Tough day

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.

8 Replies

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  • Hi Scooby, I so know what you mean with the headaches - when I've had a stressful experience I get the worst tension headaches. My main problem is with my jaw - I clench it when I'm anxious and it is continually clicking! Do you see an osteopath at all? I see a chiropractor for a back problem but she also works on my jaw and neck to relieve the tension.

  • Hiya, thanks for responding, how are you doing? I have seen An osteopath in the past, it did help, turned out I was really tight around my neck and chest and they were able to reduce some of this tension x

  • Hi Scooby.

    Really sorry about your bad day. I find that my partner does that sometimes and it's not intentional and he doesn't mean to hurt me, I just feel very sensitive about things sometimes. But I don't think you overreacted. For you this was a big step and things like that don't help. But it's nobodies fault. I think people who don't suffer don't realise things can make you take a big step back.

    I feel like that when I am having a bad day. I end of feeling so tired and fuzzy and yes I experience headaches too. It's such a mental fight to get through the day when you feel that way and by the sounds of it you had a particularly active day. This probably took it out of you. But you did good :)

    The Parrot story is good. I've only just started thinking like that. I'm very uptight and I would be 15 minutes late for work and think 'It's my own fault, I can't even get out of bed properly, I'm useless' then I would get annoyed at myself. But now I think, you know what, it's a job and I work hard. I didn't do great today but it's not the end of the world. And I find that I come in and nobody notices. I think this whole thing has had a positive reaction for me because it's changing the way I think and feel. I was at a point where everything had to be perfect and if it wasn't, I'd be frustrated and angry, now, as long as myself, my partner and my family are happy and healthy and life is ticking along, that's all that matters. xxx

  • Hiya Mandy, how are you? Thanks for responding to my blog! Was a horrible day yesterday, thankfully today is going much better! I'm at work today so trying to stay focus on work, although I have been aware of my mind wandering at times!!! I can really relate to what you're saying about the negativity, I knew I could be very negative and hard on myself but having spoken to cbt therapist yday I didn't really quite how hard on myself I was x she made me

    See I'm trying to run before I can walk and not giving myself a fighting chane because I knock myself down before I even try! She made me realise that in order to fight my anxiety and achieve my goals u will have to really break it down in to small goals, no matter how small and then increase them slowly! I think I expect too much as once because I can't accept how silly I feel about how small some of goals are and how silly they will be to other people?! Definitely something iv got to work on! X hope you're having a better day x x

  • Hi Scooby. You sound much better today :) The CBT sounds like it is really helping. I think that's true about the small steps because I suppose you could make your anxiety worse by propelling yourself into something. I think as long as you feel you are doing some good for yourself, don't concentrate on what other people think because the more you work towards your bigger goals, the more confident you will become and soon you won't even think of others :)

    I think I was nervous about sharing my goals with my partner and others intially because I felt like they would think I was crazy. He would go to work and say 'can you walk the dog', not understanding how I was feeling, and I'd curl up into a ball panicking because I felt under pressure to do this for him as he was working so hard. Eventually I just had to tell him, and he had to come with me after about 6 days of not being able to leave the house. Eventually he understood what a big deal everything was to me and has since been really supportive.

    I'm doing good thank you :) I have to say since I've cut out caffeine and alcohol I feel a lot better. I've worked on my smaller goals (Getting my hair done, meeting a friend after work, going on longer walks) and I'm now at the big one...camping on the weekend! A night away from my comfort zone - home. I'm a bit nervous but as I've been OK through everything else I'm hoping this will be fine :). Have you set yourself any goals recently? xxx

  • Thanks for replying Mandy! Really helps I find knowing that people have taken the time to read my blog and reply x I am having a better day, work has been okay and iv tried to remain busy, there has been moments here my mind has wandered and iv felt bit funny but iv tried to distract myself with work! I haven't achieved any goals yet really, I think I need to start from

    Scratch, Iv allowed myself to believe I'm incapable of achieving anything regardless of how small it is so first iv got to start believing in myself and trusting that I can cope with it even if things do t go to plan! Sounds like you're doing brilliantly, you must be so chuffed!! Are you camping away with friends? I'm sure you will love it once you're there Nd you realise you can do it :) x

  • Hi :) Ah That's good. I have to say. I'm so tired this morning that when I read one of the sentences when you said 'I've felt a bit funny', I read it as 'I've felt a fit bunny'!! Bed for me when I get in!

    Well I had planned to go camping with my bf and our dog but unfortunately it's chucking it down so it will be waterlogged at the campsite. :( So I plan to get some nice food in and hopefully squeeze in a catch up of 'Made in Chelsea' (Recently become obsessed with this programme much to my bf's disdain!)

    Do you have any plans for the weekend or are you taking it easy?

    I am so pleased the anxiety has gone. I have the odd day where my stomach flips and i'll feel my heart banging in my chest but I can cope with that and it's very few and far between. I think it just reached a point where I realised through all of the attacks I was still breathing, walking and talking and I just thought I'm going to get on with it. I won't watch anything to do with hospitals or medical things though - that's still a bit too much.

    I saw a post of yours on another of my questions regarding how your anxiety started. I can understand why you are scared of driving now. That sounds like a horrible thing to go through but it's good that you took a step to get back in the car.

    x

  • I'm tired today too!! How has your day been? Iv just finished work so happy about that :) x shame about the camping but you will get there! Sounds like you've got a good weekend planned regardless! Iv no plans yet, my partner is off so hopefully we will do something nice, especially as he is away all week for work next week which I'm really not looking forward too!! X I'm gonna try cath up on some telly tonight as its stacking up on the sky plus!! Iv jus started reading that book at last a life which iv heard so many people talking about so looking forward to reading more of that! X sounds like you're definitely doIng well with your goals! I hope I do soon too x

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