Honestly, when I was starting CBT I was dubious; if tablets weren't helping me, it seemed unlikely that I was going to spend 12 hours of my life in a tiny doctor's room with one woman and when I came out I would suddenly be a better person than I had been for eleven years. I was dubious, but I have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised - five weeks in and I'm thriving, healthier than I have been since Primary School and I actually feel like I'm taking really strong moves forward. So, I thought I'd write a post about the most important lessons that I've learned in that room so far.
1: Be Patient
With the course of treatment, with myself, with life. Recovery takes a huge amount of waiting, a huge amount of patience and this only kicked in a week or two ago and suddenly I feel as though a weight has been lifted. I've learned that if I'm not patient with myself, I'm rushing myself to a totally different finish line than I want to be at - and I might win the sprint but I've completely messed up the marathon (too many race analogies?). Patience has been the most important thing that CBT has taught me, and it's something I hope I practise long into the future.
2: Push Yourself
I'm never going to get better when I'm in the same comfort zone I've been in since I got ill. To move forward I have to be willing to take steps forward, and inevitably they're going to take me outside of this little bubble that I've made myself comfortable in. With the help of problem solving, tough love and a whole lot of support - I'm learning to push myself in ways that I didn't know were possible (I leave the house more days than not now; go me.)
3: Let The Negativity Go
When I went into CBT I quickly learned that it's not about the past - you have to let all of that go and focus on the future. It's not about what got me here, or what created these feelings; it's what I do about them now that helps me. For a notoriously bitter person this has made such a difference in my life; it's not about the people that affected me, nor is about the people who have left - in true Sam fashion? It's all about me.
So there are the top three lessons I've learned since starting CBT - I'll update when I learn more but honestly, these are the things that I think I will carry forward with me for the rest of my life. And I'm more than grateful. If you've ever done a course of CBT, let me know what lessons you learned in the comments.
If you liked this you might like: Talking About CBT