Thursday, 22 August 2013

Further food for thought: More notes from a CBT session

Disclaimer as before:

I wanted to put some notes down about my ongoing CBT sessions, primarily for my own benefit. While sometimes the content may sound fairly negative, these words do not represent my mood for the majority of the time when I am my usual (sort of) cheery self. I hope that some of these observations could prove useful for others who have ever used food or any other substances in a slightly unhealthy way. I am not a medical professional and so if anything here is ringing lots and lots of bells then I would suggest you go and speak to your GP in the first instance. CBT, as well as many other counselling services, are available on the NHS albeit with a waiting list.

For those of you who follow this blog for somewhat lighter ramblings about dieting and dining then do feel free to skip.

The power of the mind is utterly, utterly breathtaking. After a really positive couple of sessions on emotional acceptance, my sneaky brain responded by reverting to past form. A good few years ago I used to suffer regularly from horrible panic attacks which D and I nicknamed “wobbles”. These wobbles had all but disappeared but they have slunk back into the picture over the last few weeks, the little tinkers, and much as I am better at dealing them now than previously (at one stage my preferred method was to take to my bed like a Victorian maiden aunt for days at a time) they are still unpleasant in the extreme. I discussed this with Earnest Ross. He looked very earnest indeed and commented that the brain will go to extreme lengths to protect its sense of identity. If you start to try and unpick that – even the unhealthy bits – it will react. Which is fairly frustrating since I don’t want my sense of identity to be that of a dipsomaniac overeater with a tendency to lose the ability to move from the sofa when things get tough (this, by the way, is a recognised form of distress tolerance called withdrawal – not sheer bloody laziness, although it looks very similar).

The key, it seems, is to work on identifying one’s core values. Once you have those then you can start to identify actions and shape your behaviours in such a way that they contribute to or move towards a life which is built around things that are important to you. It sounds screamingly obvious, but then, so does the idea of being mindful and I know for a fact that it takes a great deal of concentration and effort to live in a consistently mindful way.

My core, it turns out, is pretty people orientated. I instinctively identify my values as being first and foremost based around my family and my relationship – I want to be a good wife, a good daughter, a good sister, a good aunt. I also, somewhat surprisingly, value my professional life highly. I have never thought of myself as desperately ambitious but, on reflection, I do set a lot of store by the fact that I am a professional woman with a job that is as demanding as it is rewarding. I have an idea of where I want to be in ten years and it will require hard work and effort but, with application, is achievable.

So it seems as if I am learning about who I want to be and where I want to go…I suppose that, in itself, is the first step on the road that actually takes me there.


  1. Sounds really interesting. I think I've been booked for a session of this which I'm feeling very sulky about since my suspicion is that they want me to be okay with being fat and I never, never will. Perhaps I could be a little less grudging!


    1. I find it very interesting myself, but then I enjoy navel gazing...