Archive for January, 2010

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History repeating itself?

January 26, 2010

I’ve had a cold over the weekend.

Yesterday I realised it’s gone to my chest… I’m pretty darn sure I have a chest infection. Dad told me to ring the Doctor last night, which being after the end of evening surgery would wind up going to NHS direct, then through to NEMS (the out of hours GP service, for whom Dad works!). The NHS direct people were great, I said I think I have a chest infection etc and the said they’d get someone to call me back asap. A nurse called me, and he said he was going to pass me onto the out of hours doctors… half an hour later, NEMS ring me… only the nurse on the end of the phone is pretty adamant I’m not going to see anyone. Because I don’t have asthma. She asked why I hadn’t called my own GP during the day… erm, because it was while I was flaked out watching DVD’s this afternoon I realised how shit I felt and Mum never once came upstairs to see how I was doing, so I didn’t move ’till Dad came home. I have a sore throat, but not a cough exactly, but I am coughing up greeny-yellow phlegm. Nice. My chest hurts, it’s tight like the chest bone is being squeezed very tightly. It burns to breathe, again.

Any of this sound familiar? History repeating itself. Again.

I said to Dad last night, what are the chances of me

  1. being up in time to call our GP at 8am this morning
  2. getting through to the surgery
  3. getting past the receptionists to get an appointment
  4. making it to the appointment

Dad came up to wake me before he went to work. I felt crap, but my chest wasn’t hurting so bad when I was in bed. So when my alarm went off at 8am, I didn’t ring the doctor’s.
I pulled myself out of bed around 10.30 and got up. Then my chest started hurting again. Joy.

I had a CBT appointment this afternoon, after getting home, I feel even worse. To ring the doctor’s or not?

I can’t fight.

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Spring?

January 25, 2010

Henrietta, a more reliable forecaster of weather and the changing seasons than the BBC, poked her head out to say hello, check the world exists, that sort of thing, before digging herself back into her hole of hibernation.
This either means; she fancied a breath of fresh air, Or, the coldness of winter is passed, for now, at least.
Just thought I’d share this valuable piece of information with you wonderful people.
Henrietta sends her love, or at least, she would if she could communicate with me.

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Cello love

January 24, 2010

Over the last few days I’ve been listening to a variety of songs which have ‘Cello-ness in the background;

Rhydian’s songs
Kat’s blog
Keep Breathing, Ingrid Michaelson
To name a few…

Guitar an ‘Cello sounds pretty ace together, I feel.

I miss playing with other people.

We all love a bit of ‘Cello, right?

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When those Negative Automatic Thoughts are confirmed…

January 24, 2010

This CBT thing is supposed to be a process of un-learning those Negative Automatic Thought (NATs), right?

One of my main paranoia’s has been about taking medication and supplements, especially in front of other people. I have found it really hard to be comfortable about it. I’ve managed to get to the point now, when I’m taking at least 16 tablets with breakfast, a few less at lunch time and a few more with my evening meal, that it’s okay at home. I can cope when I’m out for lunch with specific people, but not in a whole group. I dread the questions, when I haven’t got the emotional energy to explain that actually they’re helping, and the fact I’m already pretty self-conscious about the whole thing, anyway.

Matthew, my brother, has been home for the weekend. This morning, Dad was cooking breakfast for the four of us. I was making a big pot of caffeinated tea for the three of them, then a separate mug of de-caff for me, which involved more boiling of kettles and waiting for water-filters. Matthew was stood in the middle of the Kitchen eating cereal… I needed to get a teaspoon, Mum wanted to get some cereal for herself… so instead of being sat down, he was, (dare I say it? as usual), in the way. I finished making drinks for everyone and emptied the dishwasher so we had plates to eat off… I got my tablets out. I took some clean things into the dinning room. As I came back into the kitchen, I could hear Matthew commenting on the amount of tablets I had out ready to take with my food. I pretended I hadn’t heard, and left Dad to reply ‘your sister, is seriously ill’ he said. Again, I pretended to have not heard any of it.
Matthew was asked to lay the dinning table so we could all sit and eat together, he took cutlery in, and just left it on the table. He’s done bog-all for anyone else since he came home, which is not unusual at all.
So when it came to lunch time, I had been doing ‘Cello practice in the dining room, Mum came in and asked it I could lay the table, I said it’s about time Matthew did something, having set the table in lieu of him this morning. When it came to sitting down for a roast dinner, Matthew’s comment was ‘are those tablets you haven’t got around to taking from this morning, or are they more?’ Dad and I both said, ‘more.’

I hate it when I feel like this over doing stuff that helps. I have all that in my head practically every time, but the CBT guy said that these negative thoughts are usually untrue, so I figured it was me being overly self-conscious. Apparently not.

But they are helping.

I need to remember this, and not let my stupid brother’s comments throw me askew, yet again.

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CBT and takling rules, assumptions and beliefs

January 23, 2010

Graham asked me to do some homework this week following the CBT session on Tuesday. I’ve been processing a few things this week.

The idea of CBT, is to change beliefs, rules and assumptions about various aspects of life. For example, a child who has been bitten by a dog may learn the belief that ‘dogs will hurt you,’ the assumption that ‘all dogs are dangerous’ and the rule ‘in order to keep safe I must stay away from dogs’
Thoughts: ‘The dog will attack me’
Emotions: Fear
Behaviours: Run away, avoid dogs

Some beliefs, assumptions and rules we learn throughout our lives, but our early experiences are formative in this process. They remain active and continue to influence throughout our lives. Negative beliefs, rules and assumptions can lead to distressing and unhelpful thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

Early experiences (plus temperament)
influence:

Beliefs, Assumptions and Rules,
which relate to:

Activating event/Trigger situation,
which influence:

Negative Automaic Thoughts – Physical Symptoms – Behaviours – Emotions,
which in turn also affect each other, which I’m sure you’re following me, can become a bit of a spiral.

So.. trying to implement this into one of my negative beliefs:

Beliefs, Assumptions and Rules:

  • Asking for consideration is selfish
  • Rest is a waste of time
  • I’m weak
  • Saying no is letting people down

Outworking:
Thoughts:

  • If I tell them, they’ll think less of me
  • I’m useless
  • People will think I’m pathetic
  • No one will want to be my friend, because I can’t help them
  • I’ll never be able to do anything properly again

Physical Reactions:

  • Increased HR
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • IBS

Emotions:

  • I get upset
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Anger

Behaviours:

  • I don’t tell people about my health issues
  • I push through
  • I apologise a lot
  • I become withdrawn
  • I want to hurt myself

I’m sure there’s much more, but you get the drift?

So… the first stage of CBT is to combat thoughts, starting with Negative Automatic Thoughts. These are often:
Automatic – they pop into your head without conscious effort
Distorted – they are not entirely accurate
Plausible – they seem to, so we believe them
Durable – they are hard to change
Persistent – they are hard to switch off

There are also many thinking styles behind these thoughts:

  • Catastrophic
  • All-or-nothing thinking
  • Mind-reading
  • Fortune telling
  • Emotional Reasoning
  • Over-Generalising
  • Labelling
  • ‘Should’ and ‘must’
  • Mental filtering
  • Double Standards/putting yourself down
  • Personalisation

In last weeks session, we started to discuss specific examples. Writing down thoughts I had at the time, and how much I believed the thought (%) and Emotions that came with it and their intensity (%). I remembered the time when one of my class called me on a Sunday evening and asked me to check if she’d left something in the library for her. I said no, because I was feeling very ill and in a lot of pain, I needed to look after myself. There was no guarantee that I’d have been able to get into the library at that time. I would have needed to go down two flights of stairs, something which at the time I was minimizing to once or twice a day as it was. And I was trying to save the little energy I did have, for doing my work. I found it incredibly hard to say ‘no’ and she was pretty pushy with me on the ‘phone. The thoughts I had were:
‘I should have gone and done it’ (30%)
‘She will think I’m unkind, unhelpful’ (80%)
‘She will fall out with me’ (40%)
‘I’m suppose to help people’ (80%)
My emotions included:
Guilt (95%)
Upset (95%)

It’s actually quite hard to identify specific negative and unhelpful thoughts individually!

Some questions I need to think about with each situation:

  • What is the evidence this thought is true?
  • Is there any evidence that does not support this thought?
  • What would I say to a friend who had this thought?
  • What would someone that I respected say to me if he/she knew I had this thought?
  • Am I blaming myself for something that wasn’t entirely my fault?
  • What type o thinking style am I using?
  • Am I expecting too much of myself and putting myself down?
  • Is this a thought or a fact?
  • A more helpful, realistic alternative thought would be…

So… to use an example from this week. Following the interview at the Minster,
I’ve been having thoughts such as:

  • If I can’t cope with an interview where I know people, how am I going to cope when people don’t understand? (80%)
  • I’m never going to be well enough to hold down a job (80%)
  • I know what I’d like to pursue, but I wont be able to cope with the demands of the course (80%)
  • No one will want to employ me because of my health (it was the first job I’ve been truly honest about the ME (80%)
  • I’m a waste of space (60%)
  • I wish I weren’t here (75%)
  • I’m worthless

Emotions:

  • Upset
  • Anxious
  • Angry

Behaviours:

  • Withdrawn
  • Avoiding life
  • I wont tell people in the future
  • I hurt myself

Physical symptoms:

  • Susceptible to infections
  • Exhaustion
  • Pain
  • Headaches
  • Palpitations

Which is probably all linked to the rule; ‘If I can’t do a job properly, it’s not worth doing’ along with others, no doubt!

Next sessions going to be fun, then! I think we’re going to be looking at ways to overcome unhelpful rules…

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Turning corners

January 23, 2010

Feel pretty rubbish at the moment.

I didn’t wake up till about 1pm, which I felt bad about, but then Dad hadn’t been up long himself, so he couldn’t complain at me, no wait, he can… apparently my breathing was far too upsetting for him to listen to. Piss off.

I had some late brunch; sardines on toast. Yum.

I’d hoped to get the BPG Sin/Deuteronomy/Romans Essay completely finished by the end of today… but it still seems pretty daunting. Eeek.

I opted to clear my floor of piles of things to sort, letters to write, things to post… So I’ve just written 4 letters, a reply to a wedding invitation and appealing the ESA decision on the grounds of, what the heck changed at the end of December? And parceled up a couple of parcels with exciting things in them!

Having cleared my floor and tidied my room, I finally felt up to playing with this essay, just as Mum got home from work. This scene included some nice firework action between Mum and Dad. Parents,’ huh?

The first re-write, I was still 500 words too many, despite having cut out some pretty big paragraphs. I wasn’t too impressed. I went through it after dinner and tidied it up. Finally, I got it down to two words beneath the maximum. Harah. It feels really strange, though. Like you can’t say an awful lot in 2000 words, especially the first draft having been 4000 words long! But The last things I cut out today included sections on the universality of sin and Original Sin, I’ve acknowledged them in the introduction as important in a discussion on sin, but won’t be able to go into great detail here. I’m a bit concerned about it, though? I just want to say it’s done!

I also just realised, I thought BPG sin essay was the 5th thing I’ve done, apparently, according to my list, it’s the 4th. Bummer. I really hope I can make some really good progress with my dissertation over the next couple of weeks before I go back… otherwise I’m really going to have more than I’m happy about to do when I’m back at LST.

Anyway, despite having a rubbish week and feeling physically crap too… I’ve managed to pull through and get things done today. Harah.

I ordered complete sets of Father Ted and Vicar of Dibley yesterday. Ace.

Time to have a bath and go to bed 🙂

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January 22, 2010

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