CBT Update: A New (Almost) Comfort Zone

I was writing in my journal this morning (I love my paper and pens. Stationary whore right here.) and one of the things I was reflecting upon was my progress with my CBT.  Or how I felt (as I seem to before every appointment with my therapist) more like my lack of progress.


In our last session, we devised a plan where I would expose myself to more environments where there would be balloons e.g. shopping centre, restaurants, events etc and try to manage my distress levels.  Bonus if it involved a toddler with a balloon!  But this has not happened.  I could possibly use the reason that I have returned to work so am still getting my head round my time management, but this would probably just be an excuse.  Trying to avoid avoidance is hard, especially as I feel like I want my therapist to know I am trying and doing my best to make this work for me.  I feel like such a people pleaser at times – like at work I feel like I want to work really hard so I’m doing at least my fair share so that I am seen as an asset and valued for being there.


Anyway, I digress.

Progress hadn’t been made in the way I’d hoped, so I had a little word with myself.  I’m at the stage of CBT now where the exposure is getting more and more scary in terms of being unable to tolerate my distress.  I remembered there was a balloon in the crisp box on the top shelf (don’t ask) so I got it down and gave it to toddler to play with.  I still put my hands up to my ears a couple of times, despite trying to remind myself it was just a feeling and I was to observe it from afar.  I managed to let him have it for a few minutes before I burst it myself with a pin.


Admittedly, I burst it so it wouldn’t be there and wouldn’t be a threat anymore.  I then blew up and burst 3 more balloons in succession (making a game of it for toddler) and realised that this is the current limit of my comfort zone.


When I am doing it myself, I am in control and although the noise still starts me a little bit this is where I’m at and where I feel I need to keep working on it.  Even if it means me standing alone in the kitchen blowing up and bursting balloons, and it’s a sideways diversion from what I was “supposed” to be doing, it’s still progress.


I think I’m still in awe that a lifelong phobia is slowly being chipped away at the grand old age of 31.

This willingness malarkey is really helping too; I willingly ran 6k last night and will willingly go and pick up husband from the station later.


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