Firstly, I’d like to explain my current situation, and say how I am openly talking about my self help, and I am in no means giving professional advice, and am just sharing what I am doing to look after my mental health during this isolation period. My State is in lock down and you can only leave for essentials. I have everything I need, and have been isolating in my apartment with my partner for a few weeks now. I am spending everyday inside as I do not have a back yard or balcony. (Therefore adapt any help you read to your situation. (Sunshine is amazing for the brain!). Ending this intro by saying I have been a patient myself in many forms of therapy and am using aspects from these to implement my self help as well as the help of books!
My mental health is currently in a really good place, which is still an odd feeling as I have been unwell for so many years. I have been my best for many months now, having maintained my good mental health on my own. I have reached a place where I not only can maintain my daily thoughts, but am finally ready to work through my issues. Therefore, I have decided to start self help as it’s nearly impossible to start therapy during this pandemic.
The main course I am following is the book ‘Mind over Mood’ by 2 Phd doctors. Having a physical copy is great as it comes with worksheets to fill in, and activities to help with understanding. The book follows the practise of CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy. I have experienced CBT in a professional environment with a qualified counsellor before. But I was too unwell to engage, and therefore did not get very far, but I have some understanding of the techniques. As the book follows CBT, it is suggested to not complete the book in one sitting, and only do a chapter or so a week. It takes time to change your thought patterns!
I having been doing around 2 chapters of this book a week, only on days where I feel I can engage. A single chapter covers a single aspect of CBT, and builds up as the weeks go on. It’s not overwhelming and is easy to understand the concepts as they provide activities to complete which simplifies the ideas. I studied Psychology in College, combined with my own experience of professional help, I feel this book is easy to follow whilst still working on complex therapy.
I am currently on week 4, and am writing thought journals. This is especially helpful with my own issues as I struggle with intrusive thoughts. (oh how I wish I could tell my past self to engage with therapy as I know believe it could have really helped me…). This activity involves a table with 7 columns to fill in for each negative thought. Including ‘evidence to support and not support the thought’ etc. Shall I put photos or a worksheet into these posts in case anyone wants to try them for themselves?
I’m not sure where I want these posts to go. Do I do updates and include what aspects of CBT I did that week, with photos and personal thoughts to show realistic work? Do I not mention my self help until I have worked my way through the course of CBT and just write about my experience at the end? Or should I do advice posts instead of my mumbled written experience? ~suggestions welcome~ I just felt like writing today, and may delete this messy post. Anyway, I am well and hope you are too.