m continually practicing attention training and can now focus on one job and get it done. All with the help of some calming music and a timer.
Meditation. Still love it, still practice it. Whether it’s 5 minutes of laying with my eyes closed, focussing on my breath and noticing how my body feels, or taking 15 minutes to just be, watching the world go by.
Allowing myself to feel. If I’m feeling low and sad and want a cry, that’s ok. I can let that happen and not feel stupid or annoyed at myself. I don’t need to bottle any of those feelings up anymore, it’s not healthy for me.
I’ve learnt and am still learning to open up a bit more to the people I can trust to do so. And that feels really good.
I’ve addressed some of the contributors that have made me the way I am and accepted them.
I’m continuing to be kind to myself. To do the things I love that keep me sane. The power of sitting with my bunny, Lils, for 15 minutes, giving her tickles behind her cheeks. Or going for a walk to clear my head. All these things may sound small but they’re crucial for my wellbeing.
Most importantly, I know that my IBS is not in control of me. I’ve got this shit. Case in point, I had a flare a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t a big deal. I did my business. Kept my head. Had a sit down afterwards to get my energy back. And then I got on with things. It didn’t occupy my thought process for any longer that it should. It felt like a big moment. I’m no longer giving IBS the power to control my mind and my calendar.
I started CBT during an unsettling time of change and am allowing myself to tap into all those emotions and feelings, alongside the new techniques to guide me through. I’ve had ups and downs, it’s not been smooth sailing but my god, it’s been a hell of lot better than I could have imagined or worried about!
I feel lighter and more me than I have in a long time. I feel like my sparkle is coming back.
If you’re thinking about CBT, my advice would be try it. And I’ll happily recommend my therapist if you’d like her details.