The second to last section on the worksheet I’ve been working on:
‘WHAT HELPS ME COPE’
Helpful                                    Unhelpful
Helpful:
I’ve begun by just copying over the list I have under the ‘Weapons’ tab. I’ve been trying to build up my arsenal to attack my problems from various angles, including medication, various talking therapies and generally trying to take care of myself and put fun leisure in wherever I can.
  • Mirtazapine: 30mg/day (around bed time. Zonks me for about three hours)
  • Diazepam: 2mg PRN (works out to be about 1-2x2mg once or twice a week, more around deadlines)
  • Talking Therapy: 1hr/week (more or less) with Celine, an NHS CBT therapist who comes to my university
  • University Advisor: a meeting with Enise every now and again (every few months)
  • Making a conscious effort to get 7 or 8 hours sleep/night, eating 3 proper meals a day
  • Making a conscious decision to “put fun in wherever I can”, especially when I feel anxiety rising
Also:
  • Art – lots of sketching, especially botanical illustration. I think that helps slow me down and I can focus on fine detail which actually produces something. Helps especially when I’m getting really frustrated. (most recently a series of ‘Zentangles‘)
  • Walking, photograph – though these things only help before I’m wound up!
  • Generally trying to persevere, not give up and get through problems, reminding myself that if I can get through a particular bump, I will come out the other side (although this can lead to exhaustion and can be Unhelpful too…)

Some less helpful things:

  • NOT yoga (tried. failed. miserably)
  • Staying up too late and missing meals trying to push myself too hard to get work done = physical exhaustion.
  • Pushing myself to get things done when I’d rather be doing fun things = resentment.
  • Getting distracted with fun things and not getting the goal achieved = guilt.
The final section is:
‘WHAT MAINTAINS THE PROBLEM NOW’
Thoughts
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Physical  – + – Emotions
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Behaviours
I’ve done this ‘hot cross bun’ thing before in my sessions with Celine. It’s become fairly clear as I’ve been listing my ‘rules I live by’ and ‘what helps me cope’ is that everything is a vicious circle. Now that I’m in it, the more I push myself to get through a problem, the more I feel its a problem that I have to push myself. With the physical (exhaustion) and mental problems (guilt, resentment) as well as cloudy thinking, lack of focus and general frustration that come with it.
Therefore, my maintenance pattern boils down to:
“I’m not good enough”
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                Exhaustion – + – Frustration, worry
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Push myself, be upset
I think I knew all this already. Which is why I’ve become so irritated with myself because I can see how silly it is, but it’s still happening. I have been trying to build my resilience so that I can make the effort to either challenge the initial thought, or if that is too difficult or too believable, then at least I will have the energy to not be such a slave to my emotions and stop myself from doing the behaviours that result in a bad physical state with low resilience.
Here are links to my entries for the rest of the worksheet: Intro | Early Things | Core Beliefs | Rules | Current Problem & Triggers |
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