This blog is not a substitution for consulting with a medical professional. I do not have any formal training in medicine, psychology or cognitive therapy. I am simply sharing my personal experience in hopes that others will benefit as I have.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Personal Bill of Rights

This post is about a wonderful tool that we were taught in Cog (Cognitive Therapy) to help us practice assertion skills and to help empower ourselves. This is a copy of a document called the "Personal Bill of Rights" straight from my Sharp Mesa Vista Cognitive Therapy Manual:

I have the right to...
  1. Ask for what I want
  2. Say "NO" to requests or demands I cannot meet
  3. Express all of my feelings, both positive and negative
  4. Change my mind
  5. Make mistakes and to not be perfect
  6. Follow my own values and standards
  7. Say "NO" to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe or it violates my values
  8. Determine my own priorities
  9. Not be responsible for others' behaviors, feelings or problems
  10. Expect honesty from others
  11. Be angry with someone I love
  12. Be uniquely myself
  13. Feel scared and say, "I'm afraid"
  14. Say, "I don't know"
  15. Not give excuses or reasons for my behavior
  16. Make decisions based on my own feelings
  17. My own needs for personal space and time
  18. Be playful and frivolous
  19. Be healthier than those around me
  20. Be playful and frivolous
  21. Be in a non-abusive environment
  22. Make friends and feel comfortable around people
  23. Change and grow
  24. Have my needs and wants respected by others
  25. Be treated with dignity and respect
  26. Be happy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cognitive Therapy Tip #2: "Should"

Before my intensive cognitive therapy program, I used the word "should" like I use the word "the." (Or the word "like" as a filler word as some of you that know me personally can attest to. :-)) The word "should" often fills us with unnecessary guilt. (Wow, I'm using so many quotations in this post I feel like a Chris Farley character. I don't "bathe properly"; I "frighten small children.")

Here are the instances we were taught that the word "should" should only...I mean, here are the three instances in which it is appropriate to use the word "should":

  1. Laws of the universe (i.e. "the sun should rise tomorrow")
  2. Legal cases (i.e. "the plaintiff should contact the defendant about a lawsuit")
  3. Morals and ethics (i.e. "People should not steal")
Now granted, my silly husband decided to take this & run with it one evening. He wanted to show me how much it applies. He started saying things like, "One should face the TV when watching a show. One should sit on the toilet when doing their business. One should put the keys in the ignition if they want to drive." And so on.

So, the bottom line is be mindful about what is truly appropriate to feel guilt for.

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

I will teach you an incredibly powerful & effective method I learned in cognitive therapy for karate chopping negative thoughts and discovering what is at the root of all of them. Ooooo, my fingertips are tingling with excitement! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cognitive Therapy Tip #1: Scheduling Activities

"Cognitive therapy seeks to help the patient overcome difficulties by identifying and changing dysfunctional thinking, behavior, and emotional responses. This involves helping patients develop skills for modifying beliefs, identifying distorted thinking, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors." 

Wikipedia: Cognitive Therapy

I recently completed a cognitive therapy program at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. I found it to be extremely helpful; giving me practical tools that I can use every day to change my distorted thinking. 

One of the first things that they teach us to master is activity scheduling and ideally scheduling activities the night before. This is the acronym we were given to help us remember to balance our day with nurturing things to fill our time. 

G = Gentle with Self

R = Relaxation

A = Accomplishment

P = Pleasure

E = Exercise

S = Social

A little crazy, mostly healthy & trying to stay cool

I am on a path of recovery after having struggled with a combination of ADD, anxiety/panic and depression for almost 15 years. I am almost completely tapered off of prescription medications after being on anti-depressants for 13 years. I am using as many natural methods as possible to improve my health. 

I realize that this is a controversial topic, but I ask anyone out there who is thinking about taking prescription medication for mental illness to review ALL of your options before you make a choice. You may decide that it's right for you but please do not do so without weighing the cost and benefits and understanding what powerful DRUGS you are putting into your body. I want to share and give others as many resources as possible so that they are armed with tools and skills to fight mental illness. I have what I consider to be a pretty awesome yet quirky and random sense of humor as well as what seems to be a new and different passion every day. I will use my blog for this outlet because laughter is therapeutic and because I will never let go of being at least a little "crazy"! 

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not a substitution for consulting with a medical professional. I do not have any formal training in medicine, psychology or cognitive therapy. I am simply sharing my personal experience in hopes that others will benefit as I have.