Self-help

Reading

Reading self-help books can be very useful. The more you can learn about the condition the better. You may find techniques and tips that may help, which aren’t detailed here. Also the fact that you are trying to help yourself  and your mind is occupied with the reading, often makes you feel better in itself!

There are also plenty of online resources that you can refer to. 

Writing

This is something I started doing of my own accord and it turned out to be very helpful for me. It may not be helpful for everybody, but it is certainly worth giving it a try. When a thoughts or worry goes round and round in your head and does not let up at all, get it down onto paper (or into a computer). Then when you find it circulating round in your mind again, you can tell yourself, that you don’t need to think about that one now, because you’ve already stored it on paper (or hard disk). Then that is one less thought circulating your mind. Another thought may pop up now. Write that one down too. And the next one, and the next one. Eventually your mind will get bored with trying to produce new negative thoughts as every time it comes up with one you are writing it down and storing it away. If this is during the night, when you want to be sleeping, you may find you will be able to fall back asleep once you have stored away on paper all these negative thoughts. And if it is during the day when you are trying to do something else, you will be able to get on better doing the thing that you want to be doing. You can tell yourself that you will process the thoughts later, but for now you need not bother about them.

It may be helpful to actively challenge these negative thoughts later, trying to apply some rationale to them to get them into perspective. You can also write down the rationale if you wish. You can do this later, or the moment that you have the thought. This may put the negative thought to bed once and for all. This is one of the CBT techniques.

The following  example demonstrates a hypothetical situation where you have a negative thought, you write it down and instantly challenge it using a CBT technique. Let’s say you have the following negative thought:

My husband is late home and he hasn’t called. Perhaps he has died in a car crash.

This thought goes round and round in your head. Write it down! Now write down some rational reasoning.

Rational Reasoning: Let’s assume that you know the following facts about the situation:

  • There are road works on the main road at the moment. It is not unusual he is late. He has been late many times since they started the road works.
  • He is working on an important project at the moment and is behind schedule. He is often working late at the moment.
  • I know his phone battery is on the way out. Maybe he is already on his way but couldn’t call because of a dead phone battery.
  • Since I’ve been ill, he’s been doing bits of shopping on the way home. He could have stopped off at the shop.
  • There are actually many more reasons why he could be running late.

You see, by actively writing down the thought on paper and then challenging it, you have proved to yourself that there are many innocuous reasons for his being late, and that the one poisonous reason that your mind focussed on, is in fact a very unlikely scenario.

 Self-help groups and forums

You may find that talking with other people with similar conditions is helpful. This may be either on-line, or at group meetings local to you. Browse the web for online groups, or check out local groups that you could visit.