During my visits to Headway on Wednesdays, I have recently been undergoing a form of therapy to help further with my rehabilitation. Now, I know what you might be thinking: and the answer is yes, I cried. A lot. In fact, almost every week. I hate to shatter this image you may have of me in your head as some uber butch and macho bloke..
Let me explain. For six weeks, when I had finished my cooking, and subsequently had my lunch; two excellent services Headway provide for free by the way, and before I caught my bus home, I would be called into a room with a lady who works there to undergo something called CBT, which stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Now I know what you must be thinking; images of 'Doctor Venkman' played by actor Bill Murray in the film "Ghostbusters" instantly come/came to mind, but don't worry, it was nothing like that. It is difficult to explain what CBT is, mostly because, at this point in time, I can barely remember it, mostly because the last session I had of it was way back at the beginning of September, which seems so long ago now, but also because of my memory problems, so I apologise if I'm waffling a tad. But don't worry, I was not electrocuted like Murray would do in Ghostbusters! Basically, CBT explores the way you think, or approach certain situations, your actual journey of how you might arrive at certain situations or conclusions, and whether they are particularly positive or negative, and therefore helpful or unhelpful.
Let me throw some more jargon at you, to show off, there are techniques we subconsciously use called "thinking traps" which for want of a better term, are a bit like cul-de-sacs, or dead ends in the road; corridors you can go down in your brain, which have no way out, basically, 'negative thinking'. Now, with help, I have learned, or developed ways to avoid or escape such 'thinking traps'. This is so much more than just 'being positive' or, as the song says: "Always looking on the bright side of life." It is more ingrained than that; it is how we approach certain situations in our mind, and arrive at a particular destination. To avoid negative thinking and be more positive or productive.
One trap I often fell into was 'mind reading' which is where I assume what people are thinking about me without any concrete evidence or reason to believe it. For example: I now walk to work on Monday and Tuesdays, which I feel incredible about but, while I was on my journey, I used to believe everyone was looking at me, thinking how weird I was; I felt everyone knew I had had a brain injury and knew I was so different to them, which made me paranoid and uncomfortable. When actually, in reality, no one even noticed me. I was 'mind reading' these strangers and allowing that to affect my self-esteem, when really if I retrained my mind to not assume these things, I found myself much happier.