The End of Week 12
Part 1: Where I’m At
This entry was really hard to write. Not hard in emotions but rather having problems with language. The whole week was rough. I had physical pain. I had mental pain. Not sure which manifested which. One scooped into the other and vice versa.
Nonetheless, yes, you guessed it. The end of week twelve. The last week of my CBT therapy has ended.
So, where did I end?
I’ll try to keep this as clear and concise as possible. My thoughts are a little tangled.
The truth, this guided 12-week therapy has helped me in reducing my anxiety, prompted me to start writing again, and helped me establish and organize some sort of schedule. Better than leaving things to chance and randomness.
It took all twelve weeks to keep at writing. At times I had to force myself because it wasn’t coming easy. But I realized, the most honest I was and less robotic, the easiest it was to leave the ink on the paper and express the reality.
Don’t get me wrong, I still spin out in my head. My thoughts still get messy but I am managing to sort them out and to remain calm. My first emotion when my mind would get overwhelmed was to get angry, which didn’t help with the flood of voices. Now, I can manage to remain calm and clear my head even if it’s just by a little.
Anger and frustration were my dominating emotions, which of course furthered the chaos. It’s the wood that feeds the fire and I am the blistering flame. I can’t remember the last time I felt irritated and angry, which I guess is a good thing. I would say the first three weeks into the therapy I was still feeling it. Then it slowly started to fade. I wouldn’t say anger and frustration are completely gone but they have direction. And this is hate, anger, and frustration directed at self not towards anyone.
I have to say that the CBT program has helped.
Star of approval.
Part 2: Self-Reflections
Why am I talking about self-reflection in this final week? Because as much as CBT is action-based it’s also composed of self-study. What ticks me off? How do I handle it? And so on.
What is self-reflection? It’s a habit of deliberately paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, decisions, and behaviours. To periodically reflect on any event and evaluate how we handled it in hopes that we learn something from it and make better decisions in the future.
Yes, there is a difference between obsessing about what you have done or said and beating yourself down for it versus constructively reflecting for learning. Believe me, I have done the former, overthinking as to what I have said, what have I done to a point of driving myself crazy. It’s dwelling on how BAD I felt and thought about all the things I had NO CONTROL over. That’s not healthy and not very constructive. Healthy self-reflection is about learning something about myself and gaining a new perspective about a situation. Learning to move on. Learning to deal. Learning to be as is. For me, reflection also helped me with self-acceptance. Realizing what’s in my control and what isn’t. The hardest part was accepting what I cannot control, letting it live without me trying to do anything about it because I have no magic capable of changing it.
Also, self-reflection helped me to see myself to some degree as a decent being. Being as in a state of existence and as the animate and physical form.
So, yes, practicing self-reflection is a requirement.
More notes on self-reflection:
Part 3: End of Therapy. Now What?
My back hurts. I have doubts. Progress is continuous. I still turn light to darkness.
That’s the thing, how do I keep up with the program without the program? I’m not a planner, or at least not a long-haul planner, and I’m worst at keeping to a schedule. But, I have to because there is no alternative.
It is daunting to continue on my own without a safety blanket, without a guide, without the routine. Change is shitty but inevitable.
After all, CBT is a lifelong change. It never ends. So I need to keep at applying the tools, the lessons. The whole program and the notes, all printed and nicely bound. A reminder to do better. To be better. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Work. Rework, until it becomes second nature.
The reality is advice is hard to practice. Lessons are hard to endure. Living a stress-free, anxiety-free life takes work. I will disappoint people. I will offend them. I might even emotionally drain them, not intentionally of course. I will disappoint myself. I will feel hopeless and worthless. But pain is part of life. Coping is the lesson, is the practice. Identifying what I can control and can’t is a continuous lesson and I will try not to get angry with myself or hurt myself.
So, I leave you with this, the famous serenity prayer. Or as I like to call it a secular affirmation, applicable to almost everything in life and motto in most healing institutions.
“I seek the serenity to accept what I cannot change; the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Now, let’s shake hands and say, “We’ll keep in touch,” as I ask, “Would you be my support network?” And then I’ll apologize, “I’m sorry that’s too much for me to ask.” Of course, I always apologize and walk away bashful and embarrassed.
‘Till next week.