Monday, 25 February 2013

Stage One Exposure and Eddy Whiskers.

Firstly, let me introduce Eddy Whiskers, the latest addition to our family. Hamper G has wanted a cat/kitten for some time. I always told her; one will come along soon enough. There's no need to go and look for a cat, they come and choose you and he did. He's about 8 months old according to the vet, we took him there to be scanned to see if he was chipped or reported missing, no. He's a real softie, he'd sit all day having his chin, cheeks and ears stroked. He curls up to sleep in normal cat position then gradually rolls his top half over until he's lying on his back, stretches his paws up above his head and sticks his tongue out! . . I'll get some better photos eventually, but for now this is Eddy in full on chill mode;


 
Ok, you get the idea, I am a tad obsessed with his beauty at the minute . . .  The softness of his fur. The thick velvet of his paws, the silky smooth fur of his ears. The airy fine fluff on his tummy, short, flock-like stubble on his nose. Precious little creature that he is. That's Eddy.
 
In therapy, we've completed the preparatory work and made a start on low level exposure. Along with my weekly appointment, this takes an hour a day. An hour, at home, with no distractions, being fully focused and prepared to bring on anxiety and stay with it. Yes, stay with it. Not avoid it, not run from it. Stay there. There is a limit to how bad it can get. Most phobics, or indeed non-phobics, probably don't realise this as we're used to "avoiding" uncomfortable feelings. We might imagine what could happen, but we run away long before it can. Anything but facing the fear . . .Why? What do we believe will happen if we face the fear? Will the anxiety just continue to escalate? What will it lead to? Screaming? Crying? Palpitations? Sweats and shakes? Yes. For sure. Heart attack?  Death? No. There is a limit and when we reach this limit and stay with it, eventually it will descend, it will pass. Yes, really. And, what's more, the more we "use" this technique, guess what? the more tolerance we build up to it . . . So maybe the peak will last twenty minutes on the first "exposure" but after a week of doing this daily, for an hour, the peak will get shorter and, of course (hopefully), lower. I was utterly exhausted at the end of my first hour. I will write more about this technique and therapy as I progress. I find it fascinating and can see, in theory, how it works. In theory.
 
O yeah, my chest review. Being the expert avoider that I am, I managed to cancel, ignore or conveniently forget the last five or six appointments; having convinced myself that the results would not be good and that I would be referred to the hospital again. Fool that I am. It appears that walking four or five miles a day since September has improved my lung function to 70%. When I was first diagnosed with Emphysema (4 yrs ago ) my lung function was 47% . . .  I must be doing something right, as well as doing plenty "wrong".
 
65ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt;llllllllllllll56 4. That's Eddy's cryptic message.
 
Well, as much as I would like to sit here and write all day, I have to get on with life, starting with my hour of "forced anxiety" I must be bonkers. I had to take the weekend off as there were just too any people in and out of the house . . . There's no excuse today. Damn.
 
Hope you're all good today.  Sending love and thanks to you lovely folk x x

40 comments:

  1. I was just thinking of you and was going to leave a message as I hadn't seen you in a while. Sounds like you are just busy which is good. I think exposure definitely works. I used to be terrified of escalators but decided it was beyond stupid and just started using them. Not even close to an hour a day of course. It really didn't take long to become ok with them. I am still a half second hesitant but I doubt anyone notices. Public speaking or really any time I'm the focus of a group of people terrifies me. The terror makes me sick so bad that people simply don't ask me to do things or at least allow me to say no.

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    1. Oh dear - meant to mention that Eddie is adorable. And I love the name too. I hope the hamsters will remain safe! Macy watches our goldfish like tv and jumps at them as though she could get through the glass. Cats aren't very bright are they?

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    2. Hi Jeannie, Yes Eddy watches the hamsters, but they're all in cages now rather than open top tanks (only(!) eleven left). Think I might take him to be de-bolloked this week! Shhhh.
      Great to hear from you, I often think about your "ankle grabbing" phobia and think how brave you've been to face up to it. I also hate being the focus in a group of people, I just can't do it. Then again, it's rare that I find myself in that situation.
      Yes, pretty busy here as this therapy, plus the other aspects of CBT to combat depression, seem to take up a fair amount of time. Hopefully, time well spent.
      I hope all is well in your life Jeannie. Is your Grandbaby due in March? Love and hugs to all x x x

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    3. Saya sangat bersyukur atas rahmat yg diberikan kepada saya dibulan ini karna alhamdulillah melalui MBAH RAWA GUMPALA saya sekaran sudah bisa sukses atas nomor yg diberikan kepada saya dan saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW dari singapur yg gajinya tidak pernah mencukupi kebutuhan keluarga saya dikampun dan alhamdulillah berkat bantuan MBAH RAWA GUMPALA kini saya sudah bisa pulang kampun,saya bersama keluarga dikampun sudah punya usaha sendiri dan saya tidak pernah menyanka kalau saya bisah seperti ini,jika anda ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi MBAH RAWA GUMPALA di nomor 085-316-106-111...karna alhamdulillah saya menan nomor togel dari MBAH dan kalau uang indonesia 750 juta,,ini bukan rekayasa dari saya dari IBU RISKA.untuk lebih lenkapnya silahkan buka SITUS MBAH RAWA GUMPALA












      Saya sangat bersyukur atas rahmat yg diberikan kepada saya dibulan ini karna alhamdulillah melalui MBAH RAWA GUMPALA saya sekaran sudah bisa sukses atas nomor yg diberikan kepada saya dan saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW dari singapur yg gajinya tidak pernah mencukupi kebutuhan keluarga saya dikampun dan alhamdulillah berkat bantuan MBAH RAWA GUMALA kini saya sudah bisa pulang kampun,saya bersama keluarga dikampun sudah punya usaha sendiri dan saya tidak pernah menyanka kalau saya bisah seperti ini,jika anda ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi MBAH RAWA GUMPALA di nomor 085-316-106-111...karna alhamdulillah saya menan nomor togel dari MBAH dan kalau uang indonesia 750 juta,,ini bukan rekayasa dari saya dari IBU RISKA.untuk lebih lenkapnya silahkan buka SITUS MBAH RAWA GUMPALA

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  2. You ARE doing many things right. You are on a journey and as such, it's a process and you're doing it. I think you should be very proud of yourself.

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    1. Thanks Ms Moon. Having a mini break in the journey as I've been out of action with a cold since Tuesday (well, as much as three chidren will permit me to be out of action!) I was doing some serious wallowing today. Why haven't I got a Partner/Family/Friend who'll say "You just go to bed for a few days and we'll take care of it all" . . . If only.
      Ah well, we'll see what tomorrow brings x

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  3. There used to be a show on A&E here in the states that used that kind of therapy to help those with obesessive/compulsive disorder. Here's the link to the website if you want to check it out - http://www.aetv.com/obsessed/ I thought it was fascinating as well. Some people (like you) who were willing to work with the therapist did very, very well. Others...not so much.

    So glad to hear from you. Eddy looks lovely.

    Hugs my friend,

    Sherry

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    1. First I lost my reply to you . . And now it's underneath Furtheron's comment. I'm confused!

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    2. Ok, I'll try again. My second reply to you is under Furtheron's comment. The third reply met with a server error . . . so let's see what happens this time x

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  4. I love Eddy! I have acquired a cat,(Milo) thanks to my sons girlfriend moving in, then them both moving out, and leaving the cat here! Oh but I am enamoured with him, he is a black and white tonkinese with extra toes on every foot. Even my big, bad, dog loves him to bits and Milo happily rules the house.
    I think you are very brave to be confronting your phobia with such determination, keep up the good work. And as for walking, I do an hour a day, my personal trainer is the dog! And my doctor calls me a 'picture of health!' And I smoked for 25+ yrs. I gave up about 5 yrs. ago, and my lungs show no signs of damage at all now!
    I am very proud of your efforts, keep it up.
    Love Laura xxx

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    1. Hi Laura, Aren't they just great? I've just caught Eddy sucking his thumb!! Yes really, you know that little thumb they have on their wrist, well he was sucking it in his sleep . . . I gotta try and get a photo of that. He's not for real that boy.
      I've cancelled therapy for this week as I've finally got my first cold of the winter. I thought I was gonna get through without one but as long as it doesn't go down the chest infection road, I'll be good.
      So I'm trying to rest and wishing I had a (temporary!) partner to take over all the chores for a few days and stroke my brow and feel sorry for me . . . I could possibly teach Eddy the brow stroke thing ;-)
      Ah well, it's good to have friends here that I can gripe to. Thanks for your encouragement Laura. Hugs and love x x

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  5. Eddy is adorable!!!!! I love his bright pink nose and how his little tongue lolls out when he's sleeping. What a sweet baby! You're so right about them finding you when the time is right.

    That's great news about your lungs! I used to walk a few miles daily and now that I'm not walking so much I can feel a huge difference in my overall health. I think it's really the best exercise there is. Exposure therapy sounds intense. Good on you for keeping it up and working through it.

    sending love...jj

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    1. Good to see you back JJ. I just saw Eddy sucking his thumb! Well, I've never seen a cat do that before. I best keep the camera charged for the next time. He is indeed a sweet baby.
      I agree that walking has to be the best exercise. People rely way too much on cars (Hey, I probably would if I could drive) Being forced to walk so far to school has been a blessing, a well disguised one, which I fought for a while, but I'm seeing the benefits now . . . Apart from this week, I've got a wretched cold and would love to crawl out of bed into a car, or even better, stay in bed whilst some other did the school run, and everything else!
      Hoping all is good with you and yours JJ, Love and hugs x

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  6. Hooray. On several counts this post. I am thrilled that your lung function has improved so dramatically. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I am in awe at your courage in staying with your anxiety, and really, really hope it is much less now. And I love Eddy. He looks to be such a sweetheart. It may have been Hamper G who actively wanted him, but he has certainly wound those silky paws deep into your heart strings. As they do.
    Wonderful post. Big, big smiles from here.

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    1. Hi, Yes he's got me well wrapped round his furry little finger, big time. I just found him sucking on his thumb! Of all the things! He's a strange lad.
      I've been stopped in my tracks by a cold this week, the first, and hopefully last, one of the winter.
      I hope the SP's health is improving and that you're finding time to relax. Thinking of you both x

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  7. Such a cute cat! And glad that your lungs are healing. Definitely fresh air and good exercise will help. Good for you!

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    1. Isn't he just?
      Thinking of you, C and Pop tonight. Sending love and prayers for strength x

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  8. This sounds like what I did to myself when I was exposing myself to my triggers, Lovey. I forced myself to do things a little at a time and then when I went to counseling for the big ones, she had me "feel" my feelings instead of forcing them down and avoiding them and ignoring them. I'm proud of you my dear!! =))

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    1. Yes, It's all about facing up to it all and feeling the feelings, which runs parallel with addiction too. Just another way of "avoiding" feelings.
      I'm starting to feel quite grateful that I've got a cold this week and have let myself off for the week! It's very draining isn't it?
      I didn't have time to comment but I enjoyed your "dinner table tales" guest post, good stuff Lovey. And Elsie Amata now!? From L, to Elsie, to Elsie Amata. Still Lovey to me x x

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  9. My son actually BOUGHT a cat (in Windsor). That same cat now lives with us here in France, because he chose us. That's what I like about cats.... they know their own minds!

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  10. I am liking your furry companion. Great photos. Now that all your company has come and gone you can find some me time. http://walkingthetightropebarefoot.blogspot.com/ This is the link to my new (old) blog. I had to get a new url amid much cyber chaos. The title is still the same. You have made so much progress all the way around I do think you are just about grown up, lol...be well...

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  11. Hello Eddie.

    Good for you on the exposure therapy. I hope it goes well for you. Brilliant news on the chest front :-)

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  12. Bugger. I just lost a long reply to you!
    I think that's key to success with this type of therapy; being willing to do the work and having time to do the work.
    I've cancelled therapy, along with most other appointments this week as I've got a wretched cold. I couldn't even get up to do the school walk today. Thankfully, Geekster (14) took Hamper G to her school . . . I hope I can get up and face it all tomorrow.
    Eddy is a treasure, he's cuddled up next to me right now.
    Sending hugs x x

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    1. I think that is the key to any therapy - doing the work. Too often I think people get into something like that with the expectation that the "expert" will fix them and when they realise they are going to have to do the work they walk away - ever looking for the easy way out.

      Stick with it - once you're over the flu - you normally find you get out many times what you might put in on something like this. Good luck with it

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  13. Hey Cro, Susan and Furtheron! Nothing personal but Blogger won't let me reply to you on "reply". It's been playing up tonight.
    I'll try again tomorrow. My OCD will not (yet!) settle on one reply for three people . . . I'll be back x

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    1. Works for me... :-) I hope I'm not feeding your paranoia at all ;-) Actually Blogger was a pain the preverbiles early for me

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  14. There is always quite lovely about watching a sleeping animal

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  15. Cute kitty. : ). Just wondering - have you ever considered hypnotherapy ? I've heard of amazing success of treatment for phobias using it.

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  16. Lovey!! Congrats on the cat!! Hope you're feeling better soon, the flu sucks. Keeping working hard in therapy. You know the saying, "it works when you work it." =)

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  17. What a beautiful cat! Hope you feel better soon. I think it's wonderful that you are in therapy. Whatever works to improve the quality of our lives is worth the hard work. Enjoy life...we only go around once...xoxo

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  18. I hope your cat is hamster-proof... or rather, the hamsters are cat-proof!

    Hope you're OK. Sorry I haven't been round lately. Haven't been anywhere. So fed up of a life unlived on methadone so much want to get the HELL OFF IT (not onto MSTs like I said on my blog) on to NOTHING AT ALL... ¿know what I mean?...¿¿?? (¡!)

    (¡Aprendiendo español!)

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  20. Just checking in to see how you are. That spam comment above gave me a chuckle. Hope all is well with you. xx

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hope everything is O.K. Has spring sprung yet? Cos Autumn has finally arrived here with some cooler nights. (We don't say 'fall' here!) Think of you often.

    Laura xx

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