therapy journey

My journey to better mental & spiritual health

Tag: counselling

Therapy. NVC. Forbidden fruit & the 7-year old child.

I have had a couple of therapy sessions in the past few days. One with F, who I saw for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I also tried out a new therapist whose specialism is in integrative arts psychotherapy.

During the meeting with F, which was my second and probably last session, I talked about the current estrangement I was experiencing at the time with my boyfriend, and how to go about achieving the resolution I was hoping for. It wasn’t something that I really needed to discuss with a therapist, but it was so pressing on my mind, I couldn’t help it. Anyhow, the matters have now been resolved and with time (without the counsellor’s help), I decided that the discussion in question didn’t need to happen in the prescriptive way I was envisaging.

However during the meeting F told me about Non-Violent Communication (NVC). He summarised the four points of managing a conflict as: firstly locating the incident. Secondly, relating the incident to the other party, using factual ‘I’ statements. Thirdly, explaining your underlying need or value using ‘because’. Lastly, a smart request in which you seek a change or compromise from the other party in the future.

All very well but I didn’t end up using anything like this because a formal conversation didn’t happen. When things get tough, I remember that love is all, and I remember to be mindful of the present moment and sometimes that is enough. A week-long cooling-off was enough to bring love and togetherness back to my relationship, without any recourse to complicated and painful feelings and experiences that we’ve tried hard to put behind us. I am happy with this, though it’s taken time.

Love is all

A couple of days after, I saw another new NLP therapist, G. She is the best therapist I’ve seen so far. She is the first one I’ve seen that isn’t just perplexed by me and I have an instant rapport with. She challenges and stimulates me. She doesn’t get stuck for things to say and directions to take the dialogue. She talked nearly as much as me, which is what I want. Otherwise I go off course and start talking about just the current thoughts that flit through my mind, instead of the deep stuff that needs work and I need challenging on. G crammed many things into our hour. She asked me questions – the usual stuff about what my issues are and what outcomes I anticipate – but she also uses visualisation exercises, roleplay and games to find out how we really feel about ourselves and others. She asked me to for one word that sums up how I feel about my childhood, and it was quite sad really, I said ‘lonely’. That was honestly the first thought I had. My childhood was not filled with a cast of characters; people were sparse and not giving of themselves.

Despite (or because of) this I revelled in time alone, and used to relish secretly the time when both parents were out at work because their shifts overlapped. I talked about something that I had not voiced probably to anyone, certainly not for years. When I was little, my mother would forbid me to play with the other kids that lived on our safe little cul-de-sac, mostly boys very slightly older than me. I really wanted to play with them as I thought they were incredibly cool. One day when she was taking a nap, I took her house keys, let myself out and met up with the boys. We played in the allotments and had fun. She came to the allotments in a rage, having worried herself sick at not being able to find me. Of course this was acutely embarrassing for me in front of my new playmates. The reason she forbade me from playing with the boys and girls in our street was because in mum’s eyes, they were of a lower social standing as they attended state schools and I didn’t.

It made me wonder how it is the forbidden tastes so sweet. The very fact it is forbidden makes me want it even more. Over my childhood years and into early adulthood I had unhealthy attitudes to lots of practices and behaviours that were deemed immoral by my parents. If they’d only given me the freedom to experiment and take calculated risks when I was growing up, perhaps I wouldn’t have needed to take more foolhardy risks when I was older. Yet at the same time, underneath all the bravado was a split personality – someone incredibly shy and risk-averse.

But back to the exercises set by G. She asked me to picture myself as a child and asked me what age this child was and what she was feeling. I said she was 7, starting school, as I still have an image in my mind of a photograph of myself at this age. She’s feeling awkward, nervous and out of place. Her clothes are hanging off her small, skinny frame as her school uniform is two years too big for her. It’s sensible to buy clothes she will grow into. At school she is really shy and won’t put her hand up in class even if she knows the answer. She wonders why everyone else makes friends so easily and feels very jealous of the other girls.

G asked me to give a piece of advice to the 7-year old me. I said ‘take responsibility for yourself’. G said the 7-year old wouldn’t understand that. She is frightened, standing there in her too-big clothes. I honestly don’t know what advice I would have given the 7-year old. ‘Don’t be afraid to love’? ‘Find the confidence to be yourself’? ‘Respect others and yourself’? It made me feel quite sad to be honest, as I really felt that the 7-year old me was there in the room, silly as that sounds.

Despite all I should know about accepting myself, I realise by the language I was using to talk to the therapist, I still don’t. The matter of my recent efforts to improve my relationship came up. I explained some things that I had done, having finally realised that this was the correct course of action. Then I said that I felt annoyed that I hadn’t done these good things sooner – and that was the critical voice creeping in. I should take steps to notice this voice.

I realised at the end of my session with G that I still have a long way to go. I’ve said it before: even though I feel immensely calm, blissfully content, serenely happy and appreciatively satisfied the vast majority of the time, I am not out of the woods yet.

Advertisements

Do the basics. The rest will follow. Meeting with F.

There is a bit of me, the bit that’s not on the journey, that wonders whether I am making any progress at all. The principles of NLP are all very admirable but I’m starting to think that you need to be a saint to live your life by them. Trying to follow such high ideals inevitably sets you up for failure when you have setbacks. Although NLP says ‘there is no failure, only feedback’, it is hard to feel like I’m on track for mental wellbeing, spiritual growth, behavioural amenity, examplary rapport skills and mastery over my mind. I guess that is part of the challenge.

The weekend held yet more conflict and turmoil and has left me feeling confused and alone. I did battle with the voices in my head that tell me to pick, poke, nag – and lost. I need so much validation when I spend a long time upsetting the balance, then I wonder why. The reason why I feel like all this might be in vain is because I know what I’m meant to be thinking and saying, I’m meant to be focussing on what I’m trying to achieve, which is rapport, behavioural flexibility and sensory awareness. I’m meant to be nurturing my mind with great thoughts! Instead I’m allowing myself to feel distressed when conflict arises and to demand resolution, which is counter-productive and was inappropriate given the circumstances.

I had an insight during my first session with a brand new therapist today. It’s a thought I’ve had before but worth reiterating. Why have my relationships comprised high levels of conflict? Surely there must be something in common with my relationships.The answer is of course, me! Conflict arises because of my sabotaging a happy status quo. My pattern is to believe that I am not worthy of the relationship I find myself in. I have low self-esteem and a shaky sense of self-worth. I think that my partner deserves better – someone more attractive, happier, more intelligent, more interesting or whatever – and to show him that I am not as great as he delusionally thinks I am, I show him my worst possible traits. I dare my partner to see me at my absolute worst. I push the boundaries of a relationship again and again until they break. Either that or I am afraid to show that I care, afraid of coming across weak and needy.

Why do I say really mean things to my partner? That’s what I’d like to find out. My new therapist, F, would like to understand what’s going on in my mind when I have the compulsion to be vicious. I know I am doing it, so why do I carry on effectuating thought into word/action? This has established itself as a pattern in my programming and it needs to be unwritten. Though F’s approach isn’t to delve deep into the past (which suits me as I don’t need to be psychoanalysed), the roots of my behaviour probably stretch back to early childhood.

The new therapist F’s approach veers away from the prescriptive medical model and he was keen to point out that there are no guarantees, and he isn’t a miracle worker after all. That was a good disclaimer to put in, as I turned up there guns blazing with my list of desired outcomes and my first blog post printed out, both of which I read to him. He said that was very good, clear and brave. I also am of the mind that if you are in a position to be clear about what you need, then you will probably get a better result.

I feel very positive about my meeting with F and hope that our rapport builds over time, as this is a key factor in determining which therapist ‘feels’ right. What drew me to him specifically is that he’s a member of at least five counselling and psychotherapy organisations, is a Master Practitioner in NLP, experienced hypnotherapist, and also an expert in conflict resolution and mediation. So that gives me great hope and reassurance – others may not feel that it’s so important to do a lot of reading up on the person you’re potentially baring your soul to – but I do!

During the initial sessions I think there’s nothing wrong with asking the practitioner for their immediate reaction to your issues. Ask specific questions about their approach, and don’t be afraid to ask whether they think they can help, or not. Their reaction to these on the spot questions can be quite telling! I guess it’s always a challenge for them to meet with a potential new client and to be looked upon to provide solutions, so view the experience as a two-way exchange.

Ultimately for me, whether my mindset and behaviour actually change is a matter yet to be seen. With all the best will in the world from both the practitioner and myself, nothing will change unless I am ready and willing to accept it.

1 step forward, 20 steps back.

This weekend has been an absolute hell of my own making. I had huge problems in my relationship with my boyfriend which set me back hugely and makes me think I am rotten all the way to the core and not able to change, ever. I started out on this journey believing fundamentally (it took me all my life thus far) somehow that I had the capacity to effect real change and I believed it fully until this weekend.

I wasn’t in control of my feelings at all. All those things I have learned about and tried to live by in NLP, was it all for nothing? It must have been a waste of time, because I can’t take any of it in and apply it to my life which is ending every second that goes by.

It took me too long to recover from all the hurts, which continued all weekend. By Sunday morning J told me he didn’t want to be in a relationship with me anymore. He told me to get out and wished me a happy life. He said that I had made him see that we’re not right for each other because of my doubts (which he calls ‘threats’). He said I am evil. He said that it’s all bollocks this therapy stuff I am doing and it obviously isn’t working. I don’t know what else there is I can do but basically I have to concentrate on just one counselling approach, preferably NLP, and leave the spiritual claptrap until I have actually proved that I’m a changed person. Knowing that I don’t have his support leaves me a shell of a person.

I tried to put into practice what I had learned at Friday’s EFT session but it was all for nothing. I upset him by trying to voice my opinion, attempting to express myself about something that matters to me. Apparently there is never the right time for such matters, especially when they involve a criticism or a request, and I am in the wrong yet again, again and again. I carried on in a negative vibe for the entire weekend. I felt as though I could not get to the good thoughts. I thought about NLP the whole time and how I have the capacity to control my thoughts and that’s what I should be doing – turning a bad situation into a good one – but it was just out of my reach, pathetic as that sounds.

My need at times like this when I am at my lowest is to turn inward. I feel so much that I need to be on my own. J didn’t let me walk out yesterday, despite asking me to f* off repeatedly and as good as ending our relationship. He was angry but never apologised. He thinks he is immune to blame. As it turns out, we are still trying together but recent events have proved such a setback, not just for us as a couple but for my personal journey.

Confused & racked with self-doubt. Good feelings on tap.

My EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) session today went absolutely great and I felt even more relaxed about talking to C, my practitioner. When I walked in the room, I was aware I was giving her a huge smile. Again I felt like my issues had shifted so much since last time. Instead of being all about anger and anxiety, this time it was more about self-esteem and being OK with myself. I feel that it is a very accepting space she has created, one in which I can be myself warts and all.

As part of her practice she records entire sessions and plays them back to herself later as she might miss things during a meeting. She had listened back to my previous recording and had picked up on something. I was talking about my verbal communication with my boyfriend, and I had said something along the lines of “I know I shouldn’t say it”. She read this as self-censorship which was  a little jarring for her as she comes from a place where it’s OK to express yourself.

What I meant by that was that I find it difficult sometimes to express myself in the most loving way I can. My ego gets in the way too much. But the difference is, now when I have said something rash, I feel it. I know I have hurt someone, whereas before I was quite insensitive – something I probably set up a long time ago as a coping mechanism.

So the main issues to come out of it were about blaming myself, self-censorship, self-worth issues, self-sabotage, being distrustful of goodness and offerings. I can see how they are all connected, too. This formed the basis for the tapping part of the session, which is I guess around half an hour, after we’d spoken about the issues on my mind and what I needed help with.

An interesting thing she said was that anger, frustration, impatience and other unwanted feelings that people struggle with, are often masks for unresolved wounds that come to the fore when we are feeling small inside. Anger is a life force, an explosion of energy. But it has a root cause, something that preceded it which is sometimes harder to fathom. Anger turned inward has nowhere to go apart from making you feel depressed. It’s important to let the anger out – not by having an angry outburst but by working on yourself, understanding the causes and accepting yourself, and slowly you might actually, physically, feel it leaving you.

The affirmations today were so many again, it felt like a hundred, each one different and new. During the tapping part of the EFT session, I was so zoned out I barely took in the words I was saying. It felt amazing.

Blog 7 Feb 2014

I think the meditation breathing that we do right after the talking part, and before the tapping itself, has almost magical calming qualities. I am so incredibly transported while C does taps the meridians, it takes a while to come back to life afterwards. It’s not as if I can feel or sense energy flowing through me – perhaps I don’t know how to do this yet – but it’s more like an overwhelming feeling that everything is alright in the world. It really is the most serene thing you can imagine, kind of like a massage but it’s your own personal emotional issues that are being dealt with and you’re encouraged to talk about them very openly. I also like C’s message that everything is acceptable, in life in general. I find a lot of hope in that. Means I’m not a lost cause.

Remodelling the past. How not to choose a counsellor.

I am considering what to do next as regards the talking therapies that once seemed like the great solution. I think the route I’m heading down with my current CBT counsellor and life-coach D, seems like it might be a bad one. It’s been over a week since we last met, and I still don’t feel enthused by the thought of what we can do together in the future. There is nothing wrong with her offering, indeed it incorporates many of the things that I actually feel I would profit from hugely, like understanding biorhythms, incorporating a zen approach to life, using chakras to strengthen the mind, hearing the inner voice, developing coping methods. But somehow I find my heart sinking with the thought of returning to a practitioner that I can see doesn’t believe in herself.

However I have decided I will give it one more session and will try and tie in both a counselling session and a life coaching session. I will go to the session with an open mind and believe that this person can help me. After that session, it will be make or break and if it’s break then I will have to begin the arduous task of searching for a new therapist and trying to cultivate something from the ground up.

I realise now that the spiritual/ alternative route of talking therapy is really what I need. It was D that helped me see that. This kind of person is hard to come by, and you won’t find them in the conventional directories such as that provided by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy – however it’s a good starting point. I think you need to try a few therapists until you find the one you really gel with. Shop around. Don’t feel bad about dumping your therapist if you aren’t getting a) a really good feeling every time you finish a session with them 2) what you believe in your heart you personally need from the therapy process. After all, you are giving so much of your energy (not to mention time and money) to this person, you have to be getting back at least what you put in.

The very first counsellor I tried on this particular journey was A, who I came across on the website above. She focuses on Humanistic Integrative Therapy and uses different approaches such as psychodynamic theory (looking to the past) and humanistic theory (a holistic approach based more around the whole person in the here and now).

However the main reason I chose her was her proximity to my house! This isn’t the right reason I know, but I hoped that the convenience aspect might somehow make me more determined to have a profitable relationship with her. I remember the heavens opened on both occasions I went to visit her, at her practice in her home. The short walk was little mercy, it still left me soaked to the bone. So I always have that (somewhat irrelevant!) association in my mind.

In December 2013, during my time with A, I was still very much in the midst of ‘the bad times’. Thinking back on it now, I recall how raw my hurt was – and I didn’t want my session to be about any specific incidents, but they kept coming back even when I was talking about general matters like growing up. I was in a very negative headspace then and still going through the cycles of anger, hurt, withdrawing myself, feeling ignored etc which made it very hard to focus on anything good.

Those two sessions with A, we talked about my relationship with my boyfriend but it kind of felt like I was ratting on him or something – I felt bad to be talking about things he’d said and done without him being there to tell his side of the story, but I was at my wits’ end. I painted a pretty bleak picture of some of his actions, which saying out loud made me think at the time that I was stuck in a damaging relationship. We also talked about my parents’ relationship and how their patterns were repeating with me. We talked at length about my anger issues which were exacerbated by alcohol. She said that something needed to change on that front and she really told me off about it to be honest, and since then I haven’t really wanted to drink at all much – so that’s one good thing.

If I can really try and pin down what wasn’t working for me I’ll say this. Her approach is a little too soft for me. I need something more results-focussed and I’m seeking it. What else I didn’t get on well with was that she is very conventional. That was something of a problem for me. When I was telling her about stuff, such as experiences from my childhood, she sat there, mouth agape saying things like “oh that’s terrible”. I don’t need to know her opinion about whether something’s terrible. I am telling her things because she’s asking – these things have no power over me now. And just for the record, I did not have a terrible upbringing.

I guess I didn’t give our rapport with one another a chance to develop, because I felt that after just two sessions it wasn’t what I wanted. Too mundane, being ‘shocked’ by things that are not worth being alarmed and judgmental about, they’re part of life and we have the power to move on. The past doesn’t have any power over us except that which we give it. And I guess the timing was all off for me, as I hadn’t yet learned any coping mechanisms whatsoever.

Today, with a very different mindset to that which I lugged around with me those two rainy December evenings, I look back on everything that has happened to me with affection, understanding and acceptance.

Life coaching and CBT counselling. Live life, be free.

Straight after my EFT session with C yesterday, I had a session with D, my current CBT counsellor. As I feel better about myself, I wonder, perhaps prematurely, whether this approach is for me. I feel as if I am moving further away from the talking therapies especially when they are pretty low level which is what I am finding with her approach.

A good practitioner, of any discipline not only within the health arena, must put the client at ease, explain what it is they are doing, and guide them through the uncharted terrain with perception, confidence and compassion. I can’t help feeling as if these traits are lacking from D’s approach in my opinion. I wouldn’t normally mention something like this as it hardly seems relevant, but I must trust my instincts more. Truth be told I am looking to have quite high level insights as I have already spent a lot of my life self-analysing, admittedly sometimes erroneously, but nevertheless I am comfortable talking about myself, my feelings, my flaws and problems. I don’t want to be met with bemused waffling when I have just said something that needs a considered and intelligent response.

Her offering to me on this occasion (which encompassed a life coaching assessment plus a counselling session afterwards), was to ask me a series of questions which came from an EU quality of life assessment, which was fine, but I could tell she didn’t believe in what she was doing and kept apologising for the questions and missing lots out. In fact, my answers surprised me. No I don’t have any current negative thoughts, I am fully mobile, my work is not stressful, my health is good and I am following a new eating regime, I sleep soundly and have no trouble dropping off or waking up in the morning, my relationship is flourishing and I am spending lots of time and energy on personal development. The only thing I miss is having time for social activities with friends, but that balance will be redressed as this thing moves on and settles into a routine. All in all, I couldn’t really be happier.

So what do I need coaching on? One thing I am missing is my lack of goals. Reading about NLP it’s clear that goals are what will change your life. The changes that happen with one’s thoughts and behaviour come largely from the drive to succeed at some specific thing. However I struggle to think of anything that I really want from my life, except general goals like happiness, prosperity, good health, and for my loving relationship to grow and develop into a big, happy family.

D sketched out a very loose plan to utilise unspecified mind techniques to “strengthen neural pathways, create my own world and have others understand and accept me”. She mentioned developing coping mechanisms and inner strength and chakras (which I am intrigued by and know nothing about). That was about all I took away from the life coaching assessment.

I have an exercise to do this week, which is to record my inner voice and report back to her as to what it is saying. I should relax, take a deep breath, make the ‘om’ meditation sound, and just listen and connect with that stream of consciousness once all the external thoughts are filtered out. I’m not sure I understand this at all. I think of my inner thoughts being invasive ones, like the mad person you see on the street who kind of makes sense when you stop and listen, but their connections are arbitrary, bizarre and stupid. Mad people are normally ones with an excess of intelligence. I remember a mad Indian woman who used to walk up and down a street near where I worked, ranting and talking to herself and other people, completely unaware of herself. She was a university professor of extremely high standing.

I’m not left with the most positive of feelings about the CBT thus far with D but I will do the exercises and have at least one more life coaching session and one more counselling session in a couple of weeks’ time (the next time I am free) so we shall see what it brings. Doubt and negativity are so unwelcome at the moment, so I just don’t know. Live life, be free.

Tapping into happiness.

Today I had my first session in Emotional Freedom Techniques and it was wonderful. The practitioner, C, put me at ease straightaway and explained what we were about to do which I found very reassuring and an important part of the process.

She asked me specifically what had brought me there, what my issues were and I told her the usual spiel (it feels like this sometimes) but with a slight modification – that the negative issues I’m talking about I kind of view as past feelings rather than very present emotions. That for me was a sort of breakthrough, talking to a therapist and rather than being very wrapped up in my problems, being sort of distanced from them and even struggling to recall the specifics.

She asked me for some examples, as the process requires the patient to focus on an example in their recent history in which the emotions being treated were running high. I tried to recollect an example but I realised there was a block in my mind which was protecting me from reliving negative past emotions. It was strange – all the things I’d spent so long obsessing about become something from the Neolithic past.

I didn’t feel like I was blocking out my negativity. I just felt like it had already left me. C emphasised though that acceptance of our flaws is an important part of EFT. It’s an important part of the NLP process too of course, as this requires deep knowledge of the self. But it’s not bad thing even to dwell on our bad sides – it’s just an exercise and it won’t make them any more prevalent. She said when you resist your issues they grow and persist. Nothing is unacceptable in the EFT process. Any problem can be addressed.

Know Thyself

What it all comes down to, a lot of the time, is the individual’s belief that he is inferior to other people. This is so common and is in fact the foundation of everyone that comes to her. That was reassuring. She said, ‘we would never speak to other people the way we speak to ourselves’.

The EFT treatment involves firstly some deep, meditative breathing, the kind that any meditation book would advise. Breathing in as fully as you can, feeling your belly rise up as it fills with air; exhaling slowly and fully, taking twice as long on the outbreath as the breath in. This is apparently amazing for the physiological system. It slows down all the processes of the mind and body and brings calm.

Next C asked me to relive a traumatic conflict experience, one in which my troublesome emotions such as hurt, rejection, anger, frustration were piqued. I set on one in my mind but had some difficulty holding on to the vividness of the emotion. I was meant to be focussing hard on it, and feeling the anger that I felt at the time, but I kept losing my strand and only managed a 6 out of 10 intensity-wise.

Next, the practitioner started tapping my right hand just around the body-side of the wrist. This is the “setter” and she focussed on this area for a good few minutes. While she tapped, she repeated a kind of mantra with the same beginning and end words every time but interchangeable words between. I repeated after her.

“Even though I have hurt those I love, I completely and deeply love and accept myself”.
“Even though I believe I have messed up, I completely and deeply love and accept myself”.
“Even though I believe I am not a worthwhile person, I completely and deeply love and accept myself”
“Even though I am not always in control of my feelings, I completely and deeply love and accept myself”.
“Even though I fear rejection, I completely and deeply love and accept myself”.

And so on for at least a hundred different variations. She tapped about six different meridians on the chin, below the nose, under the eye, the middle of the forehead, the chest, under the arm and on the wrist. I would like to be able to do this exercise myself at home but will attend five or so more sessions to get the full benefit from a very gifted practitioner before I am sure that I can get the most of it on my own.

At the end of our session, C said I looked lighter and happier. She asked me how I felt. I struggled to find the words; it seemed like a lot of effort to say that I felt clear. Not confused but without thoughts in my head. I felt like I had a factory reset and had to think very hard to regain the powers of speech and movement. Being back on the street in the busy city where I had the treatment felt daunting as a moment of reclimatisation is required before returning to the real world – which is done by rubbing your hands up and down your limbs in and certain rhythm and direction. But still, I felt incredibly light headed, though I have to say the feeling didn’t last long. As soon as I finished I was straight on a bus and attending my next CBT session with D. The one I had waited two weeks for.

EFT is a marvellous experience, made all the more worthwhile and fruitful by being in the hands of a skilled practitioner who communicates effectively. You put yourself and your mental state at the mercy of these strangers, and one that can empathise and instruct without leaving you cold is not to be taken for granted.

Therapy outcomes. Where mindfulness fits in.

I think it’s worth putting down the outcomes that I had decided for myself about a month ago. They still stand. They are:

  • To learn how to be happy
  • To be able to manage and control negative emotions
  • To be able to deal with criticism and rejection
  • To learn how to walk away from conflict
  • To understand what the causes/ triggers of my bad behaviour are
  • To be stronger mentally
  • To gain an insight into, and appreciation of, the meaning of human existence
  • To learn to be less selfish
  • To regard myself as a valid member of my relationship, my workplace, community, society
  • To understand myself and my subconscious motivations, desires, neuroses
  • To be able to live in the moment
  • To come to terms with, and stop hating, myself

I realise I still have a long way to go and the more I think about it, the more I realise that my therapy journey will be one that lasts a lifetime. Initially, when I started this process, I guess I was looking for a quick fix.

Things actually came to a head one day while I was going through a rough patch in my relationship. My partner had had enough of my bad, bad, behaviour. At the time, he didn’t want anything more to do with me but suggested undergoing therapy for my own benefit, with no other agenda. He said of the situation “it must stop” and identified with typical insight and clarity that I had underlying problems that need to be identified and worked on. And I really do.

When my structures of dependence are taken away from me I find it very hard to cope and so I lash out. I am paralysed by inertia and blaming everything on the person that took me away from my state of blissful ignorance.

I was never happy, I don’t think ever in my life. I had little pockets of pleasure but no idea how to be myself. Without this sense of happiness in my core I did nothing but blame my partner, or anyone else I could, for all my own shortcomings.

The best technique I have learned about recently is that of mindfulness and I think can help me a lot. In a nutshell, the approach focuses one’s attention on the here and now. So, without judgment, consciously and deliberately being aware of the sensations that your body and senses are experiencing in the present moment.

I sometimes get so caught up in thinking about the past and what has brought me to where I am now – and the future, all the things I would like to be, that I forget that life is here and life is now. I am planning on attending a mindfulness course run by my local council but it’s not until April. Until then I am trying to be in the moment as much as I can.

Reaching out to the world. Getting to know you.

Hi readers

This is me reaching out to the world as I begin my journey into counselling, body and soul healing, and alternative therapies. This blog is intended to be a record of my progress and my thoughts and feelings along the long, hard road.

The problems I need to address are many and varied but in a nutshell:

I am a very angry and aggressive person. I guess it would be true to say that over time, I have developed strategies for dealing with and managing this in front of other people. But often I find myself seething inside, with terrible bad feelings often mixed with neurosis and circular thought patterns.

I am a very negative and critical person, often quick to put others in their place undeservedly, or to cast a gloomy mood over a happy situation. I am guilty of seeing the worst in a bad situation or of “predicting” that everything I do is going to be a failure – which is a self-fulfilling prophecy of course.

There are other issues too which I will explore in more detail in future posts.

I’ve written a sort of manifesto which I’ve included below.

anger

The path that has led me to the point I’m at now – the point of self-analysis, admitting where my flaws lie, and resolving to do something about it – is largely due to troubles I’ve had in my relationship. My partner (“J”) some months ago identified some disturbing traits that are inherent in my behaviour but it has taken this long for the situation to be the right one. He suggested CBT as a possible route, having taken a course of treatment himself in the past.

I could have lost my relationship because of my problems. I’m not saying all our difficulties were my fault, but I certainly didn’t treat J with the real love and respect that he deserves. And a lot of the time he was reacting to my “abusive, aggressive, rude, selfish, spoilt” behaviour. And I totally agree with that.

I am trying my utmost to feel like a normal person again, who’s strong and doesn’t lose sight of what is important in life.

I need to trust myself again and understand why I blow up the way I do so that I can prevent it from happening again, and again, and again and ruining my life and the lives of those close to me. I don’t suppose that bringing me up was a bed of roses so I hope that one day I can have a mature relationship with my parents too, if only to be able to reciprocate the love they have for me.

Getting rid of my demons is a huge challenge and a change that will be ongoing for the rest of my life probably.