So, last week I posted about the fight or flight response I have to stress, which you can read about here, if you haven’t had the chance to do so already.
I want to change the way my brain copes with (or doesn’t cope with as the case may be) troublesome situations and, using techniques from CBT, rewire my brain to change focus.
I did not say any of this was going to be easy – but it is a work in progress.
To control my over analysing/overthinking & continuous feelings of guilt I need to do stuff, get up and be active in some capacity – sounds easy, right? It really isn’t when your mind over analyses everything – even things from 5, 10 years, 15 years ago.
Should I have said that?
Could I have done things better?
Did they think that?
Am I a bitch?
Maybe if I had done that differently…
Is it my fault – this one can be for literally anything – a stranger getting hurt, my husband stubbing his toe, burning himself on the stove etc.
Quite often I have just been so overwhelmed with these unnecessary feelings of guilt and stresses that I’ve just let the feelings take over and have done nothing at all to bypass the anxiety/depression/stress/upset.
Techniques that sometimes help me.
- Being mindful – Wherever you are, zone into the now and what is happening. Going for a walk? Listen to your feet, how do they feel pounding the pavement? Listen to the noises around you – traffic zooming past, the weather – what noises is it making and can you feel it on your skin – the wind, the rain, the sun. Take a look at the Be Mindful website for more information, helps and tips.
- Exposure – this, in the past, has worked wonderfully for me – although it can be a painful process and incredibly hard to implement when the going gets tough. Exposing yourself to your fears is never going to be easy but in avoiding them the fears and obsessions can actually get worse. This link discusses how exposure therapy can be beneficial; How CBT can help Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I know that I still have a long way to go with my own exposure therapy and some obstacles I don’t feel ready to challenge as of yet but, in doing some, I know that this is a great process for me to continue with.
- Hobbies – I’m a bit if a geek and have recently got back into building Lego. Concentrating on making something from scratch can help to keep your hands busy and your mind.
Crocheting – unless I am reading a new pattern, which again, helps me concentrate and take my mind off things, I tend to listen to an audio book at the same time – otherwise my mind wanders into dark territory. Sometimes I have to rewind parts of the book as my mind still wanders but sticking with it can really help.
I recently crocheted a heart for the #AHEART4MCR campaign, as I live in the north west of England and Manchester is a place close to my own heart. It is a wonderful, unique and diverse place.
Xbox – oh yes, I love playing on a good games console. The games I am currently playing on are; Quantum Break – I’m at the end of the game but can’t quite defeat whats-his-face, Watchdogs, Lego Dimensions – I’ve finished this one and also the Doctor Who level, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. The last two games were recent birthday presents and I absolutely love them. Being 100% honest I wouldn’t have bought the Resident Evil game because I am such a soft arse – but I have really enjoyed playing it – much to the amusement of my family because I have literally screamed my way through it. I also made my husband start the game for me because I was too scared. Ha. Sometimes if I can’t defeat something on a game my temper can get the better of me so I have to switch off if I start to swear but it can be a great mind occupier.
Writing – I used to work as a freelance journalist before my illness became more severe. I am currently trying to write my first book – but I don’t know if I will ever finish it. I also write quite a bit of poetry and have been published several times.
- Take a time out from social media – I’ve recently deleted Facebook, Twitter and Instagram off my phone and haven’t logged in for over a week now.
- Routine sleep patterns – not easy for someone with bipolar. In mania I never need sleep, in a depressed phase I want to sleep all the time & my body hurts so much. But what I have noticed is that I’m better with a certain sleep routine. So, on weekdays I get up at 7am and weekends are vary between 7 & 8am. I used to sleep for as long as possible at weekends because I was shattered but my moods would be all over the place. So, now I force myself up to start the day. Sometimes I really have to force myself to move but it really is worth it for me in the long term.
P.S. – I still haven’t been back to the gym – but let’s take it day by day, eh?