A few nights ago I decided to forget my fear of being overheard while listening to the Living Life to the Full computer modules, and watched/listened/read the 6th module in the Little Book cCBT course entitled, ‘The Things you Do that Mess You Up’. In the end, no one questioned me on what I was doing at my laptop, and I could concentrate on the module in peace.

When I saw the name of the module I laughed a bit as it was just what I had been thinking about: I seem to be pretty stable at the moment, even, dare I say, enjoying some things, like sailing a few weeks ago, and working on little bits and pieces that don’t require brain work and can be finished in an hour or so. But as soon as I try to tackle something longer or try to fix up my uni work again, I realise I’ve just been dancing round the edges of the things I really need to do, and then I feel like I mess up.

So back to the module. It begins by listing a load of things that might ‘mess you up’, and tells you not to ‘kid yourself’ when thinking about them. Some where fairly stereotypical, like comfort eating, drinking alcohol and overspending. Thankfully these aren’t too much of a problem for me. (I’m probably the most miserly girl I know. That gets me down more than anything, that I can’t even go windowshopping to brighten my mood. I couldn’t think of a worse pastime actually!)

It also had some less obvious messing up things. I felt these applied to me more. Like ‘setting yourself up to fail’ – I don’t know how many times I’ve teetered between being over optimistic and defeatist. Still haven’t found the realist’s middle ground with my planning. Another one was ‘hitting out at people’ – while I’m not a violent sort of person, I sometimes snap at people unintentionally and then feel awful afterwards. It finished up with a few more simple ones that I could also identify with. Including ‘hiding away’ (check. Been home 2 weeks and still haven’t met up with non-family yet. And this is me supposedly ‘stable’!) and ‘putting things off’ (check again, that’s the blunt way of saying I’ve only been ‘dancing round the edges’).

Other things included: taking risks, self-harm, being clingy, bullying, shop-lifting, being impulsive about important things, tv/internet addict, doing too much, wanting others to sort out your problems, caffeine, oversleeping, overworrying.

After identifying the particular things that mess me up (setting up for failure, hitting out, hiding away & putting things off, are all current things for me. I recognised myself in a few others, but happily I think I’ve worked those out), the module asks you to pick on or two to tackle using the *naff alert* E4SP (Easy 4-Step Plan – had been introduced in the previous module, ‘How to Fix Almost Everything):

  1. break it into chunks
  2. brainstorm the first piece
  3. plan to do it
  4. put plan into action.

So, I figured the ‘hiding away’ would be a good one, and easy, to tackle, especially as I’m running out of time to actually come out of hiding before I have to go back to the UK to job hunt!

Emailed friend (preferable to phoning) to try to meet up for Friday Happy Hour (a specific limited time with chance to bump into other friends).

The emailing worked ok, but then it turned out my friend is away on holiday this week. We’ve arranged to go out next week.

In fact I’m happy to report that was all quite harmless, and I’m looking forward to Friday.

Now to tackle the things with realism that are properly making me upset at the moment…

The module also gives some ideas to help not become messed up. A lot of them are things Celine was also trying to get me to work on. It’s reassuring that the same things she talked about are also mentioned here, though that shouldn’t be too surprising.

  • Eating regularly and healthily (check)
  • Giving yourself time to sleep (check)
  • Keeping up with routine things (mostly)
  • Doing things with other people (starting to)
  • Doing things that give you a boost (trying)
  • Sharing problems with trusted friends & family (not working out too well with family so far…don’t want to scare off friends either…)
  • Find out more about how you feel (writing this blog is helping)
  • Letting upsetting thoughts just be (good in theory…)
  • Facing your fears (starting)
  • Doing exercise (good til I’m exhausted = more easily upset)
  • Using your sense of humour (good for easy things)
  • Medication (check)
  • Relaxation (good in theory. I can relax when I’m already relaxed, harder when I’m not!)
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