How CBT Changed My Life

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Are you suffering from depression or anxiety? Have you wondered if CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) would help you get out of that dark hole? Hopefully i can shed some light on how CBT changed my life for the better and hopefully yours too.

 

Having suffered with anxiety and depression all my life I thought that I would never be free of it.

 

I didn’t have a blessed childhood, or even a nice one. My childhood was not a happy one. I can count on one hand my good memories, the rest are fraught with abuse, sadness and feeling of being desperately lonely.

 

My teens didn’t go much better and as soon as I turned 18 I left home and never went back.

 

Living by myself was hard but infinitely better than being in an abusive family. By the time I turned 20 I already had a child, home and loving partner. Most thing people in their 30’s are only just starting to achieve.

 

After my first child, I suffered post-natal depression, I was put on tablets that made me feel worse and sent for counselling. The counselling helped tackle some of the deep seated sadness i felt due to the abuse i has suffered as a child, but the anxiety was always never far away.

 

I hid it well. Having small bouts of low points regularly throughout my 20’s I always felt I was never completely happy like it would all fall apart eventually.

 

During my third pregnancy however, I began to become very low. I suffered horrendous Hyperemesis Gravidarum and spent many weeks in hospital. There were times I fantasied about jumping out of the 3rd floor window of the hospital because I could no longer cope with feeling so sick and unwell every day.

 

As the pregnancy went on I continued to feel low, unable to work and alone during the week as my husband worked away. I spent a lot of time sleeping trying to forget how sick I felt.

 

When my son was born via section I felt immediately disconnected from him. Like he wasn’t mine. He cried all day every day. Only really settling for others. It knocked my confidence and i just didn’t feel the ‘happy’ I had done with my previous 2 children, yet I felt guilty for not being happy. I had it all, healthy kids, a nice home and financial stability. So really i should have been the happiest person alive. I wasn’t.

 

During my 6 week check I lied to the health visitor when asked how I felt. It was around 3 months after my son’s birth that I realised I really was not coping. Reluctant to take medication I booked in for a course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). However, within a few weeks I had become recluse and started to contemplate suicide.

 

I packed my older 2 off to their dads and I locked the doors and turned off the phone. I was found by a worried friend a few days later and taken to see my GP the same day.

 

Put on medication immediately i was told that it could take up to 6 weeks for the medication to get to work. I was not sure if I could cope with 6 more weeks of feeling at rock bottom.

 

Within a week though, I had noticed a change. Like weight had been lifted from me and suddenly I no longer felt suicidal. Others who didn’t know my depression worries noticed the positive change too. Despite this the feelings of anxiety and sadness remained.

 

I started a course of CBT shortly after and each week I went, we discussed different techniques and how to combat self-sabotaging thoughts. I learned to challenge fear and slowly began to clear my life of any negativity.

 

Most woman can relate to the pressure to be ‘everything to everyone’. To people please and forget to put yourself first now and again.

 

I had surrounded myself with people who used me for my kindness. As I started to look after myself. Say no, and no longer allowed myself to be used. I noticed that my so-called friendships dwindled.

 

It was hurtful to see the ‘friends’ I had done so much for, dump me when I was no longer useful. The same friends who has dismissed my depression and hadn’t been there in my darkest times.

 

The final task in my CBT journey was to ‘cut out the chaff’. I got rid of the toxic things and people out of my life and moved on.

 

6 months had passed since my first admission of PND and finally during a family holiday I realised that I was no longer feeling sad or depressed. I felt happy. Confident and for the first time in many years looking forward to the future.

 

Since then I have suffered with another bout of depression. Which was brought on by the stress of an ill child, but I identified quickly that I wasn’t coping. I dealt with it swiftly and within 4 months was back to normal and had stopped all medication.

 

CBT changed my life and the techniques I learned 7 years ago I still use daily. I have learned to accept sad feelings, know they never last long and that a good night’s sleep usually helps to clear my mind and see a way around the situation causing me distress.

 

I know that things are never as bad as they seem. And that asking for help is not weakness. I have learned anger is not a bad thing, it’s how we express it that counts.

 

I have learned to talk. To put myself first. But the most overarching feeling I have is of self-confidence and self-love. Something I never had. I believe in myself and what I am capable of. As a result, I have coped well with many of the challenges life has thrown at me since. I have built a successful business and helped hundreds of families. I have learned i am worthy of love.

 

Of course, I have my wobbles. The days where I feel like I am faking it. Then I reflect on my day, what I have and how lucky I am. And can see that CBT changed my life for the better. I remain thankful for the process, the hard work that CBT was paid dividends and changed me for the better. It closed lots of negative doors and opened some of the most positive windows, which when i climbed through took me to places i never though i could reach. I am truly grateful.

 

Do you have a CBT story you would like to share? Please let us know below.

 

Woman alone on a bench with writing over the top reading How CBT changed my life

 

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