So I woke up this morning, same as I do most days hoping that its going to be a better day than the previous one or a "non anxious" day. I felt positive - the sun was shining and my boyfriend had a day off so I knew I wasnt going to be on my own and we would probably take my little girl out. I avoid driving since having my anxiety disorder due to my fear that I will faint or something bad will happen whilst I'm driving. Today I was going to drive in the car with my boyfriend as passenger, along familiar roads that I know well just as some practise for me. I started out okay until some van driver stopped and I had to squeeze through the smallest gap possible because he had moved down so far, my boyfriend shouted (its a new car) at me in the heat of the moment and made a comment about me driving so I stopped the car, got out and refused to carry on. I know that sounds OTT but I felt so stupid. Further up the road he apologised and we swapped so I could continue driving. My mood just dropped, I felt sad, upset, angry, really negative. As the day went on I felt better, we had some lunch out. I then received a phone call which was quite negative and left me in tears. I find that I'm not able to cope with my emotions just recently. I then had an initial CBT session over the phone, I had to talk about my anxiety disorder, how it effected me, what I would like to change etc Again I was left feeling drained and exhausted _ I find it hard to say what I think and feel in fear that "they'll think I'm crazy". I'm not normally a particuarly teary person but today my emotions were all over the place. Does anyone else find that when you have had a particularly anxious day you feel dreadful all day? Every little thing gets to you? I am always left with such an awful headaches as well? Dont know if this could be tension?
On a more positive note I dont know if any of you will find this helpful I was given it by my CBT Therapist.
The Poisoned Parrot
Imagine you're given a parrot. This parrot is just a parrot - it doesn't have any knowledge, wisdom or insight. It?s bird-brained after all. It recites things „parrot fashion? – without any understanding or comprehension. It?s a parrot.
However, this particular parrot is a poisoned and poisonous parrot. It?s been specifically trained to be unhelpful to you, continuously commenting on you and your life, in a way that constantly puts you down, criticising you.
For example, the bus gets stuck in a traffic jam, and you arrive at work 5 minutes late. The parrot sits there saying: "There you go again. Late. You just can?t manage to get there on time can you. So stupid. If you?d left the house and got the earlier bus you?d have arrived with loads of time to spare and the boss would be happy. But you? No way. Just can?t do it. Useless. Waste of space. Absolutely pathetic!"
How long would you put up with this abuse before throwing a towel over the cage, or getting rid of the parrot?
Yet we can often put up with the thoughts from this internal bully for far too long. Decades. We hear that „parrot?, believe the „parrot?, and naturally get upset. That then affects the way we live our lives – the way be behave towards others, how we are, what we think about others, what we think about the world, and how we think and feel about ourselves.
We can learn to use the antidote: just notice that parrot, and cover the cage! “There?s that parrot again. I don?t have to listen to it – it?s just a parrot”. Then go and do something else. Put your focus of attention on something other than that parrot. This parrot is poison though, and it won?t give up easily, so you?ll need to keep using that antidote and be persistent in your practice!
Eventually it will get tired of the towel, tired of you not responding. You?ll notice it less and less. It might just give up it?s poison as your antidote overcomes it, or perhaps fly off to wherever poisoned parrots go.