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Thread: Schema therapy

  1. #11
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    Aug 2019
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    200

    Re: Schema therapy

    I had another schema session yesterday and did an imagery re-scripting exercise. It's purpose was to teach me how to be compassionate to myself and build my self-esteem. We talked a bit about how I feel like my GP and other doctors think I'm crazy because of my health anxiety and how I hate going to them for health worries, because I'm ashamed, but at the same time can't help myself. My therapist asked what evidence I had that my GP or other doctors think that and I realised there was none, it was all my interpretation and assumption and based on my shame about my health anxiety.

    That made me realise that I have a lot of assumptions about what people think of me that I don't have any proof is true.

    And this negative way of thinking about myself feeds into my fear of being alone, of getting sick and having no one to look after me.

    Apart from my big meltdown last week, my health anxiety has been relatively steady though. I'm using a new mantra "If something happens, I'll cope" when scary health thoughts pop into my head.

    It's a work in progress, but I do feel progress is being made.

  2. #12
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    Aug 2019
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    200

    Re: Schema therapy

    So I got through Christmas without succumbing to a big health anxiety spiral, but it was a close run thing. I have to say my therapy really helped get me over the line.

    The exercise I did in my last session was about visualising myself as a child and I've been using that a lot this week.

    I've been reminding myself that my anxiety is me as a child and in doing so I'm able to be more compassionate and less angry with myself for the strength and frequency of my health anxiety fears.

    The other thing that's working well is putting distance between myself and my health anxiety. When the scary thoughts come I'm reminding myself that my life is a story and I'm watching it unfold. I don't have to fear it, just be interested in what happens next, good or bad. I'm finding this really calming.

    So far the two biggest benefits of schema therapy have been recognising the level of fear I have in my life of all things (not just health) and recognising how much I engage in negative thinking. I'm starting to identify them both in daily life and that's helping my anxiety immensely.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    2,341

    Re: Schema therapy

    Quote Originally Posted by carriewriting View Post
    I have to say my therapy really helped get me over the line.
    Good to hear!
    __________________
    I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another. ~ John Lennon

  4. #14
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    Aug 2019
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    200

    Re: Schema therapy

    So I started the year confident, positive and enthusiastic about the year ahead, but this weekend I've crashed and burned with an old fear resurfacing.

    I'm pretty sure this is my vulnerability to harm and negativity schemas being triggered by my decisions to make changes in my life. I get so scared by the prospect of happiness or success and sabotage with HA is a pattern.


    The good news is I have therapy this week and I haven't fallen back into Googling, but that might be because I read pretty much everything on the internet about this disease i fear during my breakdown in 2019

    In the meantime it's back to scrubbing floors and cleaning windows for me.
    Last edited by carriewriting; 10-01-21 at 20:09.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    12,983

    Re: Schema therapy

    You haven't "crashed and burned", Carrie. You've recognised and pinpointed your triggers. You fear being optimistic for the future because if you are you'll jinx yourself and get your "just deserts" for having hope.

    I don't know anything about schema therapy but i wouldn't try to beat these feelings into submission. These feelings currently have power over you but they are not based on fact, just fear. You made a plan to manage insecurities around care issues with any potential illness? Maybe having a visual prompt of what you discussed would help prevent a rapid spiral? Just writing down a series of bullet points with as little language as possible to get you back on track?

    Please don't wear yourself out with the cleaning? x

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    200

    Re: Schema therapy

    Thanks Pulisa. I'm feeling calmer today. My therapist got in touch to change my appointment and we had a chat about what's been going on. She said we're also going to try some exposure and response therapy to help with my obsessive thoughts about illness. I do think I have an OCD component to my health anxiety, so I'm looking forward to tackling that too.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    12,983

    Re: Schema therapy

    I think that the majority of people have an OCD component to their HA so I'm sure your therapist will want to try some different techniques to see what you respond to best.

  8. #18
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    Aug 2019
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    200

    Re: Schema therapy

    I've just had my 6th schema appointment. I did a visualisation exercise where I recalled a time when I was very afraid and then visualised what I needed in that moment eg. a hug, someone to help me, support me etc. The idea is now when I feel afraid eg. health anxiety I recall the comfort I felt in the visualisation.


    My healthy anxiety is still pretty bad, but the therapy is definitely helping. When I fall into a spiral now I have a worksheet where I identify the schemas that are in play eg. vulnerability to harm, pessimism. I also write down what I'm thinking and that's been an eye opener. The way I think about myself during a spiral (and probably in general) is very harsh. I need to practice being nicer to myself.

    Another thing that's come out in therapy is that I'm really focussed on "fixing" myself, both physically (weight, fitness), mentally (anxiety) and emotionally (relationships). This is part of the defectiveness/shame schema so we're going to be doing some more work on self-acceptance.

    So that's where I'm up to. Next appointment is in 3 weeks so I'll share more then.

    I did enjoy this video this week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL04RtVvA28 The look on the woman's face when the therapist suggest she think about her anxiety as an opportunity is priceless He's right though.

  9. #19
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    Aug 2019
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    200

    Re: Schema therapy

    Session number 7 (I think) last week. We talked a lot about my need to feel prepared for the diagnosis of a serious illness. Hence hypervigilance, predicting bad test results and constant checking followed by extreme research on treatment, surgery, side effects etc. I feel like if I learn everything I can and "deal" with it, then I won't be out of control if it happens.

    My therapist asked what did control give me? I said it was a feeling of being able to keep my "game face" on. Not breaking down and not being able to help my family deal with it my illness or impending death. Not being weak or vulnerable. Being strong.

    Then she asked why I need to have my game face on? Why can't I break down or be vulnerable if something bad happens? Why do I always have to be strong?

    I said because that's what everyone expects from me. I've always been super responsible. One year at my work Christmas party I even got an award for being "the glue that holds everyone together". My brother told my other brother I'm "the boss of the family" now my mum died. I do everything (birthdays, Christmas, finances, housekeeping, cooking, kid and pet wrangling). And much as it stresses me out, it also gives me positive reinforcement and validation. I struggle to connect with people so acts of service is how I do it, but at a big cost to myself.

    So that was a lot of unpacking and food for thought. It's the self sacrifice schema at work with a bit of defectiveness schema thrown in for good measure.

    I had thought my health anxiety was mainly fear of not having anyone to look after me, but it obviously goes a lot deeper than that.

    I'm now working on putting myself first more often and letting myself express my emotions rather than stuffing them down all the time.

    Slowly but surely I feel like I'm getting to the core of my health anxiety.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    200

    Re: Schema therapy

    When I got the reminder about my appointment this week my first reaction was annoyance at myself because I knew I'd made no progress since my last appointment. At that one I'd talked about how I needed to be helping myself eating better, exercising more and getting more sleep. I hadn't been doing any of those things and my anxiety had been through the roof. But after thinking about it I realised I was being pretty hard on myself. The past 3 weeks have been really tough. I've been dealing with the stress of upcoming medical tests, a boy at my son's school took his own life and it's the anniversary of my mum's death. No wonder I was feeling low and comfort eating. So this appointment I vowed to be kind to myself between visits.

    At this appointment we talked a lot about my negativity schema. How I believe only bad things happen to me and how that fuels my health anxiety. I've got a flash card that I'm going to use for the next few weeks to challenge my negative thoughts and overeating (which leads to more health anxiety). You can see the example flash card here http://www.johnbarletta.com/documents/FlashCard.pdf

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