The day has finally arrived! Its like waking up to a much less exciting version of Christmas day! Today I began my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and put a plan in action to get past my ARFID.
I wasn’t nervous until I was sat in front of my therapist (who didn’t break eye contact once the whole session I swear, she’d be great in a staring contest!) and had to begin trying to figure out how I’m being affected by this condition.
The session began with a simple introduction to CBT and how it works. From what I understand, CBT aims to figure out what the thought process is in relation to anxiety triggered events, how it affects the patient, and then a solution is created by changing the thought process.
I was given the example of someone who is depressed and how their cycle goes as follows:
I feel low and depressed, this makes me not want to go to work, so I call in sick and stay in bed, I then feel low and depressed because I’m stuck in bed and not at work.
CBT would aim to intervene and break the cycle.
In my case, I am scared of trying to eat a lot of new foods, so I avoid new foods, which In turn means I never try new foods and will never know If i like them or not and will continue to eat the same foods forever. Think Groundhog day but with a beige meal repeated daily forever instead of a Winter-time American holiday.
I felt like I was back in school as I worked together with my therapist to fill in a worksheet full of boxes that allowed me to express in writing:
- Situations that cause anxiety related to eating
- Thoughts and Images that occur when I am put in those situations
- Moods/Emotions that I feel at the time
- Physical sensations in the body that are caused by foreign foods
- How I behave to try and cope when presented with an anxiety inducing situation
Filling in the sheet really helped to put things into perspective, and made me view this as an actual medical condition that works in horrible ways to upset me and my body, rather than just a way of living.
For my next session I have been given homework (Again, back to school realness!) I have an anxiety diary that I must fill in every time I’m in a situation that involves food that makes me uncomfortable, and I also need to create a visual aid that will show which foods I don’t eat, on some form of scale from mildly scary to full on NEVER EVER ENTERING THIS BODY – Baked Beans I’m looking at you!
I was asked to have a goal in mind for these sessions. By the end of all this, I want to be able to say to people that I am trying 2 new foods a week. That to me seems like a mammoth task but I want to get there!
Keep checking in to see if I ever get there, fingers crossed!
This weekend was my brothers wedding, so expect to see a post about my experience with the wedding meal very shortly!
Until next time