So if you haven’t worked it out by now…i am slightly mental…. By that i mean i have to take medication to be ‘normal’…well my version of ‘normal’ anyway. I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression. This basically means, if something completely undramatic happens like i get lost while i’m driving the car…i freak out and think the world is guna end and i’m going to die (not literally, but you see my point). It all started when i was 14 and there was an incident with a basketball, a wall and my head (long story leading to temporary agoraphobia and a fear of basketballs) but I only decided to do something about it a few months ago…
The docs gave me tablets for depression, but they told me to have cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for the anxiety part…that was hilarious. I was expecting to have to wait ages for an appt but apparently when you write ‘i don’t want to kill myself but sometimes i’d like to be dead’ on your form…they get all stressy about it… so i got seen straight away. On my first appt i was terrified…mostly because it was in Swad which is not somewhere i go often and consequently i had no idea where i was going. The place reminded me of some kind of secret society (not that i am cool enough to belong to any secret societies…) because it was an unmarked building and i had to knock on the door until someone came to let me in…i half expected him to ask me for a password… The inside of the building was equally as uninspiring… i assumed it had to be neutrally decorated so it didn’t offend anyone…but when i asked my therapist he just said it was like that cos he just hadn’t decided to decorate it.. i told him, it was depressing and that this was probably counter productive…maybe that’s the point?
In the first session the CBT man asked me loads of stuff about my family and my life and whether anything bad had ever happened to me etc…it hasn’t and consequently he made me feel much worse for being so chuffing sad all the time. Then he said he was going to show me a panic attack and proceeded to hyperventilate in front of me… i didn’t know whether to laugh or run away screaming. He said it was important to know how to recover quickly from a panic attack. I said i knew exactly how to recover but that i’d rather not have them in the first place. He seemed to ignore that detail and decided I wouldn’t be cured until i’d made a twat of myself in front of him. Consequently i was forced to make myself hyperventilate until i went dizzy. He seemed to think this would be scary but as i pointed out to him, panic attacks are scary because they are uncontrollable…faking a panic attack is completely in my control…so i question his logic slightly. He also drew me lots of weird diagrams to explain how my brain worked… apparently my brain is sensitive to emotion or something..i forget…but the good news is, he assures me i am not a Psychopath – i’m pretty sure i knew that already.
One of my issues is self confidence and the fact that i don’t like myself very much. CBT man asked me to put myself on a line between Hilter and Nelson Mandela. I put myself in the middle. He then asked me to put my boyfriend on the same line…i put him in the middle again but a bit closer to Mandela. CBT man asked me why i’d chosen these places. I said it was cos Hilter and Mandela were at the extremes of society and i consider me and N to be average. CBT man was quite shocked by this and said….’but Hilter killed millions of Jews….do you not like your boyfriend?’ I didn’t really know what to say to that…. i guess he was trying to say that Hilter was more ‘bad’ than Mandela was ‘good’?
Anyway this went on for 8 weeks…during which time we covered topics such as; my inability to mind read, how to get over my fear of driving different cars (solution – steal N’s more often), how not to hide in toilets instead of speaking to strangers, what to do if you get attacked by a dinosaur, how CBT man is bad at Karaoke and how not to have a meltdown when you don’t get a promotion. Despite my initial skepticism and the sarcastic ramblings above, i actually think the CBT worked. I have recently developed the ‘fuck it’ approach to life. I am less anxious in most situations – although networking is still a waste of time, largely due to the fact that i really don’t need anymore friends and i don’t see the point of small talk (I think this is just my personality tho…and i’m not sure i can change that….).
Soo I would recommend CBT to everyone, apart from anything else its nice to be able to cry and rant at someone for an hour a week without them looking really scared and awkward the whole time. CBT man even said to me once ‘i like it when you cry, it means we are getting somewhere’.
I didn’t think the therapy was helping at first…not sure i did at all until i’d finished all 8 sessions, but then i found myself doing things i couldn’t do before, and was like ‘ooo i did that!’ So yeh thanks CBT man, for an entertaining and productive 8 weeks.