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CBT: Session Three – Oh, There I am! #PND

on February 3, 2016

As I walked into the third session, I was still feeling so so down from the session before and then my failed attempt to socialise, that I wondered what the point was. But I wasn’t about to lose my place on the course and I really loved the creche aspect! Honestly, possibly not the best reason, but I’m not going to lie – it was not hope and optimism that made me go on the third week. Haha! The third session was all about rumination (I tick all the boxes, so, yep, I ruminate. A lot) and introduced SMART Goals.

Well, somewhere in the week afterwards, I began to see some light.

I think it happened when I set my SMART Goal in front of everyone in the therapy session. Because that meant I had to stick to it. Right?

I definitely suffer with rumination. I often can’t stop my brain. I worry about everything.

I worry that I’m a rubbish mother to Elvis because after nursery he naps all afternoon, I don’t do anything with him. I worry that we don’t go to lots of groups. Or any groups. I worry that we mainly have weekend outings to the shops. I worry that I don’t actually play with Robin. I worry that I don’t spend enough time with either child, but then I worry that I don’t like spending time with them. I worry that I still haven’t potty trained my now 32 month old. At the point of the third session I was really worried that Robin had not gained weight in at least 6 weeks. I worry when a routine falters that I’ll have to deal with the fallout and that I don’t know how to. A lot of the worries are based on comparisons that I make with other mums (because every other mother is a better mother than me).

Just to insert a little note regarding all of these posts about the CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy), a lot of it is what I feel. And what I feel is because of me, not the people to whom I refer. You have to own your emotions and not “blame” them on other people. That’s kind of the whole point. So when I say that I’m a rubbish mum and all other mums are perfect, that is not in any way pointing fingers or laying blame on the other mums in the world. The point is changing that initial thought, the I’m rubbish one. The same as when I mentioned my feelings of inadequacy compared to a friend I see as the perfect mum. My feelings. My thoughts. My need to change them.

Within a few days of the session, I found myself ruminating as I left Robin alone with my mum to take Elvis swimming. So, I did the distraction technique and began peering in neighbours’ windows for different colours. Then there was the time that I was ruminating over the fact that Robin would not nap. She was in her cot talking to her dummy and every single noise was making me so agitated. I distracted myself with washing up and listening to the radio. Afterwards, she was still awake and happy, and I was calm enough to deal with the altered routine.

Then came the SMART Goal. The goal has to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound, and my initial first ever SMART Goal was made in the session for everyone to pick me up on. My Goal was to see my friend, the one I labelled Perfect Mum (please note the past tense), on a particular day, at a set time, until I needed to leave to have lunch and do the nursery run. The only obstacle was getting Robin weighed, which was worrying me as I knew she still hadn’t gained weight and I was scared of what a random health visitor would advise, so I arranged to see my health visitor on a different day. The thing that began to change in me was when I tried to answer the relevance. Why was this my goal? At the time, I still saw her as Perfect and, truthfully, most times I’ve spoken to or seen her in the past few years, I feel my inadequacies shine through (again, MY thoughts), so why did I want to see her?

Because, she’s my friend and I’m lonely. At the end of the day, all of these new mummy friends have their own lives, too and just because we currently have toddlers does not mean we are all going to remain friends forever. Perfect Mum was my friend before she was Perfect Mum and, as I realised, I’d like her to be my friend again and not be Perfect Mum to me. And that’s when I started to realise what I needed to answer those previous questions.

Who am I?

What do I like?

My goal was to socialise because that’s what I used to like, that makes me a person and not a mum. Okay, Robin was there, too, but you have to start somewhere. Before I met my friend, I did the 5 areas on my triggers when I see her. Writing out all of the thoughts that I think when we’re talking was amazing, and made me really think about how abstract a brain can be. How one little, harmless almost, innocuous thought just escalates around and around and around until it isn’t the simple first thought of “I’m a rubbish mum”, but it’s “my children will scarred for life and there’s no point in me being here with them”.

Then I decided to make a Goal of seeing one of my oldest friends on an evening, without the baby or toddler. I hoped for a good bedtime. And the Relevance – to be Me. And, unlike the week before when I’d gone to a gathering and found myself with nothing to talk about at all, I enjoyed being with my friend. I enjoyed both Goals.

As we approached Christmas, I had even more SMART goals to set. Except I had to get over the craziness that was Christmas first! I was still keeping my activity diary, trying to figure out any patterns to when my mood dropped, using the 5 areas when I noticed something. I started using the prioritising demands chart to keep a track of random not important tasks that I could do when boredom set in and started to use it more to keep track of other projects and more urgent things that could possibly have slipped my mind. Then, for Christmas I got an Xbox1 with some dancing and fitness games along with a kindle voucher. I made two new goals – to do fitness on the Xbox twice a week, on particular days after Robin had gone to bed and to follow it up with a bath where I read a chapter of the book I’m reading.

Three weeks in and they aren’t weekly goals anymore, they’re part of my routine. I love the Dance Central game and much prefer it to Just Dance. I started slowly and have upped my time to 30 minutes with a weekend session where I do 30 minutes of cardio and 10 minutes of strength routines. I think I’ve even increased it to three times a week. After two of the sessions, I have been having lovely baths with a Hester Browne book. I’d already started it, but just couldn’t get in to it at all, which is odd as I love Hester. I wasn’t focussing and concentrating on it, therefore I wasn’t enjoying it. Now I am. I have something that I like. And I love the exercising, I had been loving jogging, but Robin was too much of a pickle on an evening, so I’d started getting up earlier to do it. Then she started waking earlier. Plus, it was winter and pitch black! But in truth, I was avoiding things because I was in a lethargy spiral and everything just seemed too difficult. Not anymore.

I’m enjoying things.

Then, just into the New Year, I went out. To the cinema. With no child. I got in near midnight. I watched Star Wars! It was amazing (the film and being me).

There we go, I enjoy reading. I enjoy the cinema, sci-fi and Star Wars. I enjoy exercising. And, I have things to talk about and not just the sleeping habits of my children.

That’s sorted me out, but what about certain triggers that I can’t seem to solve? Or the arguments me and my husband keep on having? Or sometimes, just how I think so negatively?

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One response to “CBT: Session Three – Oh, There I am! #PND

  1. […] that note, I have been blogging about my 6 therapy sessions (first, second and third) and I do think that maybe my PND is more PNA and it is far more manageable. I got a letter on the […]

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