Captain’s Log, Day 3…
For those of you reading these (all 2 of you), you have no doubt seen I have jumped around quite a bit. Sorry. I have a feeling that you can empathize though…
Let’s recap: off meds, withdrawal, major relationship issues, A.N.T.s out the woodwork…
Meds: Good news, I am back on something. My psychiatrist put me on a “bridge” until my Abilify arrives (anytime between now and 2 weeks from now). For those who don’t know, a bridge is a medication to “bridge the gap” between doses. In this case, I am on Rexulti (brexpiprazole), a drug very similar to Abilify (aripiprazole). Same word ending…must be ok, right? This is helping with those withdrawal symptoms. Mostly getting rid of that “kicked in the gut” anxiety pain I have been having. The Ativan helps with that, too.
Relationship: Progress. She is very distant but shows that she hasn’t checked out yet. Made a joke this morning when I was shaving that I “missed a spot”. She was doing her eyebrows and I said “I could say the same thing…”. It was a nice break in the tension. Bonus points to me for not thinking this was some sort of invitation to talk. I just went about my morning and let her be. I kissed her on the cheek and told her I love her when I left and she reciprocated. She says I focus too much on the negative, so maybe I need to put a lot more emphasis on these little things. They aren’t so little, after all. In fact, right now they are huge and a good reminder that I should never take those things for granted.
A.N.T.s: Oh boy….story of my life. I have done group therapy based on Dr. Burns “Ten Days to Self Esteem“. It helped a LOT, but I sometimes forget the tools in my toolbox when trying to deal with things. But in this group is where I learned about Automatic Negative Thoughts. There those annoying thoughts that we have that create self-doubt. The “I can’t…” and the “This always happens…” type thoughts. We all have them. Some people more than others. Part of the way you deal with them is to disprove them. Some are easier to disprove then others.
There are 10 cognitive distortions that plague most people in some way or another. Knowing what they are goes a long way in helping overcome them. Page 2 of that link shows ways to untwist your thinking. All these things take practice. LOTS of practice. Every single day practice. But in order to practice, you have to recognize the negative thoughts.
Here is one of mine: I’m broken (I can apply all 10 distortions to this rather easily). But am I really broken? Maybe a little, but I have a lot of friends and I genuinely care about people, so I can’t be that broken. Do I need work? Sure. We all do. But that doesn’t mean I am broken. Just a little down right now. But hey….bright side: bipolar! Should have a manic episode anytime now! (Haha)
The most important part of the Dr. Burns method is to do it in a group. While you can do it by yourself, it adds a lot of accountability if you do it with others. Talk to your therapist/counselor about it. It really is a good program.
If you have already started overcoming your distortions using another method, how have you done it?