More "About Me"
Hello! It’s me, Linsey, the author of this blog. I’ve decided to extent the “About Me” section. Today I would like to talk about what really brought me to create this blog. So let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had mental health issues. Not enough to really interrupt my life...usually. Granted I’ve had depression and anxiety here and there, but I try to be more than an “Illness”. This was not always quite successfully, I’ll admit. With some regularity for the past few years, I’ve started get more, and more severe, panic attacks (as well as seeing and hearing things).
Recently though, I’ve had a problem with my anxiety and anger t-boning my life. It’s been bad enough for me to be stuck at the Behavioral Health Unit. Twice. The first time helped a tad, but not enough to go the distance. However this last time seems to have had more of a positive influence on me. I believe the fact that, right before I went to the hospital the second time, I had started using mindfulness and meditation techniques, I had a head start. I already had these techniques, so I suppose that kind of helped me absorb more information.
The first day at the hospital is always the worst. You don’t know any of the people there, not the nurses, doctors, or the patients. Then there's all the little meetings, talking to the doctor, doing paperwork, blah blah blah. Tedious and no fun at all. But after a couple group sessions, you kind of get used to things a bit more.
One of the things that really helped me was journaling. (They gave me a composition book to write. And encourage everyone to do so.) I was killing it with my journal! I wrote everything down. Pretty much every day I was writing down three to six pages worth. In the past I’ve tried to journal, but usually that didn’t last long. And now, even a couple weeks free from the hospital, I write everyday. Which makes sense, if I really want to become a serious author. I may not be a great writer, but damn do I love it or what!!
Another thing that we did, during my stay, was something they called a “Community Meeting”. We had these twice a day. The beginning of the day and the end. They were short little meetings, basically talking about our day. There was even a little chart in the room we could follow. First was your “Mood”. On the scale of one to ten, how are you feeling. Then you give your “Feeling Word”. Then we had our goals. Our “Treatment Goals” (your overall treatment), and your “Daily Goal (what you want to accomplish today). I’ll give an example: Mood today is about a 5, Feeling word: Content, Treatment Goal: Anger/Stress management, and Daily Goal: Work on my blog. Not too hard right? I enjoyed the feel of a simple way of laying out a plan, and see how my feelings change over the day.I took this tool home with me, and I still do this everyday.
The next thing we worked on, that I brought home with me, is recognizing and logging any “Cognitive Distortions”. Cognitive distortions are irrational thoughts and beliefs that we have reinforced over time. The distortions they taught us are:
-All or Nothing Thinking( Black and White): “I should have aced this test, but only got a B, I’m such a failure.”
-Overgeneralizing(Exaggerating): “I never do anything right, I’m always screwing up my life.”
-Mental Filtering: “I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hair cut short, I look like a freak, people are laughing at me.”
-Discounting: “Anyone could have done that, it’s nothing special” or “ What does this person want from me?”
-Jumping to Conclusions:
-Mind reading: “I know you said you couldn’t go out tonight because you’re sick, but I know it’s really because you don’t want to spend time with me.”
-Fortune-Telling: “I know this medicine isn’t going to make me better. I am going to continue to be depressed.”
-Magnification (Catastrophizing) and Minimization: “My life is over, I’ll never get a job. I’m not going to have any money to ever do anything, and I’ll never be happy.” or “I know I should go to the doctor, but maybe it will just get better on it’s one.”
-Emotional Reasoning: I feel like you don’t love me anymore, so you really must not.”
Should/Must Statements: “I shouldn’t have laughed so much. I have to be more relaxed or she’ll think I’m a jerk.”
-Labeling: “I’m a jerk” “I’m fat” “I’m ugly” “I’m a loser”
-Personalization and Blame: “Why do you make me say those things about you?”
When you notice one of these distortions happening, write it down! Write the date, the event, your automatic feelings, the cognitive distortion(s) , Rational Thoughts, and the outcome(whenever it arrives).
I brought all these techniques home, and have been doing my best keeping up with everything. So I figured, while I go through my journey of finding myself and learning about my anger and stress, I might as well write it down. Then I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t we do this and do some writing on the subject as well”. And that’s when I decided to create a blog. To help myself and help others at the same time. Now here we are!!
Thank you for reading about my story. I hope this website helps you out, as much as it’s helped me.
Until next time, Namaste.