I had my last CBT session at the beginning of March and I wanted to share with you the lessons learned in my final sessions. Like I mentioned in my previous CBT experience blog post although I learned some new tools to help manage my anxiety and low moods. a lot of what my therapist shared with me were things I was aware of. However, having someone help me break things down and hold me accountable definitely helped.
What 4 Lessons Did I Learn From My Last 4 Sessions of CBT?
Fourth Session: Create a weekly schedule and stick to it.
One of the main things I took away from CBT was: “create a schedule and stick to it‘ and the words “just do it“. I always knew I needed a schedule and a routine, however, I struggled to give that to myself. When I first heard the words “just do it” I would be lying if I said it didn’t trigger me, it 1000000% made me feel like I was being attacked. I knew this experience was going to challenge my habits and behaviours so I made sure I gave myself a chance to feel what I needed to feel but to also do the work, again you get out of therapy what you put in.
During this session, my therapist said when it comes to sticking to this weekly schedule, it is important to work from the outside instead of letting emotions control the tone of the day. At first, I was thinking that doesn’t sound right, how can it be good to ignore my emotions. After a few sessions, you start to understand better.
It is not a matter of ignoring your emotions but just not letting your emotions stop you from doing what needs to be done. When we are having a bad morning, how easy is it to completely write off the rest of the day and week?
Fifth Session: Give Yourself Time To worry
My therapist introduced me to the idea of giving myself time to acknowledge my worries. This ‘worry time‘ is for you to work through those daily worries. We all have worries, and for those of us who experience anxiety, we sometimes find ourselves worrying about everything.
The task I was given and struggled with the most was having this worrying time. What you need to do is make a note of your worries when they arise, but you’re not supposed to do anything with that list until it is your ‘worry time’. During this worrying time you separate your worries, are they practical worries or hypothetical worries?
Practical worries are things we can take action on and are based on facts. Hypothetical worries are worries that are based on emotions and have very little evidence to back it. With the practical worries, you create some solutions to help and work your way through them, you also do something similar to your hypothetical worries. With hypothetical worries, you make a list of the possible outcomes and tic off which ones actually happen.
Sixth Session: Break Everything Down
This is something that has served me well recently. I have been doing this for some time now and have found that breaking everything down, makes tasks easier to complete and less daunting. During this session, my therapist reminded me to break things down with an exercise she used to help me work through Improving my confidence.
She drew a diagram of me on a boat, in the sea and an island in the distance, she then asked me what is going to move this boat closer to the island. I shared a few practical things that could help me build my confidence. The diagram basically symbolises taking those steps necessary in order to get to where you want to be.
Seventh Session: Being Selfish Is Okay, It Is Necessary!
I shared on my Instagram story that CBT reminded me of how important it was for me to have some time for myself. Time for me to just focus on me, and to have someone just focus on me as well. Even with the most supportive and loving family, we all have our own things going on so It was nice to spend time with someone who didn’t know me and wouldn’t be affected by me taking their time.
It is so important to have moments for ourselves, whether it is in therapy or not. taking that time to just focus on yourself, without having to think about anything or anyone other than yourself was an experience I needed. It felt like a break and It allowed me to sort my self out without feeling like a burden.
These may be simple lessons for some, but it is the simple things that we tend to neglect and after a while, it leaves us feeling out of place. Part of looking after yourself is checking in with yourself and making note of what it is that you need.