Deep Breathing and Thinking of Values
by Guest Blogger T.
Take a deep breath. Sounds cliché, doesn’t it? How about combining it with thinking of your “happy place?” Still sounding cliché? For the longest time, I thought it did.
I had a major depressive episode last year. Having been through much worse in the past, I knew it would get better. However, that didn’t make the situation any easier. Trying to function was very hard. The only thing that helped at the forefront was sleeping and eating, which amounted to a temporary fix.
I have always been seeing an analyst, but I needed to really focus on CBT. I have also always been very aware of my emotions. I had one session of CBT and it flipped the episode upside down. Granted, I put in the effort. I started with deep breathing and thinking of my happy place. Last year was horrible at best, but my happy place came out of last year. Erica, my girlfriend, had a bad stomach virus and had to be at Cedars Sinai for a week. She loves pomeranians and I happened to find a stuffed animal one in the gift shop at Cedars. I brought it to her, and she was so happy. The greatest thing about our relationship is seeing her happy and how she lights up the room.
Now for the subject at hand. My happy place that I think of when I am bombarded by OCD thoughts is E. holding our fake pomeranian, smiling, and squeezing the dog while saying, “Snuggles!” Snuggles is the name of our stuffed animal. We have outfits for her and she has a collar with a tag. She is our good luck charm that can get us through anything. When I went through my episode last year, I would take a deep breath and think of E. smiling and holding Snuggles. I had to work on this a lot, however. In the past when I had a very hard time applying CBT to my situation, I had to constantly thought stop and replace because the symptoms were so severe. Now, I am doing great, but at times the thoughts can be hard to handle. I don’t just deep breathe and think of E once. I might have to do it 50 times to feel better, but it helps. The hardest thing that I currently work through is my obsessions with surfing. This past weekend, I surfed and left the water feeling like I didn’t surf well. But I applied my method and felt so much better. To conclude, there are times in my life that this method wouldn’t have worked due to being very sick. However, I have had a lot of recovery and can apply this daily now. Just remember that it is ok if you can’t apply this now. But make sure you keep in mind that it does get better. Thanks for reading.
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