Moments of Doubt

Week 7 of the Pessimist to Semi-Optimist Project

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy (psychotherapy).  During every session you talk about situations you’ve encountered during the week, the thoughts, how you felt and outcomes. You have to be honest and lay down all of your cards on the table, good and bad.

Basically CBT works like this:

cbt.PNG

Image source: Stress Free Teacher

You have a thought, which influences your emotions, physical self and behavior. By becoming aware of negative thoughts, you can assess and reshape your thoughts into new ones to influence your self, behavior and emotions. This CBT concept is what I am trying to use to address negative thoughts in this PTO project.

Even after weeks of sessions I’ve had with my therapist, I’m still having issues with my father’s death. I’ve become very good at catching a negative thought to stop myself from thinking about it for hours on end (eg. his death was my fault). As well, I’ve started eating again, am back to work and not sobbing my eyes out daily; but still having issues with completely wiping the negative thoughts out.

My therapist tells me that you can never wipe out your thoughts, but CBT will help you live with them by making them influence you less. I guess the other alternative is that when I get older I’ll probably get dementia and not remember anything…

Doubt that CBT works invades my mind constantly, especially when I’m feeling so much guilt and have an inferiority complex. How can I not, since I was raised to carry lots of weight (first born, expectations for success) and am constantly told that I am never good enough (supposed to keep me humble)? CBT is a lot of work because you need to have confidence in yourself that you are doing the right thing and a lot of energy goes into reshaping negative thoughts to better/less harmful ones.

Lately I’ve been very tired since my baby isn’t sleeping properly, which means I don’t sleep. Instead of a brain-xercise this week, I’m going to share a poem which a friend dictated to me. She’s an AA member and this is read before every meeting. It gives me some strength for the days I feel exhausted from living.

Yesterday Today and Tomorrow

There are two days in every week
about which we should not worry,
Two days which should be kept free of fear and apprehension.

One of these days is YESTERDAY,
With its mistakes and cares,
Its faults and blunders,
Its aches and pains.
YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY.
We cannot undo a single act we performed;
We cannot erase a single word we said.
YESTERDAY is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW
With its possible adversities, its burdens, its larger promise.
TOMORROW is also beyond our immediate control.

TOMORROW, the sun will rise,
Either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds,
But it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in TOMORROW
For it is as yet unborn.

This leaves only one day – TODAY.
Any man can fight the battles of just one day.
It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities
– YESTERDAY and TOMORROW –
That we break down.

It is not the experience of TODAY that drives men mad.
It is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY
And the dread of what TOMORROW may bring.

Let us, therefore, live but ONE day at a time.

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