CBT – what's involved and does it help?

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Astra 3 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #43342

    Astra
    Participant

    Hi all

    My GP has referred me for CBT as none of the meds seem to work for me. No idea how long I’ll have to wait for an appointment (it was 5 months for the pain clinic).

    I know very little about CBT – I’d really only heard of it for things like depression or OCD. To be honest, I’m a bit sceptical about how it could help with pain, but I’ll try anything once!

    I did a quick search of this forum and see that quite a few of you have had CBT, so I’d love to hear about your experiences. What’s involved? Has it been helpful? Any info gratefully received 🙂

    #43343

    lc
    Participant

    Hi Astra, There are so many paths in CBT But they have a plan to suit your persific needs. I have just finished a CBT course. As we all have different problems like mine pain/ depression to which i already had counciling for and other problems which related to my childhood. and later found out it was the constant pain that is holding me in a depressive state, so got refered to this course to which I found some usefull techniques. in my case dealing with other people and situations without snapping at them or verbal abusing them which I was always angry.so learned to address that. and a few other problems I had so yes found it very usefull as they can teach you differant aproaches to things.
    from me finishing CBT my therapist refered me to mindfulness which he thinks might help me even more. i am on a mindfulness course which runs continuious from this and my CBT therapist is also on this course helping out, so I have continuity which was lucky for me.I was lucky as my therapist sort of understood constant pain, which does help if someone understands this. It is quite complex as the therapist needs to know your problems to decide which is the best root to take for you.So just be open and honest. I’ve been in tears a few times so expect this as well its all part of the process.Sorry cannot say much more than this but it depends on you really on how you take it and wether you want to be helped.which it sounds like you do.just keep an open mind to some of there suggestions and give it a go and work at it.
    I am in a lot better place than i was 7 months ago so yes it has helped me no end just got to start mindfulness at end of month and practice this as well so hopefully i will be able to cope better with pain and hopefully completely get rid of /out of the depressive state that pain holds me in.by the time I’ve finished i would have been under them a year.So Good Luck,Best Wishes and Take Care. Hope this was of some use. Lee

    #43345

    Astra
    Participant

    Thank you Lee, that’s really helpful. I just have no idea what to expect. I also have problems with snapping at people and being angry, which I do want to get a better handle on. There are times when the pain is bad and I haven’t slept much that I’m not very nice to be around! I wouldn’t say I’m depressed as such, but I am angry, peed off and frustrated.

    I know that mood can affect your pain, so I do my best to slap on the brave face and carry on as normal, but some days are harder than others. My poor husband gets the brunt of it – he has the good sense not to take it personally and usually just walks away for a minute, then comes back & gives me a hug (carefully!). He’s been an absolute rock.

    I’m glad that you’re in a better place now. Onwards & upwards eh? Take care

    #43346

    lc
    Participant

    Hi Astra, yes my relationships with others suffered I think your a bit like me don’t mean to be nasty but the pain frustrates you to such a point its like a release button but just comes out all wrong.All misunderstood. so yes CBT can address that.also this site has helped me loads as well.people to converse with who know exactly what pain is all about as talking to people who are not in constant pain do not understand to the extent that those who are.and be nice to yourself and don’t blame yourself for being like this. its not your fault.nor others, just got to learn how to live a bit differently and except this is who you are now.which is the hardest part and frustrating part of it all. but once you’ve done and learned that then you’ll find life comes a bit easier rather than you fighting it all the time or blameing yourself or others.And also to have a good relationship and strong one is to be open to your Husband about your feelings and why you feel like this.and while going to CBT be open to your Husband and let him now all of what is going on. as at first I sort of shut down for a while to try and understand exactly what was happening to me.and wasn’t conversing with my wife and she was getting frustrated with me which made it worse because she cared and wanted to understand. now it has made our relationship a lot stronger.so talk and keep talking.I’m sure you will get there and be in a better place just takes time. and thank you nice to speak to you. Take Care and Best Wishes as you say onwards and upwards.please let me know how you progress. Lee

    #43350

    Astra
    Participant

    You’re absolutely right. One of my main frustrations is other people just not understanding. I’ve actually been amazed at how many people don’t know what “chronic” means. I’m lucky that my husband is fantastic, as are my close family/friends, and my boss has also been great and very supportive, but it’s difficult for people in general to really understand, and I don’t want to be that tedious person who goes on and on about their problems/ailments all the time.

    This site has been a godsend – even if I just read the forum, it helps me get some perspective. Fingers crossed I don’t have to wait too long for the appointment 🙂

    #43351

    lc
    Participant

    Hi Astra, its all about you living and learning to cope better and finding coping strategies that work for you. I’m in pain all the time just varying levels, so i use a Tens machine,electric heat wrap,meditation,relaxation,breathing tecniques, use music and art. my hobbies are drawing/painting, leatherwork and wood carving as and when i can, use this as a sort of meditation, i go swimming. the art takes my mind away from pain and gets your mind focused and engrossed in what your doing. to me this is important and my happy place. swimming keeps me moving this is the most active thing i can do.also lowers pain a bit sometimes. meds i take for pain is amitryptiline, naproxen and co-codamol which takes the edge off my pain to keep going. used to be on stronger stuff but i dont like being to zombiefied and most i cannot take as adverse reactions.so try and keep the meds as low as i can and use other methods. I had fractured /dislocated pelvis and 2 lots of back surgery in one year which left me in chronic persistant pain with nerve pain/ damage and now with arthritus. been like this for over 20 years.Used to be an electrical /mechanical engineer. now cannot do a days work or even half a day. so as long as you can keep your mind active thats the main thing. life can be a bit mundane at times wether your in constant pain or not. but you need other people to talk to who are in similar circumstances as yourself. to rant and rave or just ask questions ect. as they are the ones who really know how your feeling sometimes also make new cyber friends or acquaintences. so Glad you found this site and hope I have put you in a better understanding. but what works for one doesn’t mean it will work for you. just try it all and pick out what methods work for you as we are all different. be a boring place if we were all the same. Hope you don’t have to wait to long either, Take Care and Best Wishes. Lee

    #43356

    Astra
    Participant

    I really appreciate your kind words Lee. 20 years you’ve been in pain – god I really feel for you. Mine’s almost four years (car accident), but it’s only really been the last year or so that it’s become apparent that my pain is unlikely to get better. Taken me a while to really get my head around it. I’m better off than most – I can still work 3 days a week and I don’t need mobility aids, though I can’t stand for long periods. It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to drive again, so the loss of independence has been hard. My main hobby was DIY, especially carpentry, which I can no longer do (my right arm is very weak and too painful), so I was pretty upset about that. It’s really frustrating that I now have to employ someone to do jobs I used to be able to do myself, and enjoyed. I can lose myself in a good book, and I’ve developed an addiction to Hay Day! Like you, I don’t like being zombiefied. Amitriptyline turned me into one of the walking dead – I couldn’t even think straight. Tried at least a dozen different drugs with no joy. Acupuncture didn’t work for me either. I think even the pain clinic is beginning to see me as a lost cause.
    I guess I’m still adjusting – it’s not that easy to have your life turned upside down and not be able to get back to “normal”. That’s what I love about this forum – everyone here has been through something similar. Only a fellow sufferer can understand what its like.
    Thanks again ☺

    #43358

    Di
    Participant

    Like you I’ve had amitryptilene and couldn’t cope at all. even on half dose I was like the walking dead. MY GP tried to prescribe it again yesterday. What’s the point if you can’t function?
    I’ve had CBT which i found very helpful in altering the way I react to things. It was difficult at first to find someone who actually understood what chronic pain is like. I felt uncomfortable with the first girl who was 1/4 my age and admitted she had no idea about pain so I asked (nicely) to change. She quite understood and transferred me to someone much more senior.
    I get ratty, snap at my husband, have days when I don’t want to move but my biggest problem lately has been in avoiding making any plans or going anywhere because i know I will suffer for it afterwards so I’ve become more and more isolated. When he goes out, my husband doesn’t even ask me any more if i want to go because he knows what the reply will be. I knew what I was doing and why but CBT managed to help me put it into perspective and find ways round it. I’ve been back twice in the past few years. It’s helped more than anything else even just talking to someone who understands but doesn’t pander to it.

    #43360

    Astra
    Participant

    Hi Di – are you me? That all sounds so familiar. My social life has dwindled to almost nil. Partly because I know I’ll suffer afterwards, partly because I can’t drive. I used to go out regularly with a friend and we took turns to drive. Now I don’t tend to suggest it because I feel guilty that she always has to drive. Also, she was single but now she’s in a relationship and I don’t want to impose. She told me that I shouldn’t feel guilty and I know she means it, but that doesn’t change how I feel.
    My husband and I have different interests. He’s a darts fanatic. I used to go with him once a week, but I was frequently the only woman in the pub, so I rarely go now. I’m very glad that I can still work. At least that gets me out of the house and mixing with other people, otherwise I think I’d become a hermit 🙂

    #43364

    lc
    Participant

    Hi Astra, you shouldn’t feel guilty as this is not your fault.Your freind is right just ask her if she don’t mind driving to meet up every now and then, offer a few pounds for petrol if she is a true freind then she would be glad to go out now and again with you. I’ve found who my true freinds are, since being like the way I am now. You should do the things that you like doing and what makes you happy. Same here my wife and i are like chalk and cheese in interests. but we do go out together.when I don’t make plans to go any where or do something for some time. its my wife that asks if I’m ok and then suggests we do something together. otherwise is it so easy to drift apart and lead totally different lives. It’s like if you keep offering a dog a bone and it keeps refusing then you end up stop giving the dog the bone. then the question comes, do you really want to be with each other? Its so easily done without you being aware of what really is happening. This is what I mean by keep talking to your partner and how your feeling, also to your friends too. Sorry for being a bit on the down side but just be aware of what is happening around you. As sometimes you don’t always see it. I,m not saying you are like this. but be aware of it.just another side of what can happen to you when your in pain all the time, it can effect relationships to that point. Glad to hear you still hold down a job thats great. Best wishes and Take Care. Lee

    #43366

    mrsH
    Participant

    Hi Astra

    since I have been so sick, friends seem to fit into two camps: 1) people who have got compassion fatigue and drifted away, and 2) those who have gone out of their way to be helpful and understanding.

    Your friend is offering to help- WANTS to help! It is not easy to accept help, but when you do, you make it easier for everyone. Just because your friend has a boyfriend doesn’t mean she doesn’t need her girl mate! She is probably wishing she could think of a way you can spend some time together…

    Best wishes Helen

    #43367

    Astra
    Participant

    Wise words Lee & mrsH.

    I have just texted my friend and arranged a night out 🙂

    You’re right mrsH – I’ve found that most people who ask how you are don’t actually want to know and some people expect me to be “over it” by now. If only!

    It’s too easy to just not bother, so I will try to be more proactive and not procrastinate so much.

    Thanks so much for the support. It really helps

    #43368

    lc
    Participant

    Hi Astra, great to hear you’ve texted your friend for a night out, hope you have a great time. thats what this site is about, people in similar positions all giving support and trying to help each other/advice. as they say 2 heads are better than 1 on this site many heads. LOL. so glad to hear the support helps. Hope you find things that help lower and deal with your pain soon. tomorrows another day hope its a better one. take Care and Best Wishes. Lee

    #43371

    Di
    Participant

    Astra, that was exactly my point; it’s so much easier to not bother, to stop making the effort and avoid going out. That’s precisely where CBT helped me and made me realise and admit to what I was doing albeit subconsciously at first. Do give the CBT a try but if you don’t feel comfortable with the person you see don’t be afraid to ask for someone else. It’s really important that they understand the effects of living with chronic pain and also that you can open up to them.

    #43374

    Astra
    Participant

    Thanks Di
    When my GP suggested CBT, I was more than willing to give it a try, but sceptical. Just to know that someone else in a similar situation has found it helpful gives me more confidence. I’m (almost!) looking forward to it now. Though it might be long wait.

    In the meantime I’m going to try to make the effort to be a bit less anti-social. Like anything else it’s easy to fall into bad habits. It doesn’t help that public transport round here is pretty dire. I think I just need to give myself a bit of a kick up the backside!

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