Friday, 3 April 2009

Take Hold Of Your Mind

Thank you SO much for the support you all gave me with yesterday's post. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to say, "I've been there too" to make things feel less overwhelming and paralysing.

I had therapy today- was VERY tempted to cancel, but decided that I can't afford to skip sessions right now and I think it's the first time I went, completely willing to be 100% honest and get as much out of my 50 minute session as possible.

I was scared of being labelled as psychotic or crazy, or brushed off as being dramatic or attention-seeking. I've had a pretty rocky relationship with my therapist and have found it hard to adjust to her way of working, but as I have grown accustomed to her methods, I have found it to be more and more helpful. I tend to forget that in the lead-up to appointments and am always pretty wary of how she'll respond to me.

I basically told her exactly what I wrote last night about what's been going on. She said that she thought that life is definitely worth living, but that my current situation is likely contributing to me feeling otherwise. There is great benefits to talking to someone who has known me for a long time, knows my patterns, my history- she thought that perhaps the intrusive thoughts I am having may be serving a similar purpose to that which anorexia provides. Distraction from the very real obstacles (isolation, lack of structure, loneliness, adapting to living on my own). We talked about how I have had similar experiences in the past and I often brushed it off saying, "if only I lived by myself...", thus avoiding doing much about the situation except looking to an external solution.

We also talked about applying DBT to this and how a lot of things I am doing to "cope" are making things a lot worse for me. She set out some very clear goals to hopefully help me right now. I sensed an urgency when she spoke, and almost felt threatened, but I guess it's a good thing that she feels the same way about this not being allowed to continue spiralling.

The first ones are around food and weight. We don't generally discuss this in my sessions- her theory being that I have spent so much time talking about it in treatment and read so much about it that further discussion is pointless. I pretty much agree so was surprised when she stated, point-blank, that I need to get a grip on this. Now. There is no doubt in my mind that she is right, but I'm not sure exactly what to do about my intake right now- what to change/add. I have no doubt that it's necessary, and I am willing to do *anything* at this point to regain some semblance of sanity, but am struggling to keep my intake consistent as it is, never mind add in more food. I've cut down on caffeine and liquids to help with the constant nausea I've had this week (anxiety/depression I am guessing) but not sure how else to manage this. I'll give it some thought (ideas welcome!)

The other one was about taking hold of my mind. I've learned about this in DBT, and basically it involves staying in the present moment and not getting swallowed up my anxieties or memories. Staying in the "here and now"- we talked about grounding techniques and things I can do before I am transported to some other dimension. We also discussed pushing away thoughts and delaying actions- none of the urges I have need to be acted on *immediately*. It's okay to just BE. Put worrying on tomorrow's "to do" list- take each moment as it comes, focus on what is going on around me...the smell of my pot-pourri, the fluffy carpet under my feet, the warm cup of coffee in my hand.

How do you stay in the present moment when your thoughts are going a hundred miles per hour?

Lara left me a great comment on yesterday's post which I wanted to highlight:
I know from experience that sometimes when you really really struggle like this,
you are actually breaking through to a point of healing and getting better. I
hope that is what this is for you- the storm before the sun rises.

I was thinking about this after therapy and think it's definitely true. Like I said, it was the first time I went into a session ready and willing to take on board WHATEVER advice my therapist had to offer.

Here's to a great weekend!


Lexi said...

Staying in the moment is definitely difficult, but try just noticing things around you. I don't know if you're familiar with the idea of mindfulness, but that definitely keeps me fresh and in the moment. Love always,

Syd said...

I switch to something that I like to do or go somewhere that calms me when my thoughts go around and around. I also have said the Serenity Prayer over and over to quiet my mind. Glad that your therapy session went well.

ElleMigliore said...

Sounds like you have a good and "no-bullshit" type therapist! We dont really talk about the actual food in my sessions either just because I know what I should be doing and the obsession with it is always some underlying issue--duh.

I actually found that as I ate more and actually allowed myself to have some carbs/grains, my thinking was more controlled. When I was at my lowest weight in January, i felt like I was adhd and my mind was going a mile a minute. Stuff that I used to be able to brush off (like getting simple chores done) suddenly completely overwhelmed me and I felt like i had to get it all done at once and didnt know how. I realize now that my poor brain was in starvation mode and it was affecting it's performance. Coming from a neuroscience education where all i did was learn about the brain, it seems ironic that I would let that happen to my own.

So enough about me.. i say that because maybe you need to invite some more nutrients into your diet to fix that feeling of hyperactivity.. and i know just the way to do it.. Food Fear Challenge! booya! haha. I'm sure Sam could use a challenge too in preparing for her Easter weekend coming up.

Aside from all that, congrats on not cancelling your appointment. I know how tempting it can be to just say eff-it.. especially once the thought of not going crosses your mind!!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Lara's comment, I've found that happening in the past too. It's horrible having to sit through crises, but they often seem to work as a catalyst for change. Staying in the present moment is haaard. When I was learning DBT skills I found that personally my distractions need to be things which use as many senses as possible, something I can interact with rather than just look at or listen to.
I wish I'd been online when you posted last night, I know I couldn't have done anything to make you feel better but I would have texted you or something if I'd read it. You sound a little bit clearer and more positive today though. Well done for going to therapy and being so honest and willing to try anything. Sometimes (I can't believe I'm writing this, what a cliche!) it takes hitting rock bottom to make someone decide to just do whatever it takes, and that's when real changes start happening.
I hope this evening isn't too stressful <3

Danielle said...

I definitely agree with Lara, it's always darkest before the dawn!

Sheena said...

Hey sweets~

I don't have a lot of definitive advice but maybe a few suggestions. With your eating, have you talked to a nutritionist about it. Or maybe, and I know i don't like the idea of tracking what I eat, but for a few days write what you eat and when so you know what to increase. And you can also see when you need to eat more during the day. My therapist said ideally I should have 25% of my days calories at bfast, 25% at lunch and 25% at dinner.

As for living in the moment, no advice for you there. What I turned to when my mind is going a mile a minutes is unhealthy routines and actions. Maybe making a list of some of your worries, that way you can put them off to teh next day and know that you won't forget about them. That would help get them off your mind.

Glad the therapy session went well and that you were honest. Take Care!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you were able to walk into the session wanting to hear what your therapist had to say. I can totally relate in the my ED is just a distraction from my real problems. It's not about food and weight.
Sometimes just hearing that other people think, feel, and act the same way is all I need as a push forward. You are not alone.
I am proud of you, and I know that you can begin your journey now.

Stef said...

I'm glad you went to your appt. You're definitely NOT psychotic or crazy, or attention-seeking or anything of the sort. You're a real woman with REAL problems. I'm so glad that you went in with an open mind, that makes such a huge difference. Hope you have a great Saturday!

Anonymous said...

great attitude, ellie! this willingness to change and accept advice is the right way to recovery!
I try to stay in the moment be first taking a step BACK. to observe my surroundings, listen to other people, instead being absorbed in my own crazy world. sometimes we just need to STOP thinking for awhile and instead relax, calm down, and just...look around.
wishing you all the best!