WHAT FIXED ME
On reflection, I’d say my recovery came down to three key things :
A “MULTI DIMENSIONAL” APPROACH :
In human speak I mean more than a single approach. For example, I found CBT incredibly valuable for insight into my Thinking Errors, when they tend to happen, and how to limit their influence over me.
Getting a clear understanding of Emotional Intelligence was an important step forward in understanding the effect of body & emotion on my cogitative functioning.
Solution Focus techniques can be brilliant when things are coming together and life begins to move on again.
I think Twitter Space reflects that wide dialogue, a massive upside of Twitter is the ongoing opportunity to discover something new and of value. Sadly I’ve also found a down side to be how quickly things can disappear in the rapid turnover.
FAST ACCESS TO EMERGENCY RESOURCES :
We are all aware of the urgency for rapid treatment in physical trauma. I think so too in mental distress! So I set about writing a collection of interactions for the things that persistently triggered my anxiety – a little something to help me keep my head together when things got bad
Example 1 : Breathing
Example 2 : Tapping
Example 3 : Self Talk
I wrote this example at a time of high anxiety around a very complex R&D project which had some significant over tones for me when I noticed a tendency to become increasingly anxious if my work was becoming problematical.
I realised I needed break my semi conscious pattern of emotional reasoning (“this feels like it’s going wrong therefore it must be going wrong”) to prediction (“Oh god, if this fails then I’ll be stuck. There’s no other way to achieve this, so the whole project will fail”) to catastrophizing (“So if it fails I’ll be stuck here in this shitty job forever, I have no other skill set, I’ve go now other way to improve myself, I’m screwed”).
My emphasis in this instance was to handle the anxiety “hump” (the initial burst of adrenalin, feak out, wobbly legs etc) and focus my concentration on a short self-talk to clam myself down before starting a round of problem solving (another section in my little book).
The rainbow spiral was a animation I created to remind myself that emotions often had a scale from aroused to calm, and that it can take a little time to wind down, but if I kept at it … I would get there
I think we’re getting better at understanding the importance of routine in reaching & maintaining mental health in the same way as Jane Fonda & her mates triggered the start of the physical health revolution back in the 80’s.
I’m a firm believer that if you say something often enough it can start to happen. It took me some time to realise that I was relentlessly repeating “I am sick”, not only in my thoughts but with my actions. The results were significant when I learnt how flip my internal routine.
So I used to carry my little book with me and dip into it as I was going about my day. I’d often just pick a page at random while waiting for the train and spend 5 minutes practising. A direct comparison would be to the adverts playing today encouraging you to take the stairs instead of the lift, or to eat an apple instead of eating a sugar filled snack.
A secret that should be shared more is that routine does not have to mean hard or boring. It can be completely the opposite … and (here comes the no-brainer) if you keep at it, you start to feel better !