I’m going to jot down a few things I’ve been learning in therapy. You might find this boring but I’m doing it mostly for my reference. I know I’m going to need to review these things from time to time. I tend to forget. Hopefully you will find something in here that can help you too. Doris asked me to share my knowledge with anyone I thought could use it. Just think of it as getting free therapy. You’re welcome. ūüôā

Doris does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT revolves around how one thinks…how one thinks about himself/herself and the world around them. All our thoughts control our feelings and our feelings in turn, control our emotions, physical feelings (heart racing, calm, anxiousness, happiness, etc) and our actions. Pretty simple, right? So if we can control our thoughts and express our feelings in the right way, this should lead to feeling better physically. Many times all these things can lead to physical ailments like anxiety, high blood pressure, headaches, etc.

Often if one doesn’t express his/her feelings, he/she will harbor internal stress about it leading to things like acting out in anger. Have you ever bitten someone’s head off and realized later that it had nothing to do with the situation with that person but was more about something that happened to you earlier leaving you feeling angry? Yeah. I’ve done a lot of that in my lifetime. And I don’t feel good about it.

One KEY fact I’ve learned: I am NOT responsible for other people’s behavior. I can’t control how other people act. But what I CAN control are my own thoughts (and as I said before, my thoughts will eventually result in my actions). ¬†For example, my husband will often stomp around mad, slamming doors, and cussing because he is frustrated or angry about something. I have no idea why but my first thoughts are that I’ve done something wrong or something to make him angry. RUBBER BAND THERAPY: Now I wear a rubber band on my arm and if I have a thought that I am responsible for his behavior, I snap the rubber band. Not my problem! If he is angry about something, it is HIS¬†responsibility¬†to explain his feelings. Along with that, it is MY¬†responsibility¬†to tell him how his behavior makes me feel. It makes me feel scared, paranoid, and uncomfortable in my own home. And if I tell him often enough, he should eventually modify his behavior and NOT stomp around anymore. He should express his frustration or feelings before it leads to the stomping and slamming.

Here is another example. I woke up one Monday morning in a fine state of mind. I sat down to begin my work at my desk. I worked for about 10 hours that day on my payroll hours that were due in to my boss. My boss will generally review what I have and let me know any changes he wants made. I sent him the file I was working on even though it was not complete. I was assuming he would review it and get back to me with changes. What actually happened is that he distributed it to all the upper management of the company thinking it was ready to go. I was very upset because it made me look like I was¬†incompetent. I immediately began to feel incompetent and worthless. I started to get angry and cry. What should I have done? Well, first I know I’m not worthless or they wouldn’t pay me and keep me employed. I can’t control my boss’ action of sending the report. But I can look at the situation and decide next time, I should TELL my boss not to distribute the report until we’ve discussed it and it is finalized. I can’t change what has already happened; I can do better next time though.

Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over a mistake. Think about it and decide how you can do BETTER next time.

We also discussed another disagreement Luke and I had in July over buying a new¬†jet ski. Long story short, when I told him I did not agree with him buying a brand new jet ski and financing it for 5 years, he said, “I never get anything I want” and walked inside slamming the door. I told my therapist he acted like a child. She started to ask more about his upbringing. I explained how his dad left when he was 10 because he no longer wanted to be married anymore. And his mother, a¬†school teacher¬†was left to take care of the three boys alone. Doris piped in and said, “So I’m sure they had to sacrifice at times. Have ¬†you ever thought about how he might see this as yet another toy he can’t have?” I felt horrible. Don’t get me wrong…he’s still not getting it! But I did feel horrible.

Still…his behavior is out of my control and I shouldn’t take it personally. I am slowly retraining myself to STOP and consider the things I’m thinking. Is the thought unrealistic? Is it unhelpful? STOP! Snap the rubber band. Re-think it.

For example, my mistake at work. “Damn, DeAnna. That was stupid. Now you look like an idiot.” SNAP!! No. “Well, that didn’t work out very well. I can do better than that!” As for the¬†argument¬†with Luke, it’s not my fault he didn’t have the greatest childhood. Sure I feel for him but that doesn’t mean he is entitled to everything he wants in life now. He should consider what would make more sense for our family…like a small boat we can ALL fit in. Nonetheless, I can’t help his behavior. ¬†Make sense?


Three Little Birds

Sometimes the one thing I need most is to hear my Mama or my Daddy (yes, even my Daddy) tell me that everything will be fine. I knew when they told me “it’s going to be okay” that it had to be true. They wouldn’t lie to me or mislead me. And armed with that knowledge, I could comfortably move forward.¬†

Now I’m grown and I no longer have them here to tell me that. I thought about that this morning in the shower. I’ve been longing for years to have someone tell me that everything would be fine and it is all going to be okay. When I feel at my most depressed, I think that is all I need to hear. But no one is saying it.

I am now going to tell MYSELF that. I can no longer be reliant on others to hold me up; I must take control of my thoughts and myself. So today, I told myself, “Everything is going to be okay.” And I believe it.

Sing with me, okay? http://youtu.be/zaGUr6wzyT8