Mild adventurer. Prolific daydreamer. Always authentic.

Dear Diary – Killing Happiness

Dear Diary,

I’m currently under going therapy, I feel so American and dramatic just writing it but nevertheless I figured as it was free I really shouldn’t knock it until I’d tried it. So far so good, I’ve been once, and the Psychologist already seems a millions times better than a school guidance councilor I tried to talk to once. I go again this week but I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about it.

I felt awkward; I’m never sure how to answer “tell me about yourself” without rambling on and going off on some bizarre tangent. “Tell what’s bothering you” is another tricky question, is the answer what’s bothering me at that very moment (at the time that would’ve been the Psychologist hogging the fan) or what bothers me in general… because even I don’t really know the answer to that. Mostly I struggle to talk to someone who’s taking notes, it’s very distracting and I find myself talking faster and faster so she can’t take notes.

So far we (the Psychologist and I) have determined I’m a worrier, I view myself quite negatively, I like to be in control of situations and I’m intolerant of incompetence among other things. My homework this week was to read the flyers she gave me, which at first glance reminded me of the homework sheets I was given at intermediate, and I never did well with those. The sheets about “How Worry Works” and “What is Generalised Anxiety” were actually more helpful than I thought they’d be.

How Worry Works…

Worry is generally regarded as a form of problem solving about potentially negative future events. Normally worry is short-lived and leads to positive problem solving behavior. Worry becomes less help when it’s about a number of things, is very frequent and difficult to control or dismiss. Prolonged or frequent worry generates more anxiety and more worry, which may actually prevent positive thinking and action.

“What if” statements are often at the core of my worry as are thoughts about what others may think of me, and from there my mind wanders and creates possible situations out of nothingness.  Worry often feels like a dreaded loop or never ending circuit leaving me feeling trapped and panicked, but some worry can be good and some quite terrible and almost tormenting. New goal… worry less! Although “people with generalised anxiety disorder may worry about the fact they worrying.

The keys symptoms of generalised anxiety almost seem vague but then again seem all too familiar to me. I always know when I’m “off track” as these “symptoms” become amplified.

  • Any worry or anxiety experienced un the past six months has been excessive, uncontrollable, present most days and interferes with the ability to focus on tasks

At least three of the following symptoms also need to be present for the past 6-months or longer

  • Feeling Restless – on edge, unable to relax and switch off.
  • Physical Tension.
  • Sleep Disturbance – trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or broken / unsettled sleep.
  • Problems concentrating and paying attention to specific task.
  • Feeling Irritable and grouchy.
  • Feeling Tired, exhausted and worn out.

So we’re on track I guess in terms of identifying the issues, but what about the solutions and fixes. That’s why I’m doing this, this black dog isn’t about to go away so I need to learn how to deal with it and work my way through to the other side.

The focus of my therapy sessions is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which includes relaxation to reduce tension, techniques for handling unnecessary worry, learning to challenge and let go of worry as well as coping and problem solving strategies and learning to be more focused on the present, which I’m really excited and curious to learn more about. As well as CBT I will also learn more about Mindfulness and meditation to reduce worry and present moment focus.

I’ll keep you posted.