Thursday, 19 April 2007

CBT second session

I was anxious to get started on the therapy, but we talked at length again about Jon and my adoption.
"It was when I first held Jon in my arms and experienced that rush of all encompassing love that I felt complete. Now I had something that was really mine, that shared my genes and was part of me," I said.
Dorothy looked at me nodding in an appropriately sympathetic manner.
"It's difficult to explain, that void. It's still there, and probably always will be. It's the given away feeling. No matter what the circumstances surrounding your birth were, or however good or bad your present life is, you can't get passed it. You were given away."
"Yes," she said.
"Perhaps that's why I was so obsessed with Jon and Kathryn. I wanted them to be successful. When you give birth to a child, you have such hopes and dreams for their future, but it doesn't always turn out as you planned," I said thinking of Jon. You shouldn't expect your children to fulfill your frustrated ambitions, to be what you weren't. I don't think I ever did that. I just wanted them to have a better life. I don't think I was a pushy mum. I asked Kathryn that once and she said I was very supportive, not pushy. When it first happened, Jon's arrest, I blamed Jon for his hedonism and lack of regard for us, then I blamed myself, and then I blamed Dan, and Kathryn for being the favourite, and then I blamed the world and everything in it, and finally I came to terms with it. It took me a long time, but I've accepted it. You have no choice. It's either give up and go crazy, pretend it never happened, or do something positive. I've tried to act positively to help him, and have succeeded in a lot of ways. Now, it just makes me sad."
"Do you still think negatively towards Jon?"
"Well, sometimes negative thoughts do creep in, but I try to dismiss them. I'm not proud of his crime," I said, looking down, avoiding her glance. "The opposite. But I'm very proud of the way he's handled prison. He's not felt sorry for himself. He's kept out of trouble, but most of all he's used his sentence to improve himself."
"In what way?"
"Educationally, spiritually, emotionally. The therapy sessions with the psychiatrist have helped him to understand his extreme behaviour. If he can recognise these destructive behaviour patterns, then he can develop strategies to deal with them."
"He's lucky to have so much love and support."
"That was never an issue for me or Dan, or Kathryn. He's our son and we would have stood by him no matter what."

"When do the negative thoughts start?" she asked.
"The minute I open my eyes. The mornings are the worst time. I can't get myself out of bed."
"The bed can be very comforting."
"It's not. I'm not lying there thinking how nice is this, I'm so warm and cosy. I'm lying there thinking negative thoughts, and then I feel guilty for having the negative thoughts, and then I look at the clock and realise I'm going to be late which creates more negative thoughts, which makes it harder to get out of bed. When I finally drag myself from between the sheets I'm sluggish. On work days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I set the alarm for 6.30 even though I don't leave the house until just before 9.00 because it takes me so long to get myself together. I sit on the edge of the bath unable to move, feeling sad, ruminating. On my days off, its worse because I don't have to get up."
"How do you feel when you get to work?"
"I have feelings of anxiety before the class, but once I'm in I enjoy it. I love teaching and I like my students. I have to be upbeat and that does me good. It makes me get myself together."
"Yes, it's very positive, that you can do that. What don't you like about your job?"
"The endless paperwork. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I have to do it well, so I put pressure on myself and get very stressed. We are having an observation soon, and I'm getting stressed about it already."
"Is it very important?"
"Yes, but I always get a high grade. Last year I got a grade 1."
"I'm not surprised when you put so much work in. You need to relax more. Does it matter so much if you don't get a grade 1?"
"No. I'm nearly sixty. What can they do?"

She handed me a piece of A4 with four oval shapes drawn on it. Above each shape a word was written, thoughts, emotions behaviour, physical. "These are the four buttons," she explained. "They affect each other and create a vicious circle of negativity."

She wrote down some of my thoughts in the first egg shape and the resulting emotions in the next, the behaviour resulting from the emotions, and the physcial effect came last. For homework, I have to write down my thoughts and how they make me feel emotionally and physically, in a sort of diary.

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