What Has CBT Taught Me?

Eight months ago I was referred for and started CBT. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I didn’t know what to expect and I actually planned to blog my way through it, thinking that maybe my journey might help someone else in the same situation. I wasn’t ready though for the intensity of this one. I wasn’t prepared at all, and I can only apologise for the blanks over here. It’s been hard. Really hard. So what has CBT taught me?

I am resilient. I’ve had to be. I cannot crumble. I cannot allow my mind to tear apart or my body to crumple to the ground. I do not belong there. I am strong. I can have my bad days, my want to stay under the cover days. I can have my anxious days, my sweating palms on the steering wheel days. I can have my fat days, stupid days, useless days. I can have them, as long as I pick myself up again afterwards. And I always do.

What Has CBT Taught Me?-Ghostwritermummy.co.ukI am stronger than I realised. Through talking, and working my way through my responses to situations I’ve been shown all the ways in which I’m strong. My strength has come in many disguises and is shown in many forms, but it is strength none the less. And not just in the years since my son was born, but in times before then too. Situations and experiences that have shaped me since childhood have been analysed, discussed and put to sleep. And I have seen how strong I am.

I am a good person. I’m not useless. I’m not stupid. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with me. I needed some help in learning how to change my responses to certain situations, and the methods I’ve been taught are still very much ‘works in progress’. But I’m not a bad person. I can see this, even on dark days. I am learning how to love myself. I am doing this by caring about me. Not above and beyond anyone else, but as well as. And that’s huge.

I have PTSD. And now that I know this, I am stronger in the face of my trauma. PTSD is a normal response to trauma, and I have experienced not one, but two points of trauma. See point two. I am stronger than I realised.

I am not afraid of labels. I used to think that being labelled with PND was so terrible because I was a person and people shouldn’t have labels. I hated it on my notes- I still do- and I didn’t want anyone telling me I was depressed. I never realised that was because it wasn’t true. I wasn’t depressed. I have never suffered from post natal depression. And I am not rejecting this because I think it’s shameful or because there is a reason to hide it from the world. I am rejecting this because it isn’t me, and for so long I just didn’t know what was wrong with me. Knowing, having the PTSD label, has been a comfort.

I suffer from anxiety. At the start of my first session, my anxiety levels were recorded as high. High enough to need to work on some stuff. At the start of my last session, my levels were low. Low enough for my counsellor to agree to a phased discharge, but I know enough now to realise that the decision to leave my referral open for further sessions if and when they’re needed is a good one. My anxiety peaks and wanes and it’s up to me to handle it. It’s also up to me to know when I need some help with that.

I can talk about my son’s birth without crying. This one is huge for me. For so long I have refused to speak about what happened ‘in real life’ because I knew that the words would get stuck, I would feel like an idiot, and I’d never get across just how horrific it all was. There were parts I could speak about and parts I never would. There were parts my brain had told me to forget and those parts, it seems, will never emerge now. But last year, I spoke about my son’s birth at three different conferences, to three different audiences. Not only that, but I unpicked it carefully with my counsellor during an extended session, whilst the trauma was live. And I was ok.

This is going to be a long journey. I am not ‘cured’. CBT has not been the magical solution I may have been looking for once upon a time. My trauma is now part of me and I am starting to accept that it won’t ever go away. I am instead learning how to live with it, and how to cope with the bad days a little better than I have previously. I am also learning to accept that it’s ok to have bad days too.

I’m going to be ok. I’m not done with it all, not yet. But I can- finally- see a chink of light at the end of this tunnel. I can see a future filled not with sunshine and rainbows, but with the means to get on and deal with stuff. I can see alternatives, decisions, crossroads. No dead ends, not any more. And I know I’m going to be ok.

37 Comments

  1. July 28, 2017 / 10:14 am

    It’s sounds like CBT has really helped you. I’m glad you can now see a light at the end of the tunnel- hopefully you will meet that light soon.
    Lynsey recently posted..Helping Your Child Over Come BedwettingMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Thank you, I hope so x

  2. July 28, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    I tried CBT last year, unfortunately my counsellor was terrible, no bedside manner. I left the sessions feeling worse about myself. So I’m so glad these sessions have worked so well for you and I hope your journey continues to be positive x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Oh no thats such a shame! I have a friend who didn’t get on well with her counsellor either and it really can make all the difference x

  3. July 28, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    I’ve heard that CBT can be really helpful and it seems it’s helping you. Hope things continue to help x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      Thank you x

  4. July 28, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    Well done for having the strength to start CBT. I too started it last year and I was looking for a magical solution to take it all away from me, but I soon realised that will never happen. It’s about learning ways to cope and accept. Did you have group or 121 sessions? I’m not having groups sessions and they are just not the same x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Mine were 1:1 sessions, I know that sometimes group sessions can help but I was never offered them x

  5. July 28, 2017 / 10:43 pm

    Sending much love to you. It sounds as though you have been through an incredible amount. What a grave post.

  6. July 29, 2017 / 2:39 pm

    So brave of you to share your struggles. I too suffer from PTSD from trauma so I admire how much courage it must have taken for you to write this post. Sending love your way x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Thank you, sending love back to you x

  7. July 29, 2017 / 5:52 pm

    This really is a brave post to write. Putting yourself out there will help others to cope as well. I’m really glad you are getting help and are feeling positive! x

  8. July 29, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    I’m really glad you are getting help and are able to start processing and getting stronger from your experiences. I’m sure this post will help a lot of people x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:47 pm

      Thank you, I really do feel stronger xx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:47 pm

      Thank you x

  9. July 29, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    It sounds like you have been through a lot but CBT sounds to be really working for you. I’m glad you are feeling more positice and your anxiety levels have reduced. I’m sure this post will help many others. X

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 30, 2017 / 8:48 pm

      Thank you, CBT has been fantastic for me x x

  10. July 30, 2017 / 8:56 am

    I’m so glad that you have realised some of these things. You are a strong, brave person for writing this. Sending lots of love and hugs your way.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 30, 2017 / 8:47 pm

      Thank you x x

  11. July 30, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    This is an incredibly brave post to write and you’re amazing for doing so! I’m really glad CBT has helped you in identifying all of this. You definitely are a strong person xx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 30, 2017 / 8:47 pm

      Thank you so much x

  12. July 30, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    Oh Susanne, I just cannot even begin to imagine what you have been through. I am so glad that CBT has helped and that you have found comfort in knowing why it is that you have had these feelings. Our bodies go through so much in child birth anyway, without any added complications. You are most definitely not useless so I am glad you see that now. Big hugs xx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:47 pm

      Ah thanks lovely xx

  13. July 31, 2017 / 12:06 am

    These sessions sound like they are pretty tough going but also very very positive and I know I suffered with PND with my first and really wish I had gone to something like this. Thanks so much for sharing

    Laura x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:47 pm

      They really were hard, but being on the other side of it now I can see how helpful CBT can be x

  14. July 31, 2017 / 12:11 am

    What a brave and honest post – you’ve explained so much about CBT, something I’m aware of but never truly understood until now… well done x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 31, 2017 / 8:46 pm

      Thank you. I was never really sure about it either x

  15. August 1, 2017 / 10:47 pm

    I think its great that you are sharing your story, not only is it brave but I am also sure it will help someone going through the same thing. I am glad that CBT is working for you and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it continues to give you what you need. xx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 7:34 am

      Thanks lovely xx

  16. August 5, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    CBT can be amazing! I’ve been in and out of CBT for 20 years now and I always go back to it when I’m struggling. It sounds like you have learned so much.
    L dove recently posted..Surviving Rainy Days with Dry KidsMy Profile

  17. Emma
    August 5, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    This was so interesting as I am currently waiting to start CBT for my anxiety. My last birth wasn’t ‘that’ traumatic but I did really struggle with how it went so I do think it is linked. I’m hopeful I will be able to progress with treatment as you have – very inspiring! x

  18. August 6, 2017 / 3:56 pm

    My mum had CBT & although she felt it didn’t help her in every way she did feel it made a huge difference.
    I’m so glad its done good for you beaut, its taught you some amazing things.

    You are one strong mumma

  19. August 7, 2017 / 1:44 pm

    I’ve heard really good things about CBT, and it seems like it really has helped you. I could do with having all these strengths myself!

  20. August 7, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    I’m glad that CBT has worked for you. My partner had it and it really worked for him as well. It’s also something that has been suggested for myself, however I’m not sure if I am ready for it yet.x
    Ky recently posted..Carcassonne – UNESCO World Heritage SiteMy Profile

  21. August 8, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    I feel your struggle. CBT is REALLY hard!!
    I read a quote recently about being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a very positive thing. Sending you strength from across the interweb.

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