Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Day 1

Well, what can I say? Today has been a tough day.  Got to my appointment about half an hour early so had to sit in a waiting room thinking for half an hour longer than would ever do me any good.  But, if I’d left home any later I know I would have been anxious about being late, not finding a parking space, getting lost, blah, blah, blah!  Damned if I do….

Anyway, bearing in mind I thought I’d reached this kind of emotionless nothing kind of stage, imagine my surprise when I’m bawling my eyes out to a complete stranger within minutes of starting a conversation.  Clearly not as numb as I thought, but then you should be prepared for that.  It is a mixture of stress and relief to know you have finally brought yourself to a place where you can bear your soul to someone who might actually be able to help you.

How do I feel now?  Hard to say really, and it would be unfair of me to paint too much of a picture right now when it is early days.  The jury is out for the time being.  What I will say is that the counsellor gave me some real food for thought.  For example, after talking a while about my obsession that something is going to go wrong with me or the baby, she asked me why I was so convinced something was going to go wrong…

Me “Well, it would be just my luck wouldn’t it”

Her “Why? Are you generally an unlucky person then?”

Damn it!! She had me.  I can’t really think of anything that would suggest I am an unlucky person, except that I haven’t won the lottery yet… Now, that doesn’t mean that suddenly I can’t be allowed to feel the way I feel because I have a good job and a nice house and two beautiful healthy kids (remember what I said about Robin Williams?)  What it does mean is that whilst my thoughts and feelings may feel very real to me and are having a real effect on my life right now, it doesn’t make them logical or right.  The CBT is designed to help me work that out.

I’ll share one more thing with you (not because I am holding back, but because I can’t possibly cover 90 minutes of convo in this blog, and in fairness a lot of it is a blur).  It is something she said about my fear that I am not connecting with this baby because I don’t feel anything; I don’t feel pregnant.  After talking a while about my last 2 pregnancies she drew a very clear distinction between pregnancy 1 and 2, and this one.  Both pregnancies were different, but both were a bit of a rollercoaster, physically and emotionally.  This one (apart from the fact that it is happening at all!) is passing by with very little drama.  I’ve not felt ill, the scans have been normal, screening results good, etc.  Ok, so I haven’t felt any movement yet but there’s no guarantee I would at 18 weeks, and the scans and the midwife have confirmed it is in there and its heart is beating.  She made me think about something.  Instead of feeling nervous that the lack of movement means something is wrong, that I’m not connecting to the pregnancy because of some underlying force, I should think about the fact that I may just not be feeling much at the minute because this pregnancy is moving along nice and calmly and apart from the growing belly and ridiculous breasts (sorry) I really wouldn’t know I was pregnant.  I should be thinking myself lucky…

Realising that I may just be focussing on the negatives (my GP calls it automatic negative thoughts – ANT) is one small step to getting better.  But I’ve got a hell of a long way to go before I can start turning those thoughts around.  Hopefully the therapy will also help me to understand why I have a tendency to think the worst, and to think that I somehow deserve for the worst to happen.

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