Persephone: Parent

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CBT: Session Four – I Can Read Your Mind #PND

on February 9, 2016

The fourth therapy session was the first one after a huge break over Christmas. During this gap, not only had Robin started sleeping through the night and dropping her morning feed (only two feeds a day left), but she had started going to bed really easily (quick feed and then done) so I’d started reintroducing things to my life and, unlike previous attempts, had begun to enjoy them. I guess it was part of the depression, the constant thought of “what’s the point?” What was the point in trying to do aerobics or go jogging at bedtime, she’d still be screaming? Why bother getting up early to do it, I’m too tired anyway? I don’t want to read a book, I want to veg out on the sofa and watch TV, get bored and eat junk food. Everything had seemed so hard, so hard to motivate myself to do and so hard to wrangle the family to allow me to. But that had started to change over the Christmas period, with a cinema outing and date with my mum, going out for drinks with a friend – no children in sight, taking the time to exercise, trying to get my diet in order and using calm, quiet times to read my book so that I finally got interested in it. I’d never seen that as part of the depression, but it was.

In the fourth session, we learnt about negative automatic thoughts (yep, I know them very well) and what type of thinking you do. I’m a black and white generaliser who can read minds and plays more on the negative than the positive.

Reading the definitions of different types of thought, well, I ticked all of them, but the ones I just mentioned are the ones I identified with greatest. Everything is in black and white to me. Not only am I a mind reader, but everyone else can read my mind. That part I had already realised doing the 5 areas regarding the Perfect Mum (by the way, I don’t think of her as that anymore, she’s just my friend now, but it’s easier on here when still discussing that part of my life). She never knew, still does’t know, how random things she says make me feel inadequate. She isn’t a mind reader. I can think of a handful of blog rants that I’ve had which are all me mind reading or expecting other people to be able to mind read. For example, the other day she mentioned (completely in tune with the conversation) what her child drinks, my immediate thought was “Oh, yep, thanks, I’m crap, I let my son drink Fruit Shoot and Squash”. Then I thought, “Shut up, brain, that is not what she said, probably not what she implied and you cannot read her mind to know.” For all I know she was sitting there doubting herself for not letting her children drink those drinks, thinking that was what I meant. The point is –

People are not mind readers!

At the time of the session, I was worrying a bit about the fact that Elvis isn’t potty trained. The day before one of his nursery workers had said “if he or you aren’t ready, don’t start it”. Was it me not ready? Was it my fault? Was I holding him back? Every other 2.5 year old I know is pretty much full trained. Some of his younger friends are trained. Oh, my God, is my son the last one at nursery. Do the nursery workers hate me and my son because they still have to change his nappy and get up close and personal with his actual shit? This is the end of the world, I am the worst mother in the world because this is because I keep putting it off, because I don’t want to do it. What do my friends think, or parents of other children? God, I’m so shit and lazy.

Firstly, correct, I don’t want to do it right now. It’s too cold to be wandering around naked and Robin is mobile, it creates an extra issue. However, Elvis is also not ready. He is incredibly hit and miss as to whether he tells anyone he’s pooed. That to me means that he is not ready. Why should I force him? Because I want him to be out of nappies? Because I want to save money? Because his peers have done it?

Secondly, in that paragraph, can you see the generalisation? Not all of his friends are potty trained. He is not the only one in nursery. Can you see the mind reading? I know the nursery staff hate me! Everyone’s looking down at me. How about the black and white? Is it really the end of the world because he isn’t trained? It isn’t that black and white. It is not as simple as “he isn’t trained, that is my fault”.

We also learnt to interrogate our NATs in the 4th session, to put them to a court case and think of the facts for and against the case of a particular thought, assessing how we feel before interrogation and then after. So, I interrogated that failure as a mother and person for not potty training. And then I owned my emotions and decisions – Elvis is not ready. Simples. And I think that’s a huge thing. We keep getting told at therapy to own our emotions (it is really hard when trying to discuss things with Hubby that it is me feeling something, me reacting to something he said/did, he did not cause that emotion) and I also think that we, as parents, need to own our decisions. I don’t think Elvis isn’t ready. I know he isn’t. That is fact. That is my decision, to not train him yet and that’s that. It doesn’t matter what others may or may not think – they don’t know my son.

It’s still difficult. I think I’m far more at peace about what others think, about how I can’t read their minds. They can’t read mine. I don’t know what is happening behind closed doors and no matter how honest I am, no one knows what is actually going on in my home either. I do really like the interrogation technique. I think it’s handy for when I have flashes, for some of those really sticky thoughts that bug me. I think I’d kind of started down the interrogation path back when we learnt about the 5 areas. Simply writing down the thought process that I had from some triggers helped me a great deal to come up with solutions. I think I just need to figure out some more triggers because there are still issues. Mainly with relationships. I sometimes struggle to communicate effectively especially with my husband and it needs fixing.

I’ve worked on fixing bits of me, now to put things in to use to help fix us.

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