I recently went looking on the interwebs for some cognitive behavioral therapy worksheets. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a kick-ass way of examining your thoughts as they arise to analyze them and determine which are bogus and which will help you achieve what you want to achieve. Of course there’s a more scientific definition but in a nutshell, I find it helpful. I also find it very Buddhist. I first encountered in during my hospital stay a few years back.
I went looking for the worksheets because I'm in a tailspin of negativity and woe. WOE!
Well, I don't know about woe, but I know that I'm not functioning in "normal" range despite being able to go to work every day. I’m not doing my ADLs (activities of daily living) satisfactorily.
Many, many years ago I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The long and the short of it is that I’m anxious about everything, all the time. It doesn’t always show on the outside (I think I’m quite calm-looking on the outside, to the point of looking stern) but inside my guts are turning, my head is spinning and in general I think I’d feel better if I could just throw up. But since that’s not a good idea (and a whole other disorder in itself), I internalize the anxiety and occasionally indulge it with binge eating/shopping.
At present, and for the past several weeks, I haven’t been eating properly, and have not been taking care of myself (or taking my medicine correctly), my home, and my affairs. The main sign of my illness is my inability to manage my home... the dishes pile up, the trash piles up, the clothes pile up, and I can only manage to numbly roam through the internet for a few hours after work until I've deemed it's an acceptable time to go to bed. It really is a difficult thing with which to deal and it’s more than laziness. But you can't really tell anyone about it when you’re in it because they just look at you cross-eyed and ask WHY you can't do the dishes and put your clothes away. I know in their head they’re saying Just DO IT because I am saying the same thing to myself. Well, when your mind makes everything black and white, and when there's a nagging negative voice up there that assures you that no matter what you do, you're not doing it well, it all adds up to a situation in which doing nothing seems to be the best option.
I’m afflicted with a sense of perfectionism such that doing NOTHING is the only rational solution when nothing you can do will be good enough. I won’t do the dishes because I want them to go in that cabinet over there but that cabinet is holding the canned goods and I’d have to remove all the canned goods to replace them with the dishes but if I touched all the canned goods I’d have to put them in order (and ugh, what if I didn’t have an even amount?!) and what if some are expired and I have to empty them out and recycle them and then I’d have to take the recycling out and the trash out and I don’t like to go out to the trash area in the dark because of that one homeless guy who every now and then stands in the backyard shouting at the tree but also because I might see a neighbor and be forced to engage them in conversation when my hair hasn’t been washed in 2 days and it’s sticking straight up like a madwoman’s. OMG AM I MAD?!
Welcome to my mind.
So perhaps you can see why spending some time reviewing my CBT skills and putting them back into place would be helpful. I’ve spent the weekend trying to undo what weeks and weeks of neglect have amounted to. If I can figure out how to get photos onto my new computer, I’ll show you some of the results.