Last weekend, I attended the Toronto Humane Society’s biggest annual fundraiser, Paws in the Park.
With my husband and puppy by my side, I set up as an exhibitor with my new(relaunched) business Tarapparel. I shared the pet accessories that I make, including, bandannas, collar bows, and scarves.
I’ve been an exhibitor at Paws in the Park for the previous few years with my Arbonne business. So I knew what to expect and how fun the day will be.
I highly recommend anyone who has a dog or likes dogs, goes to this event. It’s a great socialization opportunity for your dog, and a great opportunity to spend time with dogs. There are wonderful activities throughout the day and food and beer!
When we arrived, we secured Pixel on a leash while we set up the canopy and tables. Then, as I set up the products, Keegan took Pixel around for a walk. As the day was getting started, he took Pixel to the agility training course, and I came over to watch while keeping an eye on my tent. The trainers worked with Keegan and Pixel to do some basic agility training, and she was so focused on them because they had treats. The trainers said that her focus at a place with a lot going on around her, plus her breeds, make her a natural at agility training.
As the day went on, it got very warm out. The weather was actually beautiful. So sunny all day! Keegan took Pixel over to the kiddy pools they have out for the dogs to cool down in. She loved it! I wasn’t there to see, but Keegan told me that she jumped around between the pools, and ran around in circles in them. The pools were set up near the adoption tent, so she gave a bit of entertainment to the people waiting in line.
People seemed to really like my pet accessories, and I loved seeing the other dogs wearing them. The scarves specifically got a lot of attention. It was a wonderful day. The THS raised a lot of money, and all of the dogs were adopted. At the end of the day, Pixel was exhausted! When we came home, she slept the rest of the day.
*Firstly I want to state that everyone is different and no two mental illnesses are the same. These suggestions are what usually works for me, but I can’t promise they will work for your loved one.*
When I am having a breakdown of some sort, I tend to withdraw and get quiet. It feels as though I’ve been deflated, and all of my energy is gone. The act of standing or even sitting up is exhausting.
When this happens, I know my husband wants to help and get me back to feeling like myself.
He often comes to me and will sit near me and wait a bit to see if I want to talk. This is a great idea for most people because it gives them the feeling of not being alone, even if they can’t talk just yet.
My husband knows that talking (ranting) about what is stressing me out is helpful for me, but I have a hard time starting the conversation. I don’t really know why this is so difficult for me.
The mistake he often makes is asking me very vague questions that are easy for me to dodge or ignore. His favourite is asking “what’s up?” And I get it, it’s a general “what’s going on?” Type of question, but it’s so vague that I will usually just say nothing, or “the ceiling”
There are a bunch of different options for things to say/ask someone to help them feel more comfortable opening up. The key is to be specific. When you ask specific questions, you get specific answers.
You seem sad/upset/stressed, do you know what caused it?
Asking if I know why I am upset is so much better than asking why I am upset. When you ask why, you are telling me that I have to justify my feelings when it’s very possible that I have no idea at all.
Do you want to talk about what upset you?
This is a yes/no question that is easy for me to answer and gives you an indication if I want to talk about it or not. You might get an “I don’t know” as an answer as well, but hopefully, it can help start some communication.
Is there anything I can do to help?
I don’t want to be a burden on my loved ones, no one does. Offering to help would mean the world to me because I will never ask for it.
Are you upset because of xxxxxxxx?
If you are pretty sure you know what caused the breakdown, confirm it. In my experience, something will begin the breakdown, and it will cause me to think about something else, which will make me think of something else. Before I know it, my puppy chewing up one of my shirts turns into me feeling shitty that I can’t afford to buy a house. If my husband asked, “are you upset about Pixel ruining your top?” I would say “yes, but not only that…..” and I would take him on my thought journey of how that action caused me to think about all of these other upsetting things.
Do you know what would help you feel better?
This one might not get much of an answer. But if they are anything like me, they might give you a truthful but impossible answer. For example “a box of kittens.” It’s a way of expressing the intensity of my feelings. If the only thing that can cheer me up right now is a box of kittens, you know it’s bad! It also will just start a dialogue.
The hardest part about opening up is getting started and feeling comfortable. Asking questions that make me feel like you really want to hear what I am thinking, and just getting my mouth moving are the best ways to get me to open up.
Volunteer work, the backbone of every non-profit or charity organization. Without them, a lot of these places could not do the great work that they do. I’m going to share my experience with volunteering and why I think everyone who is able to, should. I volunteer at the Toronto Humane Society working with behaviour cats, and feeding kittens. Each of the following reasons I recommend volunteering is based on my experience there, but can be applied to any place you wish to volunteer. The most important thing I can tell you is to volunteer for a cause you are passionate about. 1. It is very rewarding As cliche as it sounds, knowing the impact your work is having does make you feel great. For me, seeing a cat that came in terrified and anxious, who wouldn’t let anyone pet them gradually become more and more comfortable with people, and then eventually get adopted is amazing! Every volunteer who interacted with that cat had a part in helping it find it’s home and have a great life.
2. It gets you out of the house For anyone who is between jobs, unable to work, or is retired, it’s a great way to help you get out of the house on a regular basis so that you don’t go crazy staying home all the time. I personally have a day job and my business, but I see a lot of people who volunteer at the THS a few more times a week than me because they aren’t working and they love it.
3. You meet new people I love the people I volunteer with. We may or may not have very much in common, but we all share the same compassion for animals. Some amazing new friendships can be formed with people you never would have met otherwise.
4. It looks great on a resume This isn’t really the best reason for why someone should volunteer. This should not be the only reason you are doing it. It’s just a perk.
5. It’s wonderful for your mental health. Whether you have a mental illness or not, your mental health is important. Doing something nice for others gives your brain a neurochemical sense of reward. Basically, you just feel good! Personally, I’ve found that during times of bad depression, going to the THS has really helped lift my spirits. It’s hard for your brain to tell you that you don’t matter when you are doing something that will positively affect another’s life. When I begin to feel this way, I try to remember the cat who never came out of her box for the longest time, who finally came out and after a long visit, and ended up purring on my lap! By my next volunteer shift, that cat had been adopted. I think about the cats who love attention and how happy they are when I show up with their favourite wand toy or a brush. I remember all the cat’s that weren’t eating because of stress, who I was able to encourage to eat. I know I matter because I helped improve the lives of these cats.
*This post deals with the topic of suicide and depression and is potentially triggering*
It’s been one year since the world lost the lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington. His death indirectly affected me a lot more than I ever expected.
I’ve never been overly interested in celebrities, and when news of a celebrity death by any means occurred, it rarely upset me. Unless it was someone I enjoyed watching/listening to. But even then, I would just think, “yea, that’s sad, too bad for the families” and go on with my life. Their death didn’t affect me personally.
I’ve heard about many celebrity suicides and overdoses during my battle with depression. These always made me stop and think about them at least a little bit. Most often when it was a fellow fashion designer, such as the recent passing of Kate Spade. I also still very much remember learning of legendary fashion designer, Alexander McQueen’s death years ago.
Whenever I was to hear about these suicides, I knew what to expect. An outpouring of support for people suffering from depression, the media and people of Facebook sharing the suicide hotline number, and reminding the world that it can happen to anybody, and that money truly cannot buy happiness. And then a week or so later, everything would be back to normal.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiment behind what people are trying to do when they share the suicide hotline, but at the same time, it can feel insincere. Mainly because it seems “trendy” to share the hotline on Facebook with an easy copy/paste anytime someone high profile dies by suicide. I have seen some people posting after a suicide that they are available if any of their Facebook friends need someone to talk to. I like this, but it’s starting to become trendy as well, but the fact that the person is willing to do more than just a copy/paste post, is nice to see. Although I have never taken anyone up on these offers. Not everyone is going to feel comfortable messaging someone after seeing that post, but it’s nice to know people are willing to help.
So this brings us to July 20th 2017. That day, the lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington passed away from suicide. I found out about it at the end of the day. I came home from work and saw it posted all over Facebook. It was a big deal for sure. But like with other celebrity deaths, I thought “that’s horrible” but didn’t put much more thought into it. The days that followed, many posts and articles were shared relating to his death and the reactions to it. I read a lot of them, mostly from The Mighty.
I read a lot on the topics of anxiety and depression on The Mighty, and I do share the occasional post on Facebook. Before this, I shared the odd post, and never specifically wrote anything about myself in the share. I had never talked about my struggles with depression and anxiety publicly on Facebook at this point, and I was still very hush hush about it.
1. It sends a hurtful (and unhelpful) message to people who are suicidal and to those who have attempted suicide.
2. Calling suicide “cowardly” can be especially problematic for men, who historically are under societal pressure to appear “strong.”
3. It simplifies the cause of suicide.
The article really expands on each of these points, and I highly recommend reading it.
So, I shared it, hoping it can educate a few people on my friends list who choose to read it. Unfortunately, people who don’t read it, are still able to comment on the post, and that is where the problems started.
One person, I am going to call “Red,” said that they liked what he said.
And a friend “Blue” asked for an explanation, and what Red answered with really upset me.
He expressed that he believes that Chester abandoned his family, he expressed a belief that suicide was a cowardly act. This “friend,” a person in my life, will believe that if I were to die by suicide, that it was a cowardly act of abandoning my family. So, I had a lot to say…
I wanted to highlight certain points from the article that I thought would be impossible to argue with. But he completely missed the points, and I assume he just skimmed my comment. All he seemed to take from that was that we were trying to force him to agree with us, but we just wanted him to hear us.
My friend “Yellow” who is a nurse began getting involved. She and Red know each other and don’t have the best past. She is very smart and tried to explain the difference between “opinion” and “ignorance” to him. Then continues to educate him about mental illness and how it should be treated like any other illness.
I was very impressed with her explanation, and said so in my response. At this point, I decided to do something I never thought I would do. I opened up, publicly, about my struggle with depression and suicide.
I sat and thought about whether I should say this for a long time, I re-wrote that comment over and over again. Then when it came time to hit the button, it took a few moments because I kept worrying about who all might see it, and find out. But then I realized, that is just as bad for allowing the stigma to stick around. People aren’t worried about being judged for having cancer, diabetes, or asthma. Why should I worry about being judged for this?
After posting this, Red didn’t respond, and Yellow commented with an image that said “Facebook comment of the year” so I felt good. But then, out of nowhere, my brother-in-law “Brown” who is very good friends with Red decided it was time to chime in.
….I was speechless. I couldn’t believe it. The comment about the longer messages on here really baffled me.
One of 2 things happened here. Either, Brown read all I had to say, about my struggles with suicide, and still agreed with the guy who thinks suicide is cowardly, or, he didn’t even read what I had to say before disagreeing with me and agreeing with Red. (It was the latter)
I questioned his knowledge about depression to be able to make such a statement, and if he read the “long” messages. Then re-shared Yellow’s great comment about the difference between “opinion vs ignorance”
Then, without answering my questions, goes on to try and say that not every suicide is caused by depression. Which, I know I said they all are in this thread, maybe a couple aren’t, who knows, but that’s not the topic at hand. This is about the fact that Chester Bennington had depression, and Red and Brown believe he is a coward who abandoned his family and feel that a high profile person with a lot of influence is ok to just make those comments publicly.
I was at work when Brown began to chime in. During this back and forth, I began to feel so defeated. I was having a hard time concentrating and had to try really hard not to break out in tears when I had to interact with clients occasionally. And for the first time in years, I began having suicidal thoughts.
My best friend, “Purple” joined in, which I was hoping she wouldn’t, as she had been having a hard time with her depression that week, and I didn’t want these guys to cause her any harm. But she made a good point to answer Brown’s question about if all suicides are from depression. Yellow also gives her input. Then, Red comes back. He derailed the conversation with a picture of a rainbow bagel that he referred to as a “gay bagel” for some reason.
He and Brown never read any of my comments, they didn’t respect me enough to do so. I know this for sure because my husband spoke to them both, and mentioned that I have depression, and they both told him they didn’t know that. Not that that would have been a good excuse for their behaviour, but they would have known, had they read anything I had to say.
I came home in a frenzy, the moment I walked into my apartment, I let it out, the crying, screaming, and yelling I was holding in all day. I told my husband that I never want to see either of them again and deleted them both from Facebook. Ironically, my husband had plans with Red that night, and I didn’t tell him not to go, it was a concert he was looking forward to. I didn’t tell him I was having active suicidal thoughts. I didn’t want to ruin his plans.
I laid on my couch all night while he was away. I was afraid to be alone, but I didn’t want to tell anyone to come over because I didn’t want to tell anyone why. I was texting with my best friend (purple) and tried to hint at the fact that I was feeling suicidal, but I couldn’t bring myself to just say it. I had a few drinks to try and get my brain to stop over-thinking about that entire situation.
In the days and weeks that followed, I was in a bad depression. At work, I had a hard time concentrating, but I just did my work until it was time to go home. I often listen to music at work, and instead of my usual pop stuff, I decided to listen to some old Linkin Park music. I almost wanted nostalgia for my angsty teen emotions. I spoke to a support group about everything that happened, and that was very helpful. I recall one person saying that suicide is the opposite of cowardly. If you think about the number of times people change their mind last minute because they are scared. That resonated with me because I chickened out once.
I made an appointment with my doctor and my medication dosage was increased. And I began my climb out of the depression hole. A couple of weeks ago, I started to reduce my medications back to what they were before this depressive episode. I have a better understanding of the reality of my condition, and I know that even if I haven’t had suicidal thoughts in a long time, it doesn’t mean I am out of the woods entirely. I have passive suicidal thoughts occasionally still, but I don’t worry about them too much, I just pay attention to my thoughts more and begin to do things to help keep me from going in the depression hole again.
I haven’t spoken to Red since this incident. It’s hard to avoid Brown, he is my husband’s brother. I needed a lot of time at first, especially during the depression. I was adamant about not seeing him again, but ultimately I decided I would be civil with him for family gatherings. He messaged me with an apology when my husband told his Dad why I didn’t want to come up if he is there. It was sent within 20 minutes of my husband hanging up the phone with his dad. It was generic and he didn’t actually apologize for what was upsetting me. I don’t care about an apology, I just want him to care enough to read what I had to say. And even though I’ve been around him a few times since and I’ve always gotten along with his girlfriend, who I would hate to not see anymore, I’m still a little bothered by the lack of closure here. Basically, I still feel hurt, by both of them, and I don’t know if anything can possibly change that.
Whenever I hear about Chester, or Linkin Park, this comment thread pops into my head. The hurt feelings and pain I felt that night I laid on the couch fighting off my demons come flooding back. But now, I feel that going through a depressive episode as bad as that one was has given me the strength and understanding to handle them going forward. So I am able to use my CBT techniques, and other strategies to cope when the pain comes back. I try to see Chester as a symbol of my ability to get through a bad depressive episode, but also a reminder that my depression recovery is something I have to work on every day.
This is a daydream that I’m sure a lot of people share. Can you just imagine how your life would change? The burdens of student loans, consumer debt, or living paycheck to paycheck would disappear. Dreams of buying a home, a car, or starting a business could be realized. It’s amazing to think about.
It’s such a strange thing for me to think about, considering I never buy lottery tickets. The pessimistic part of my brain tells me its a waste of money because I won’t win. Which I guess is smart. But let’s think about it for a minute!
I know there are statistics that say a lot of people who win the lottery, go broke not too long after because they get carried away. So I’m going to keep that in mind here.
Let’s pretend I won last night’s Lotto Max jackpot, which was 60 Million. Wow! Where do I start?
First thing I would do is buy a house. That’s an easy one! I would buy one in Toronto, in the neighbourhood that we currently rent. Something I don’t think we will ever be able to do! The house would likely cost around 2 Million.
I would then renovate the house. I want to create the ultimate sewing and craft room. There will be table space and shelves all along the wall, a large cutting table, and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to buy one of those Sewing cabinets from The Original Scrapbox.
There will, of course, be extra rooms for potential future children, and one “cat room” that the dog won’t be able to get to. This can be their sanctuary with cat trees, lots of sunlight, and a quiet space for the litter boxes. My husband will get his own office/video game room with a big TV and comfortable couch. All the other staple rooms would be renovated to suit our style if needed. The backyard will also have a hot tub or pool.
If I could find a retail space for sale in a good area for less than 1 million, I would open my own store to sell my Etsy products, as well as carry other products as well. This would also be great for me to have a place to store inventory for both the shop and Etsy, and I would love to help small businesses/designers showcase their work at the shop. It would also be necessary for
I think that 60 million is too much money to not give any to charities. Easily I would give 3 million to the Toronto Humane Society. As a volunteer, seeing the amazing work they do first hand, lets me know that the money would be put to great use. I would also continuously donate to them on a regular basis from profits of my business. I would also split another 3 million between various charities that help women in developing countries, hospitals, such as, Sick Kids, and charities that support people with mental illnesses.
Next I would give 5 million to my parents, and my husband’s parents. As a thank you for raising us! And we would give our siblings each about $100 000. I would also start a college/wedding fund for the potential future children by putting one million into a savings account.
Now all that’s left is to buy each of us a car. One SUV and one smaller car. The remaining will be put in the bank to collect interest and allow us to live a comfortable lifestyle.
It’s nice to dream, and it’s nice to have aspirations, and things to grow towards. But it’s also good to be grateful for the things we do have. My husband and I have a lovely apartment with ensuite laundry. That’s awesome! We have 4 beautiful fur-babies, who may interfere with my ability to run my business, but they are so sweet and loving that it doesn’t matter. We have a nice patio, and our building has great outdoor space.
Winning the lottery would be amazing, but I am fine without it too.
I was quiet for so long, but that wasn’t helping anyone, especially me.
I think it is very important for people to talk more openly about their mental health issues. Because the more we normalize it the more we reduce the stigma that unfortunately still surrounds it. Continuing to keep it a secret and feeling embarrassed or shameful about it only helps the stigma stick around. And guess what, there is nothing embarrassing or shameful about having an illness. Any illness.
However, I do understand that some people suffer in silence because they aren’t mentally prepared to “come out” about their struggles, or they know how a certain person will react. That is why the people who can speak up, should. We can be a voice for those that can’t speak up yet, and hopefully be the inspiration for them to eventually speak up.
For me, I had such a hard time being open about it. I feared judgement from my family and friends. I still haven’t exactly told everyone yet, but it’s not something I am going out of my way to hide either. Just like a person with diabetes doesn’t need to announce their illness to everyone, but they have no problem saying they have it if the topic comes up.
I make a point of speaking very casually about it now. I used to be a little hushed when I brought it up, my tone of voice would change, and you could tell I was feeling a little worried bringing it up. I was still a little embarrassed by it. Talking about it like it’s no big deal, is what will help others realize its no big deal. There’s no need to change how you treat me (unless I bring something up with you specifically) or interact with me. You can still joke around with me, but just have an understanding that my mind works differently.
To those that have someone in their life with a mental illness, if they are open about it with you, go ahead and ask them questions about it. Don’t get too personal of course, but if I bring up taking my meds, you can ask me a little about them, how they are working for me, if I had any weird side effects, whatever. Just don’t ask why I need to take them, and offer “natural” ways to treat depression. (Seriously!) If someone doesn’t want to answer, respect that of course.
Basically, the more normal we all make talking about mental illness, the more the stigma will go away. And a little bit of humour can go a long way too!
So I thought the first post about my time away from the blog would be a positive one! In this past summer we adopted our beautiful puppy, Pixel!
We had been looking for a puppy for a while. The Toronto Humane Society, where I volunteer with the cats, didn’t have any puppies that were available for adoption around that time. So we looked into other animal shelters and online for “accidental litters”. We absolutely didn’t want to go through a breeder, because they are expensive and we weren’t looking for a specific breed. We had a few breeds in mind, and wanted a mix, or, “mutt”.
One day, one my my husband’s co-workers told him she found out about someone who had an accidental litter, and we saw a picture of one of the puppies. So cute! So we contacted the owner of the mother and arranged to meet the puppies.
We met them when they were 5 weeks old. There were 11 of them, and 4 had already been claimed. We met the mother, who was very relaxed and gorgeous. A German Shepherd, Husky mix. And saw a picture of the dad, a Husky, Lab mix. Sitting in a room with 11 tiny puppies running all over the place was so fun! We picked Pixel, she had beautiful markings and we felt something when we held her, verses the others. We knew she was the one!
We picked her up the following week when she was 6 weeks old. I know that’s really early, but they told us that the mother had stopped nursing them already and they were eating dry food. We decided that she may as well come home with us, so she can start getting used to our home, and cats.
It is definitely true that dogs are a lot more work than cats! We found that out very quickly. For the first little while, I would take her to work with me, so that she could go outside a few times a day.
She had a bit of a rough start. When she was 8 weeks old, there was an emergency middle of the night vet run. She had swallowed a rock a couple days earlier, we were giving her special food to hopefully help her pass it. Fortunately, she threw it up, which means it didn’t go through her intestines, but she threw up everything, non stop, and woke us up whimpering. At the emergency vet, it was a long wait, and it’s a rather depressing place, especially at night. But one slightly amusing part of the night happened when the vet was examining her and she had explosive diarrhea, allllll over the vet. So she had to go change her entire outfit.
On top of that, she also had a bad case of kennel cough. It’s a very contagious dog cold/flu. It sounds horrible! We felt bad that there wasn’t much we could do for her on a coughing fit, and that she wasn’t able to play with her friends.
Since then, she has been pretty healthy. There has been the occasional sickness when she has eaten things that didn’t agree with her.
Dogs really have a tendency to get sick more than cats, and overall are a lot more expensive. I love Pixel, and I couldn’t imagine life without her now. But I also wouldn’t recommend someone adopt a dog, or puppy, without giving it a lot of thought. Realize that they are a lot of work and a lot of money.
That being said, she is worth every penny to us! Having a dog is wonderful for so many reasons. They are a wonderful companion who is always happy to see you. Pixel is wonderful at picking up on emotions. And anytime you are really upset, she will be right by your side. She has also, in a way, forced me to get up and go outside more often than I was before. (Although, she is mostly my husband’s responsibility for going outside) I almost always take her outside to socialize with other dogs and then I can socialize with other dog owners.
For the first little while after bringing her home, I took her to work with me at my day job. I work as a design assistant in a custom design boutique. It was a little tough because she didn’t like being alone when she was awake, and if I left her downstairs when I went up to help customers, she would whine. I often kept her upstairs with me when I didn’t have much work downstairs, and customers loved that!
Right now she is almost 11 months old, with so much energy! She will be turning 1 on May 6th 2018. We are thinking about having a birthday party for her and her “boyfriend” Duke, who is 2 weeks younger, next month.
She has made a wonderful addition to our family, and I’m sure when she starts calming down, the cats will agree with us. Right now they are still a little nervous around her.
Where I’ve been and why I hadn’t updated in a long time is a very long story. I will get into it in future blog posts I’m sure. It started with a very stressful situation that snowballed and then I just had a hard time getting back to it.
A lot has happened in the past year and a half since my last post, and I plan to tell you about all of the important stuff.
But first! I want to tell you about what I am working on now!
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and running my own business is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. But it’s not easy, and I often wonder why it appeals to me so much. As a person who deals with mental health issues on a regular basis, it’s something that is extra challenging for me, but here I am!
As most know, I am an Arbonne Independent Consultant. I love the products and the company’s values. I think joining this company helped me realize my desire to own a business. However, it didn’t give me the creative outlet I need. I don’t feel passionate about marketing these products, which I think is what made my journey with Arbonne very slow. I’ve decided that Arbonne does have a purpose and place in my life, and who knows what I will do with it in the future. For now, I am remaining a consultant, but this business is going on the back burner. People are definitely still welcome to come to me for Arbonne products, and I love to help people find the best products for them.
So, if I’m putting Arbonne in the background, what is my focus now??
I am going to continue to write in this blog, and I plan to soon begin to try out video blogging as well. Me on camera? Yikes! If any Vloggers have any tips or advice for someone starting out on YouTube, leave a comment below.
Under the umbrella of my company “Tarably Inspired” I am going to have 2 separate businesses that sell on Etsy.
The first is a fashion shop. I actually started Tarapparel back in 2010 when I graduated from college and I was bored living in Sarnia trying to save up some money to move to Toronto. After I moved here I dropped it. Tarapparel is going to carry a wide range of products. Sweaters, tops, skirts, pajamas, accessories, and pet accessories.
The other shop is called Digital Sequin. It’s a graphic and photography shop. I’ve always had a love for photography, and this is one way to make money from this hobby. I also really enjoy making graphics and printables.
I am in the process of building up inventory for each, and expect to launch each shop in the next couple of months. While doing this, you can follow my progress here, on my Facebook page, and on Instagram.
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you stick around and watch my journey!
Hello everyone! As mentioned in an earlier post, I am conducting my own “CBT Class” on this blog. That being said, if you have severe depression or anxiety, I highly recommend speaking with a professional. I am no doctor, just a person that has done CBT. However, if for whatever reason you’re not ready to go see a doctor yet, or you have but would love an extra refresher on CBT, I hope this helps you.
So I am going to start things off pretty easy for you right now. All I want you to do is to identify the things that cause you anxiety. (This is going to be focused on anxiety, as that is what I took CBT for, but you can alter it for depression for yourself. This part is very anxiety focused, unless you can name the things that trigger depression, you can use the following chart for that too.)
Get yourself a piece of paper and create a chart like this:
List everything that causes you anxiety. Be specific! And rate your level of anxiety on a scale from 1 – 100. This will help you choose what exposures to start with later, and help you see your progress when you re-rate your anxiety levels.
I recommend having a notebook or binder dedicated to this work where you will keep everything together. You will be referencing your list occasionally.
Next lesson will be an intro into Thought Records.