The last couple of months have been difficult. I became completely crippled by self-doubt, and was unable to blog and even tweet for a while. It became super hard to find anything enjoyable. Group CBT fell through due to work commitments and I had to return to my summer job. Even though good things were happening and I was still able to carry on with life, I just felt miserable. I was so miserable that I didn't have the energy to feel anxious at all.
As I could no longer attend the group CBT sessions on Monday afternoons, I arranged to have 1-1 appointments that fit better around my work schedule. I knew that I still needed the help, now even more than before, but in our sessions I felt like my therapist didn't understand why. From an outsider's perspective I was doing really well. I had made changes to my life, such as eating better and working out most days. I was applying for jobs and going to work. Usually, being so proactive about getting better helps people feel better, but I was feeling worse. My therapist wasn't getting it and I felt like CBT wasn't going anywhere.
A couple of weeks ago my therapist gave me some 'homework', which consisted of writing down what I did every hour for a week, and a mood rating. I also had to write down every negative thought I had. It was a huge peice of homework, which was a nightmare to keep up with. I used an app called Talking Progress to remind me every hour to record my mood and thoughts and keep my notes safe from people seeing.
This week I returned to my therapist and we talked through the homework. We discussed all of my negative thoughts, some of which included: 'I rely on other people to much', 'I don't like my voice', 'I am wrong'. In amongst these was 'I am not good enough'. My therapist asked me what I felt I wasn't good enough at, and I said everything; I'm not good enough at my job, at blogging, at things I'm interested in, even at buying cool clothes. She then asked me how long I had felt like this, to which I replied 'always'.
My therapist told me she thinks that 'I am not good enough' is one of my core beliefs. A core belief is usually developed as a child or teenager and becomes fundamental to the way we perceive our lives, usually going unquestioned. For me, when lots of things start to prove that 'I am not good enough', I get depressed. So because at the moment I haven't yet found a way into my chosen career, I strongly believe I am not good enough and therefore feel down.
My mood and activity diary now made sense to my therapist. I felt the most depressed when something affirmed my core belief of not being good enough, like after applying for jobs or after a hard work out where I've struggled to keep up. I feel like I should be doing everything perfectly, and so when I don't feel I have, I become miserable. Just getting things done doesn't make me feel happy, they have to be done perfectly if I am to feel content.
|A Posh Diagram FYI :)|
Challenging my core belief is going to be no easy feat, but I feel that half the challenge is over now my therapist has identified what's been going wrong. And this would never have been identified if I hadn't have done the homework. So if you do CBT guys, make sure you get the homework done like I did!