thank you so much for your responses! It's good to feel that I'm not alone, and not a freak for feeling the way I do. I think - hope, really - that I'm beginning to get better, I've been on citalopram for a couple of months now, and I'm going back to work full-time next week. I'm not feeling so overwhelmed by everything anymore. But the most important thing for me is therapy, and that's where I'm just beginning to think that it really is ok to feel frightened, hurt and weak sometimes, and not something to feel guilty or ashamed of (which I have been doing a lot). At the moment it's all still a bit tentative, and I get very tired from the endless thoughts, and tense with all the anger and pain. The thing that helps me most is reading, if I find the right book it can really take me out of myself and still help me understand myself better. Tai Chi and knitting are good, too. But sometimes only being on my own with a bottle of wine gets me through and tonight is going to be one of those times...
Hi there, have you ever heard of CBT?
Among other things in it are relaxation techniques, i'll go into that later.
I notice that you mention the endless thoughts; in CBT, you learn how to handle the thoughts, you develop a better and more effective thinking strategy. Sounds technical, in fact its quite easy. All you do is assess the thoughts; firstly you just acknowledge them, just that you know they are there, and you let them come and go; just like sitting on a beach with a light wind, and listening to the waves crashing and receding! Can you hear the waves?
Dont argue with the thoughts, but you can learn to challenge them; you get a thought for example that everything is going wrong and its going to be a rough day, i'd say thats a negative thought, Its not helpful and I wouldnt even answer it; just let it drift away!
a thought arises saying that you'll be fine, you will be relaxed and the day will go well; that is the kind of thought you accept, its a positive thought and can be embraced, dont challenge it, just let it be, enjoy it. Its a helpful thought.
In time, you will become a good thoughts detective, able to quickly distinguish your helpful thinking styles from your unhelpful ones, and allowing the thoughts just to be, "i can do this, i can cope today" is a helpful one so you allow it to surround you, and enjoy it.
I know that what i have described sounds a bit airy-fairy; but believe me, this works and the more you practice it, the better you will get at it, and it will be much easier to cope as your thinking style will have changed. You will always get thoughts, but this helps you to control them.
For relaxation, i do the deep breathing and there are a couple of examples to use.
The standard one is to sit down, take the weight off, preferably an upright chair, but its possible as long as you are sitting. You breathe with your tummy; not your chest, and to achieve this, you put your two hands on your tummy, so that the tips of some of your fingers touch each other. Breathe IN, steadily
and allow your tummy to inflate like a balloon; your fingers will lose touch with each other, and this allows you to feel that you're doing it correctly.
Now steadily let that breath OUT; your tummy will deflate, and your fingers will touch each other again, so its IN
, steadily; hold it a second or two, and steadily let it out
Practice this, and spend maybe 5 mins or so or until you start to relax, when you breathe out, you should before long, be able to feel as if the tension is being expelled along with the breath out!
Another way to do it, is to put one hand on your tummy, and the other on your chest.
If the one on your chest shows movement, then you're doing it wrong; you breathe using your tummy; breathe IN steadily, and see the balloon inflate and your hand rise with your tummy. and like-wise when you exhale you will see your hand come down with your tummy.
The reason i like this one, is that if I see the hand on my chest rise, then i'm not breathing correctly; breathing with your chest, will speed up your heart, which is the opposite of what we want; were trying to relax, so we want the heart to slow down.
This is one of my favourites, and I try to use it when i need to, its a good technique.
The next one is tensing, and relaxing.
You can either lie down or sit with this one. Starting at the top; your head, you really scrunch up your face, furrow your brow etc, hold like that for a second or two and then steadily let it go; back to your more beautiful looks! Now the shoulders, pull your shoulders up and your neck down into your shoulders, and hold a second or two and then steadily let it go. You can move to your arms if they feel restless or tense, and do an Arnold Schwarzenegger, with both arms at once, hold, tighten, even clench you fist; and release. Your hands next, you can clench them, and open them as wide as they can go, or just one of these, hold, and let it go.
Moving down, to your tummy and chest, holding your breath helps this one; pull your shoulders back and strain your rib cage, tighten your tummy muscles and lol, clench your buttocks (not with your hands!), hold it, and let it go.
Now your legs, tense up every muscle in your legs, thighs and calves, until your foot rolls up your toes. hold, and let it go.
You can do your thighs and calves separately if you want, if you find that easier.
Now your feet; flat on the floor, lift your toes up, and pull them in; you will feel the tension in your lower calves, and your feet and toes; hold, and let it go, nice and easy!
How do you feel??
Its a good one, because when i get nervous, my legs tend to jiggle, most guys do this, it helps me to relax by (sitting down) putting my feet flat on the floor, and push down hard on them with my thighs, and holding it a second or two before letting it go. This whole exercise (head to toes) is also very good if you cant relax, to go to sleep, either on your back, or on your front!
I recommend you try these; they do work. My counsellor taught me them, and they all work! They will help you to relax, stay calm, and able to concentrate on those thoughts!
If you ever get angry, so angry you want to roar; try a Samson (of Samson and Delilah), yes i mean it! Find a suitable solid
wall, and put both hands on the wall, and now try and push the wall down! Push as hard as you want, feel the stretch in your calf muscles, and then rest; still feel tense? Do it again! You should start to feel the anger in your body start to dissipate, and few slow deep breaths, and your there!
GIve them a try over a few days when needed; let me know how you get on! Have fun!