Be Happy Now



Don't wait for things to get better. Be happy now.

Sound advice, as I keep thinking next year will be easier, next year this will have happened.


Unhelpful Thinking Habits


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I felt really anxious about this week, which I think was just worry leftover from fish bowl the previous week. Would I get any comments or reflections about it. Of course not.

We were talking about CBT and I was thinking, as people expressed their considerable scepticism of it for anything other than superficial issues, of the group CBT I had done few years ago that followed Melanie Fennell’s workbooks. I’ve got them out to have another read through and might work through them again. People made great changes in that group and it was impressive.

CBT led to talk of unhelpful thinking habits. Could we check them off for ourselves: Continue reading

Lessons I Learned as a Child


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  • I must obey.
  • I must fit in.
  • I must keep quiet and conform
  • I mustn’t rock the boat.
  • I will always lose.
  • I will always be misunderstood.
  • I will always be judged.
  • I will always be found wanting.
  • I will never be good enough.
  • I will never be capable.
  • I will never be of value.
  • Disagreeing is not allowed.
  • Arguing is not allowed.
  • Emotions are not helpful.
  • I will never amount to anything.

Continue reading

Anxiety – Is It New?


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I took my autism self-referral to the doctor and we had a brief discussion. I didn’t pass the test threshold without which she wouldn’t refer me but I did pass the assessment for mild depression and high anxiety. So she put me on Citalopram for anxiety, which I’ve previously taken for depression.

Subsequent to this I heard that my self-referral had been triaged and despite not passing the threshold my narrative was sufficient that they would assess me early next year.

Performing in the fish bowl on my course triggered lots of anxiety and self-doubt and it’s been difficult to let go of it. I’ve therefore been pondering my mental health and whether it is going uphill or downhill. And why. Continue reading

First Fish Bowl


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cat staring at fish bowl
There is other stuff I should go into, but I am still reeling from volunteering for the first “fishbowl” exercise where you are listening to a fellow peer speak for ten minutes while in a circle surrounded by everyone else so the whole group and tutor acts as observer. I then get verbal feedback from everyone before collecting all the written feedback which it takes me several hours to pluck up the courage to read through, and even then it’s only a skim.

How was it for me was the question that started off the post mortem. Really nerve-wracking was my response. I was aware at all times of pens being picked up and comments recorded and I felt very judged. When I said this K responded that from an observer’s view it didn’t feel that way. I’m quite good at feeling judged at the drop of a hat so maybe it is just me. Either way I have to learn to deal with it as there will be multiple opportunities like this over the next couple of years.

I said I didn’t feel relaxed and didn’t feel that I had responded as I would have done had we been doing this in a triad. There had been a couple of silences during the session that were positive but there was at least one because I didn’t know what to say. I changed direction once, which was inappropriate to do but again I’d ground to a halt.
Continue reading

The Heartache of Childhood


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I almost cried in therapy. Several tears rolled down my cheek but I couldn’t quite bring myself to let go.

I was trying to explain how I felt as I returned to London and why. It is difficult to put my finger on it and the more I try the closer are the tears.

The need to belong is a recurring theme.

We divided our family up into which characteristics belonged to which parent so parts of us clearly came from our mother or our father. I was confused about why none of 1sis belonged to our father and it was in a sense a relief to find that she wasn’t his as at least there was a reason. Part of that belonging was geographical and cultural. My mother belongs to the south and my father to the north; soft southerners and hardy northerners. Cultural stereotypes that did divide us. Continue reading

Some Post Freudian Psychodynamics


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Erik's stages of developmentWriting this several days later and after a busy weekend I’m finding it difficult to recollect and get started.

We looked at Erikson’s stages of development as a progression from Freud focusing on the social development. A social crisis belongs to each stage which needs to be resolved. We had a long conversation about the validity of the stages, much of which depends on how long a description you read of them. The summary table we were looking at was not right. He also coined the idea of identity crisis.

Reflection on how they apply to me:
During infancy and toddlerhood I was probably lucky to have my mother much to myself with my older siblings needing less immediate care. I felt safe and well loved. That would have started to change in early childhood when I started to feel guilty at not wanting to participate on family walks, to dress appropriately and to fit in. ¬†Late childhood and second primary school I definitely felt inferior. Adolescence was certainly about struggling for a sense of identity (and developing quite strong principles that I kept in my head) and feeling inferior and left out. My young adulthood saw me unsuccessfully marry after several bad relationships and I ended up feeling quite isolated which carried on through my thirties. My middle ages then began once I became single again and although I was productive and found sense in bringing up my own children I didn’t feel meaningful in my own right. I haven’t arrived at the last stage but would hope I’ve resolved many of my issues and can see the positive side of my life rather than despair.
Continue reading

Event of a Lifetime


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I did something this weekend I have wanted to do since I was eleven and yet rather than come home and feel elated, I have returned feeling I don’t belong anywhere and that is miserable.

I took the Eurostar to Lille for a gig. Yes that’s right, I went to France for a gig. I went to see one of France’s much loved singers who is doing a retirement tour as, at the age of 70, his voice is not quite what it was so he’s quitting while he’s ahead, which considering he’s been going since the 60s is a sad time. So I am seeing him for the first and probably the last time.

I never got to see him while living abroad as my parents wouldn’t have allowed it and I couldn’t have done it on my own. Naturally I didn’t have any friends I could have gone with. Going from England would have been a logistical nightmare and I couldn’t have afforded it anyway. This only came up by chance on my radar, I was idly glancing through the dates and noticed Lille was at the weekend rather than midweek, was sure it would be sold out and there just happened to be a few seats left. It was a Fuck It moment. Continue reading