Back in May, I wrote Rainbows and Other Bullshit. I was feeling very low when I wrote this, as things I was having to deal with felt hopeless. I was doubting myself as a Mum, wife, and friend. I hadn’t fallen into a negative spiral, thanks to my new thinking techniques, but I still felt pretty crap.
I was faced with finding a new house, money to be able to move into the new house, friendship breakdowns, work stress, and the thought that my kids would hate me. In my post Forth Appointment – First CBT Session, we looked at the different thinking styles that can lead to anxiety/overthinking. As my counsellor read through them all and explained them, it was crazy to hear how many I identified with. Jumping to Conclusions & Magnification is probably the most prominent ones for me. I’m always assuming I know what is going to happen, or what people are thinking, and I always blow things out of proportion and catastrophise things. What makes the jumping to conclusions worse, is when that is all you’re left with doing. You know? When you ask someone a simple question, and either the answer is vague, or just not given at all. It leaves me to overthink and then my brain will just come up with its own answers. Sometimes this can work out in a positive way, and other times it will have a negative impact on me and really get me down.
I am very pleased to say we have now moved to a new house, it has gone very well in the grand scheme of things and we’re happier with the new house now our stuff is in and we’ve put our wee stamp on the place. Work has been a lot less stressful since I’ve started to leave at the end of my shift and knowing what my limitations are. Two very simple steps I’ve taken, and it’s almost halved my stress at work. My kids don’t hate me, as they’re loving the new house.
Friendships? Well this is a weird one. As I have said before, I’m not very good at making friends, but, when I do, I generally get me some gooduns! All of my close friends are similar to me, in the respect they’re all straight talkers. I don’t like people who do subtle, or leave any form of ambiguity about things. I’ve never understood people who beat around the bush, when you can just stomp through it and get to the point. Always say what you mean! I surround myself with brutally honest, and genuine people. Their honesty gives me comfort that I’ll always know where I stand. Due to life commitments, we don’t always get to see each other, but we chat often and we know that we have each other should we need each other. I’ve had the same friends for years, and I find it difficult to make new ones, purely for the fact I don’t let people in. I always assume that people will find my level of cray cray too much, and I’ll be judged or they’ll leave, so I keep people at arms length. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of pals, people who I’m chatty with, who I like/respect, but it takes a lot for me to let people in. I am explaining this, so that you can understand why the next part had affected me as badly as it did.
As you will know (if you have read my earlier posts), I have recently had a best friend just cut me off. Ever since they got a girlfriend I was phased out. It all started last year around their birthday. I was told they weren’t allowed to organise their own birthday, that their girlfriend was taking care of it all. Now, I had been out with this person just about every year for their birthday, but on this one I was told to await my invitation. Did I get one? Nope. From this time on, it was just small things. Their not being allowed to play online games anymore because they would ‘get their balls cut off’. Not being able to answer their phone (texts/calls) when their girlfriend was there because it was seen as rude. Yes, this is all as mental as it sounds. Relationship or dictatorship? Who the feck knows! Anyways, this went on and on, until my friend has moved to a new city and got a new job. This has all happened in the space of a year, and yes, I’ve been dropped like a hot coal. Now I’ve had people tell me it’s all down to his girlfriend, that she must be a bit of a bunny boiler and doesn’t like the fact he has a female friend. I don’t buy this at all. I met her, and she was nothing short of lovely. Unless, she’s a good actress? Something that I find more believable, is that this ex-friend is just a liar, and for whatever reason they want to give the perception that they’re under the thumb. Now, as you can imagine, I’ve overthought the shit out of this whole situation. Could he really be under the thumb? Is this girlfriend dictating to him how he must live his life? Was my disagreeing with him about how fast it was all going, and that the changes he was making were a bit OTT the reason I was phased out? Meh, most likely. Friends should be allowed to not agree with you explicitly. Fuck only knows this friend didn’t agree with me on much, but I didn’t phase them out. I have let this whole situation really get under my skin, it has left me to overly scrutinise our conversations over the last year to try and find anything that I may have done to warrant this. I spoke about it all in one my counselling sessions, because I felt I was jumping to conclusions and magnifying things, and it was suggested that I reach out to them and just ask. Surely, if they were a close friend, they would be able to tell me what I’ve done wrong?
It took me a few weeks to muster up the cajones to send them an email asking and guess what my answer was? Nothing! I have received absolutely nothing back. Not even worth a reason. Even if my reason was “I just think you’re an absolute c*nt” I could have lived with that. It’s a reason at least. The lack of response speaks volumes though, and in a strange way has given me closure. I sent that email about a week ago, and after a day of checking for a response I just stopped. I have stopped over thinking about it and until I started writing this blog, they haven’t even been a thought. This is a huge deal for me. This shows that I’m learning to let things go. I’m confident that if this was a few months ago, I would have obsessed about that email. I would have been hitting F5 like a mad woman and would have been up at nights wondering if sending the email was the right thing to do. I know exactly how my train of thought would have gone. It probably would have started to send me into a negative spiral due to the feeling of being embarrassed at putting myself out there and being rejected. I have managed to completely thwart that negative way of thinking, by applying my new way of thinking! Don’t get me wrong, it still doesn’t feel nice and I would even dare to say I’m a bit angry, but I’m definitely not sad and more to the point, I’m not overthinking the situation anymore.
Since starting my CBT, I have been making such good progress. I’m amazed at all the little changes I’m making that are having a huge impact on how I’m feeling. A lot of what I’m told in my counselling just seems so simple/obvious, that I doubt it will work. Yet I try it, and it really does help. I really have noticed a difference in my overall mood, and I can honestly say that I’ve been feeling genuinely happy of late. The fact my stress levels have dropped has been amazing. My shoulders no longer sit up at my ears, and my tolerance of people/situations has increased. Ok, it’s not increased by much, but I definitely notice I’m not erupting as much as I would have. Then there is my ability to let things go? Just wow! For as long as I can remember I have been unable to do that. I have so many things/people/situations that I have held onto, that I can now just let go of.
Someone once said to me “I don’t regret anything I’ve done in my life”. I call bullshit on that. We all regret something, if not a lot of things. The difference is, there are those that can recognise their regrets and shrug them off, then people like me who dwell and obsess. I still dwell on things from 20 years ago. Sometimes I think about situations and conversations and I will play them over in my mind, and then I’ll try and dream up how different things could have been. A bit like Griffin in Men in Black 3, whereby he can see all possible outcomes! That’s what my brain can be like when I start to dwell on the past. I need to just let it all go. No amount of dwelling, overthinking, wishing, wanting, regretting etc. will change that it’s happened. So yes, I still have regrets, and I’ll not lose them, but will I dwell/obsess about them? I like to think not.
Positives? Well I’m making really good progress, I’m feeling genuinely happier and I’ve got a more positive outlook on life. I usually find that when I think more positively, I really need to try. I must sit and think about my situation/life and pick out the good bits. I’m not doing that just now. I just see my life for what it is, and it’s looking good. It’s not perfect, I’m far from perfect, my kids? Well, lets just leave a question mark there, because they’re trying my patience like nothing before, but I still love them very much – lucky for them really!
If you find that you’re like me and you obsess and dwell on things, please look at my Fourth appointment blog I mentioned above, and then my Fifth Appointment – Catch up on Homework. Seriously try this way of thinking, and see if it can help you, the way it’s helping me. There are also some good relaxation techniques in Sixth Appointment – CBT Recognising Thoughts. These all seem too easy to be true but stick with them!