My CBT sessions have taught me so much
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember my weekly updates. I’m back with something similar this week. This past weekend has been particularly difficult, as I’ve really pushed myself with my anxiety. I wanted to update you all on what I’ve been doing and how I’ve been feeling.
My CBT sessions have taught me so much, and I really do feel as though I’m making progress. I’m looking to create some downloadables of everything I’ve learned so please drop a comment if there’s anything you’d like to be included.
It’s so lovely to bring some positivity to my blog!
We had planned to go visit our puppy on Saturday, however the weather was awful. In England we can only meet with others outside, so unfortunately we had to cancel as it wouldn’t have been fair to bring the puppies outside in such awful weather. I was a little relieved as I was feeling anxious about the journey. With our plans cancelled, I wanted to make use of the free time and so we decided to pop to some shops to do some puppy shopping. With the various tiers and lockdowns, I haven’t been to these shops since before Christmas and so I was super anxious. I decided the best thing to do was to drive there. It’s only about half an hour away, but it’s a journey I haven’t made in months. I really believe that driving refocuses my attention, and we made it there without me getting too anxious. Having to park was a whole new problem! It was really busy and I panic parked. This definitely contributed towards my anxiety and by the time I had (badly) parked I wasn’t feeling too great.
We went into the first shop and I found myself quickly feeling overwhelmed. It was a warm day and wearing a mask was making me feel almost claustrophobic. Feeling trapped makes my anxiety worse and wearing masks mirrors this feeling. In addition to this, it was quite busy. I found myself struggling a little and only made it halfway around the shop.
We then popped into one more shop. I could feel the anxiety building in me and it only worsened whilst we were in the queue to pay. The queue was taking ages, so I decided to leave my boyfriend to pay and I went to M&S to use their toilets. It gave me something to focus on instead of just standing and waiting. By this point, I just wanted to go home.
I’m trying to view this outing as a success. Considering I hadn’t been there in months, I managed to drive there, go in two shops, and queue in two shops. I asked my boyfriend to drive home as I was feeling really anxious. The journey home was really tough. I used the techniques I learned in CBT and really tried to focus on staying in the moment. However, this took so much energy and control. It felt as though any slight slip in my control would end in a meltdown. This sounds like it was an awful experience, but it wasn’t. I’ve never gone so long in the car holding off a full on panic attack. It was an improvement and I know with practice staying in the moment will become the ‘norm’. I have a long road ahead of me and I know it will take so much effort on my part. However, I can see an improvement in what I’m able to do and so it’s spurring me to keep going.
I’m doing my best to only see the positives and not focus on the negatives.
Sunday was another big day for me. I’ve not been over to see my partner’s mum since before the pandemic started (she’s been over to see us). It’s about a forty-minute drive and I’ve been really anxious about it. After last weekend’s trip to see the puppies, I realised I can keep pushing myself on journeys. We agreed that if I woke up feeling unable to do it, she would just come to us instead.
I was actually excited about the journey on Sunday morning. It was nice to be doing something where I knew I wouldn’t feel anxious once I reached the destination. We’ve lived with my partner’s mum in the past, so it’s like another home for me.
As it got closer to the time to leave, the anxiety crept up on me. I started the journey by driving, but about a mile down the road I realised it was actually making me feel worse. It’s quite a busy and stressful drive and so it was just adding to my anxiety. We swapped, and I did my best to keep my attention busy on the drive. It got a little much at one point and we pulled into a services for five minutes. It helped just to have that break and take a few deep breaths!
I didn’t have to keep such a tight control on myself as I had on Saturday, however I could feel the anxiety on the edge. I did my best to focus on the moment and not consider how much journey we still had ahead of us. It worked so well. Once we arrived, I was fine and the journey home was okay. I could feel myself searching for the anxiety but it wasn’t there. I tend to feel a lot better when I’m on my way home.