Which complementary therapy or self development tool should you choose?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is in the news a lot recently. It’s a method you could learn to help you get in control of a situation or behaviour. It is great if you want to use a process to help you once you’re in a situation or performing a behaviour.
If you want to understand why you’re in that situation or reacting that way and stop yourself getting there in the first place, it may not be the best choice for you.
Walking to work one day, I couldn’t catch my breath. Every step was a labour. It felt like there was a huge elephant sitting on my chest. My head started spinning. I went hot and cold. I couldn’t focus.
I had to turn round, go home and book an emergency appointment with the doctor. He saw me about an hour later and sent me straight to the hospital. I was fixed up to monitors and machines and tested for all sorts. They were concerned I might have a dvt (deep vein thrombosis) – blood clots which might have developed during a recent flight.
About 5 hours later, reassured there was nothing serious wrong with me, they packed me off home.
I went back to the GP a few days later. He told me I’d been suffering from a panic attack. He then explained to me what I’d been doing to create those symptoms.
This is (a picture of) the piece of paper he used to explain it to me. At the end of the explanation he said …
“and that’s a 5 minute explanation of CBT, CBT in a nutshell”.
He was right.
As I was walking to work, I was planning my day. In time with my steps, I was working out what was happening and how I was going to deal with it. I was worrying that “I’m not good enough to cope with this”. I was becoming anxious. My thought was creating my anxious behaviour.
That was great! There was nothing physical at the bottom of my ‘condition’.
But I still couldn’t cope with that situation. How do I move on from there? How do I get back to work?
Six weeks later, the boredom of sitting watching daytime TV drove me back to work. I got used to that level of anxiety and became more tolerant of it. I was still anxious but I knew the signs of a panic attack and walked away when I saw one coming!