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Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall for a real therapy session? The wait is over. In this episode of Therapy Talks, licensed clinical therapist Joelle Rabow Maletis is joined by special guest Shelby Tessier. You all have VIP seats to sit in on Shelby’s therapy experience!
This is the first of a series of episodes in which we attend therapy with Shelby, get to know her, and discover how stress and anxiety manifest in her life. Together, we will learn thought-stopping techniques that Shelby can use to combat her negative core beliefs… and you can use them, too!
Joelle is a well-known author, keynote speaker, podcast host and psychotherapist. Joelle's expertise includes truma, PTSD, eating disorders and military psychology. Her career highlights include being a guest speaker on authoring a Ted-Ed video on PTSD, ABC’s 60 Minutes: Beyond the Headlines, and several Outstanding Achievement Awards for Top Female Executive.
Joelle's passion is helping people find empowerment by discovering how to be their best (not perfect) successful self through authentic skills-based, self-discovery. As a psychotherapist, Joelle uses Solution Focused Therapy, Trauma Informed techniques like EMDR, Post Traumatic Growth, mindfulness, strategic inquiry as well as encouragement! Joelle's goal is to provide feedback and interaction that allows clients to grow through informed, healthy, and compassionate decisions.
Find Out More About Joelle:
website ► https://joellerabowmaletis.com/
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[00:00:00] Hello everyone. I'm Joelle Rabow Melitus and I'm a licensed clinical psychotherapist. And just a reminder for today, although I'm a licensed therapist, nothing that we discuss is to be taken as medical advice. So if you have any questions or concerns, please go see a licensed professional in your area.
[00:00:18] Welcome everyone to our therapy talks session. Mini-series today I'm talking with Shelby about her anxiety and the ways that she can manage this in her day-to-day life over the next few weeks, shall we? And I will be exploring how she can use therapy to improve and live her best life. Every day, we start off by getting to know Shelby and how anxiety and stress shows up in her life.
[00:00:43] Today, we explore, thought stopping techniques to combat negative core belief.
[00:00:57] Hi, Shelby. Thanks for coming in today. Thanks. Nice to see you. Nice to see you too. So, um, I appreciate, I know we spent a little bit of time just kind of going through our regular assessments. So I have a little bit of an idea of what you wanted to do. Start therapy for, and really what your therapeutic goals were, but it would be helpful if you wouldn't mind sort of recapping maybe the top three or the top five therapy goals.
[00:01:26] And then we can, you know, track that throughout our sessions together. How does that. That sounds great. Yeah. Um, so I always like to write things down. I'm very like list person, so I'll just go through my list. Um, so definitely some anxiety issues. Um, I'm like a constant over-thinker and I'm constantly worrying about things.
[00:01:49] Um, a lot of fear around like death, the death of loved ones and my own death too. So. Um, lots of anxiety there also a little bit of jealousy issues and like abandonment comparison, kind of like self-worth and self-esteem issues. Um, I find, I talked about this last time too. I find sometimes I'm not like a yeller or like I don't scream or anything like that, but I tend to be a little bit like a little bit, like, I don't like why, or like a little bit.
[00:02:20] You know, kind of like young sounding when I'm upset. Um, I'm quite emotional, so I'm okay. I cry quite a bit. I'm okay with it, but yeah, if I can talk a little bit more like, you know, rational, I think is a good word. I think I, I often come at things with, from an emotional standpoint. So if I could be a little bit more rational in conversations, That would be nice.
[00:02:42] Um, and yeah, just being a little bit easier on myself. I've definitely been getting better at it because I had been doing therapy for eight months. Um, so I've noticed a huge improvement, so I just want to continue improving on the self-compassion piece of it. Got it. Okay, great. And I just, I'm gonna do my best to repeat back what I heard you say.
[00:03:03] And then we can sort of pick a place that you want to start, or if there was something, you know, in your notes today of. What you wanted to talk about or what you were thinking about talking about? So, um, we talked about. The worrying and the anxiety around worrying. And some of that shows up with the fear of people dying or, or your own death and sort of that ongoing.
[00:03:27] What I hear you say is that anxious voice that comes up a lot. And so sometimes that'll result in you feeling young or talking more childlike than you'd like. And so it sounds like that might be. Interfere with some of your relationships, both maybe friends, family, and romantic relationship. And then, um, also you were talking about Amet.
[00:03:53] Hold on, give me a second. Okay. Um, the last one you. Can we remind me? Yeah. But yeah, there was like some, um, jealousy and like self-worth issues comparison. Okay, great. And then the last thing that you mentioned Shelby was the comparison component. Again, that sounds like a lot of worry anxiety, negative self-talk and maybe that's showing up as jealousy.
[00:04:22] Do you feel like I got everything and I'm understanding it. Okay, cool. So. What would be a good place for us to start today? Um, so I kind of keep track during the week kind of things that have come up situations where, um, I would like kind of your input and like help to kind of get through the stage I'm at.
[00:04:45] So I can just give you like an example of that's happened this week, and then we can kind of maybe work on that and I can ask you some questions if that's okay. Sure. That sounds. Okay. Perfect. So, um, so a situation that happened, um, yesterday we went climbing, we went camping for the long weekend and it was a really good trip.
[00:05:04] We went with some friends and I don't know why, but, um, with certain things I'm getting very like hard on myself. And I think, cause my partner's really good at climbing. Sometimes I feel like I need to like measure up to that or I feel like maybe that's like what he wants and he's always like reassuring me that like.
[00:05:23] It doesn't matter my skill level. Like he loves me despite that, but I just like keep comparing myself to people who are better than me, or I dunno, just like putting myself down. Right. So I'm now at the part where if I'm on the wall and I'm not doing very well, I can hear my thoughts. Whereas before I think they just used to like run wild.
[00:05:42] I can now. And I can now like be aware and listen to them. And the biggest thing I've been noticing is I keep saying like, why can't I do this? Like, why can't I like get past this first section? Why can't I do this? And then I'm now also at the part where I'm able to be like, okay, it's okay. Like you actually can do this, but maybe you're tired.
[00:06:03] You know, maybe it just rained and the walls a little bit wet. So it makes it a little bit harder. Um, maybe like you're on your period, you know? So I'm able to now counter those thoughts, but I just literally just started like crying on the wall and I've heard her super good about it. He was like, it's okay.
[00:06:22] Like, do you want to come down? Do you want to take a break? And he reminded me too that like you climbed a lot yesterday. Like you're tired. Um, so I'm just like not sure what the next step is and is crying in a reasonable. Action to do at that time, because like, there's all, all our friends are there, you know?
[00:06:39] And my other friend's trying to like crack a joke and stuff and I'm barely answering. And I told them, after I said, I'm so sorry, like I was crying so I can respond to you properly. And he's like, oh, I didn't even notice. So, you know, like I try to like make light of it. Cause I, everyone knows I'm very emotional and like I cry quite a bit, but is that like a reasonable way to respond to how I was feeling is crazy.
[00:07:02] Yeah. You know, it's a set, it's such a good question. And I think the forgive, the therapist answer. Right. Um, do you feel like it's reasonable in other words, when you cry, are you embarrassed, right? Or do you just say, you know, that's just who I am. I don't mind that part of me. Uh, I, you know, that's how I show my emotions.
[00:07:22] So really it comes back to. How do you feel when you start crying as, as an emotional response to stress right. Or anxiety. Okay. Okay. Good question. Well, I'm definitely embarrassed, but not to the point. I dunno, like, yes, it's a little bit embarrassing, but I'm also very open with my emotions. So it's not like the end of the world to me, but I feel like even physically, my throat starts hurting so bad when I cry.
[00:07:50] So because of that pain, I actually have to like stop crying just to stop the pain of my throat hurting. I don't know if that's like a normal reaction when people cry is that their throat hurt, but that's what happens to me. So I think the frequency that I cry could be a little bit. The gap could be a little bit smaller, um, or just like, yeah, I think that I could work on the response for sure.
[00:08:12] Yeah. Okay. So, so sometimes backing into this, right? So, so it sounds like there may be a little bit of perfectionism or imposter syndrome. Like, you know, I actually know how to do it, but I don't think I know how to do it. Do either of those resonate for you? Yeah. It's because it's you, when you had, you've done something before, right?
[00:08:35] Because I had done this years ago, like three years ago. So I, yes. Had in my mind, like I set myself up for, um, this thing, like, oh, I know I can do it. So I think I let myself down and then people were watching and then I felt embarrassed that I couldn't do it. And all of that. Right. Got it. Okay. So lot of, so a lot of anxiety and negative self-talk right.
[00:09:01] So not so much anxiety about being nervous around the climbing, but anxiety around performance, like being able to do it well, right. Or not being judged, maybe about, you know, how, how good of a climber you are. Does that feel like that was part of the narrative that was going on? Yeah, for sure. And it's funny because like, I don't, it's not even, like I'm not super strong or anything like that.
[00:09:26] I literally just do it for fun. So I don't know why I put such a strong, like performance, you know, in my mind, I just like actually just want to do it to move my body and, and just for fun. So I don't know where this comes from. Yeah. So some of it is probably, you know, just. Not wanting to look foolish, you know, maybe there's some competitiveness, you know, I know you're an athlete already.
[00:09:49] And so there's always that pressure to be able to perform, especially when you're with friends, right. Or people are watching. So I'm wondering if some of the thought stopping techniques, that's this cognitive behavioral thought or CBT. And so, you know, it sounds like. Got like, w like the first part of that, which is, oh, okay.
[00:10:10] I recognize the voice now. And it's like, oh, okay. I hear kind of that, that inner monologue where maybe before you, weren't picking up on, on that. So that's a huge first step and that's really hard work. So great job with. First Peter. Yeah. I mean that sometimes that's the hardest part of trying to isolate and identify.
[00:10:31] Okay. Who's voice is that, so some of the questions that you can ask yourself when you're not in the moment, so this would be some good journaling prompts. Okay. When you hear that, if you go back to that scenario with you climbing, like whose voice is that? Is it mine? Is it mine at a certain age? Like, do I sound like I'm 16?
[00:10:51] Do I sound like I'm 22? Is it a parent? Is it a coach? Right? Is it my, you know, my partner, my friends. And so sometimes identifying. Whose voice that is. And it's usually an authority figure, right. Could be a professor. Um, but it's, it's that finger pointing like, oh, Shelby, you should be able to kind of own.
[00:11:14] Does that, does that feel like I'm kind of getting the feel of what was happening in that mode? Yeah. Well, I like, at this moment, I can't pinpoint whose voice that was because it like, in my head, it sounds like mine, but I really liked this perspective. And next time I'm going to try to pay attention. Like, is this like, yeah, like you said, like a teacher's voice or a coach's voice, or like, whose voice is this, so, right.
[00:11:36] So, so exactly. So if you can reflect back and, and do a little thinking back to it in some journaling on it. Cool. If, if not, no big deal, right? The next time you notice that you're kind of in that shoulda, woulda coulda. Voice, um, just checking in. So whose voice is it? And if it's mine, then how old do I feel right now?
[00:11:57] Cause a lot of times people will say, you know, it's my voice, but I feel like. 15 or I feel like, you know, when I, you know, failed at blah-blah-blah, right. And so you're almost transported back in time. And so when you can identify what those two things are, it becomes much easier to tackle. And, and so the thought stopping piece is visualizing a stop.
[00:12:22] Right. Um, or telling yourself to stop. And so for me, visualization is really hard. And so a lot of times I use a different kind of inner monologue of just saying to myself, okay, you know, Joe, stop, just stop talking. Take a breath. And so we want to do both of those things. So the intellectual component or the skills-based piece is that stop and the breadth resets the anxiety.
[00:12:50] So that's sort of that sore throat you're talking about. Or if you notice that your heart's racing it's, you know, you're you find you're hyperventilating a little bit, maybe your palms are getting sweaty. Um, you feel a little shaky, you start crying. So the all of that is your fight flight freeze, starting to go into overdrive and basically it's, it's there to protect you.
[00:13:11] So it's going danger, danger, danger, Shelby, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. Right. And so then the water works for you. That's how that's manifesting. Make sense. Yeah. So what is it trying to protect me from, like, from being embarrassed or from like, what's it? Yeah. It's so subconscious and it's not rational. And so that's what makes it difficult.
[00:13:33] Right? If it, if it were rational, you'd be like, oh, okay. I, you know, a plus B equals C, I know how to deal with this, but because it's not rational and it's not conscious part of it. Is a chemical component. So when you're stressed out your body floods with about 30 different stress hormones. And so that fight flight freeze activates, and it's not always a conscious thought.
[00:13:55] And sometimes people will sit, we'll be able to identify, oh, I had this thought and then I had these physical reactions. Other people will say I had a physical reaction. And then I had that thought of fear. And my guess is for you, it's actually a similar mechanism. When you physically have it, then that's that sort of, I'm afraid somebody's going to die or I might die.
[00:14:17] So it sounds like it's, it's a similar thing happening, right? It's just two different presentations of it. So back to that, Saying stop and visualizing a stop sign. If you can. And then taking a really big belly breath and you want to breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, and that will start to reset that chemical response.
[00:14:42] So it's going to be this three step process. So first visualization, second breath. And then the third part is what do you need to do now? So you want to make sure you're asking a what question or a how question? Not why? Anytime you go. Okay. Why am I feeling this? Why am I experiencing this? You're back in that spinning again.
[00:15:06] So we want to actually stop that anxiety from spinning. And so we want to ask ourselves, okay, what? So stop. Take a breath. Okay. What do I need to do? Well right now, I just need to get down. I need to get down from, from the wall. Can I do that? Yes, I can. Do I know how I do know how, okay. Maybe I'm going to go slow, but I can get down.
[00:15:29] So you notice I'm starting to reframe the anxiety. Right. Okay. And total solution basically? Yes. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And then the why part is if it feels safe to you or later on, I know you like to write things down in journals. You know, at that point, that would be a really good journal prompt of why, why did I get anxious?
[00:15:52] Or why did I feel like it couldn't do it? Or, you know, what was so bad about it or made me feel so bad that I started crying. Like those would be really good journal prompts and then bringing that into session next week and then we can go, oh, okay. Let's see if we can kind of tease this out a little bit more as far as why is that happening?
[00:16:12] Um, okay. Cause I, I see, so I try to figure out why when I'm in this scenario, but I think that might be a little bit overwhelming for me because I'm already like flooded with emotions that trying to figure out why it's just like, I just, like you said, I think I prefer focusing on the solution. Like you're saying, I think that's a really good idea.
[00:16:31] Yeah. And so that hopefully if it works, we'll stop that, that anxiety or that flooding that's happening and. The flooding part is why you're going right into crying, you know, and, and it's, it's almost, again, it's a coping mechanism and a release. Um, and so sometimes that response doesn't actually match what you're really feeling, you know, it's, I think it sounds like it's more.
[00:16:57] You're just overwhelmed. And so your body just naturally releases that way. And so when it's habitual like that, it takes a little time to rewrite the script, cause your base you're, you're having to retrain your brain, how to respond the way that you want it to. Um, and, and when you have that thought stopping, it gives you sort of that extra beat or to make sense before.
[00:17:23] You start being flooded where you're, you're cycling through it, or we call it ruminating. You're going around and around and around with it. Okay. Okay. I like that. I'm gonna try that. I think too, what I've learned to like, even from that single experience was, um, Setting myself up a little bit better. So that day I was really tired.
[00:17:44] We slept in a tent. The ground was super hard. We shouldn't have anything underneath us. So I was up every hour, like I did not sleep good. So that day I did my first time and I felt good, but I didn't want to climb anymore that day, but still I hopped on the wall and I think I didn't need to be more strict with myself and say, if you're not feeling.
[00:18:01] That's okay. And you can just hang out, take photos, like do other things like you don't have to force yourself to do something you don't want to do. Right. And I think I just need to remember that and just like, yeah. Be more strict with myself on that. Because going into something saying, I don't want to do this, obviously that's not going to probably be.
[00:18:21] Enjoyable of an experience. Right. So, yeah, just setting myself up a little bit more. And another thing I thought of too was, um, um, uh, oh yeah. If I can't emotion, if I don't feel emotionally like strong enough that day to deal with the fear, whether it'd be like the fear of Heights or the feel of failure, I feel like I should just do something a little bit easier that day, or just do a little bit less or sometimes not at all, you know, and just.
[00:18:50] Giving myself, um, that freedom to be like, okay, I don't feel like emotionally good right now. So I'm good. I'm just going to do something that kind of pumps me up a little bit. That makes me feel good. Right. Something, something a little bit easier maybe. Yeah. And they're all great. They're all great solutions.
[00:19:07] And so my question for you. What happens when you sort of override that, you know? So Y so we're going to ask why questions in therapy, because that way we can kind of get to the root of the, you know, hopefully the heart of the matter. So, you know, why do you think you jumped on the wall? Even though you're like, I'm tired and, and I don't know, maybe I'm, I should be done, but I don't, I don't want to be embarrassed.
[00:19:33] I don't want to discipline my partner, my friends. Like, what do you think was going on for you? Exactly what you said. The second one, like, I've always, I don't want to like let people down. I don't want to disappoint them. We came all this way and I feel like they're going to judge me if I'm not climbing too.
[00:19:49] Cause they're all climbing. So I think, yeah, I'm just like scared of being judged. I think. So where, like when you hear yourself saying that, where do you think that's coming from?
[00:20:03] Maybe a comparison like I comparing, or I don't feel good enough. Like I'm comparing myself to other people who are climbing a lot that day. Um, and yeah, maybe I don't feel good enough. Is there any other things that maybe you think I know that those, I mean, so. Okay. I don't feel good enough. That's that perfectionism.
[00:20:22] Right. I don't want to let people down that people pleasing, you know, like it's all interconnected. Right. Um, I don't want to feel like a failure. Does that sound like that resonates? Like, I don't want to feel judged. Like I don't want people to think. I don't know about me. Okay. So, so if they were to judge you, then what would that say about you?
[00:20:48] What would that sound like? Or what would that say about you? What would that say about me? Yeah. Um, it would say that maybe I'm lazy. Okay. What else? Give me a laundry list. Okay, so I'm lazy. What else? I'm um, I'm not, I'm not good. I'm maybe I'm not athletic. Um, keep going. Why did I come here in the first place?
[00:21:16] Your are you, are you kind of like a drag or, or just no fun to be around? Maybe, maybe not the first one, but it can be one. Okay. Um, you talked about, you know, that jealousy piece, so, um, they can all do it. I can't. They're better at it than me. So what else? Give me all of those. If, if I didn't do it, if I didn't climb, then it would say, what about.
[00:21:48] Okay. So I have this big fear that my partner wants someone that wants to date someone who's a really strong climber. Okay. And so that is big because every time I don't want to hop on the wall, if I'm just not feeling that day, I kind of force myself to just so I can like impress him or something so that I can be this.
[00:22:09] Like, not like someone who climbs for him or something, you know? Okay. So then if I don't, if I don't climb or I don't climb well, then he'll leave me. Yeah. At the end, like, yes. That's the very end of that. Okay. If I don't climb well, then I'm unlovable. I'm not worthy of being loved. Maybe I'm not his type is a good way to say it.
[00:22:39] Okay. Okay. And so if I'm not his type, then what does that mean?
[00:22:53] Like, I guess he's going to leave me. Yeah. Yeah. So, and if he leaves me, then what does that say about me? Um, I'm alone. I'm alone. I'm I'm unlovable. Right? Does that, does that feel like that hits I'm alone and I'm on level? Yeah. So call that a core belief. And that shows up in really early childhood. We, we all have these core beliefs.
[00:23:26] Again, it's not rational, but that's where that notice how much emotion is coming up. Right. 'cause it, it's a believed it's emotionally felt right. Physically felt and we believe it. Um, so. What's true about that statement. If I'm not a good climber, then I'm unlovable.
[00:23:54] It's true. Yeah. So I say this with like, without judgment and with love, right. That you're truly an empath. And what I mean by that is that you feel it all right. Physically feel it, you emotionally feel it psychically, you know, It's not logical. Right. And then it all happens at once. And so I think part of why it feels like it's hard to control is because you're, you're feeling it all these different levels.
[00:24:26] Right. So I don't know if that resonates or if I understand, correct. Oh, yeah. I definitely feel like I'm very observant and I just like feel people's emotions really strongly. And I don't really know how to like disassociate myself from other people's emotions. Like I would never want him to fully, like, I like being caring, but where it doesn't impact my day or where I don't like if I see someone else cry or I'm crying for sure.
[00:24:51] Someone else is in a bad mood instantly, like my mood is affected. So I don't really know how to like separate the two. Yeah. So let let's, I think that's, that's a really important kind of just aha about yourself. We should definitely come back to, I w I wanna go back a little bit, even though it's super painful to these core beliefs, right.
[00:25:14] That if then, because I think that that's part of what's coming up with, uh, you know, pushing yourself. I need to do it. I need to be good at it. Right. I can't give myself a break. Um, You know, cause it doesn't sound like you're saying I'm undeserving of a break. It's more about if, if I don't do this, then, um, the person that I love the most, right.
[00:25:40] Isn't going to love me and they're going to leave and I'm unlovable. It sounds like that's really what that core belief is about that abandoned does that. Right. Okay. So, so let's go through those like that if then is the way to sort of tackle, figuring that part out. And so then what we want to do is start to track that.
[00:26:04] So anytime you kind of get that same hint of like, um, if I don't do this, then. I'm not going to be good enough. Or if I, if I don't climb and I give myself a break, then I'm going to make him upset. Even though rationally, it doesn't make any sense. Right. Like if this were a logical, we wouldn't be having the conversation.
[00:26:23] You know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah. Cause sitting here now I'm like, this is emotionally. Yeah. But emotionally you're feeling it right now. Right? It's like, I'm scared. Okay. So tell me more about what you're feeling right now. When you think about that. Um, when I think like him abandoning me or leaving. Yeah.
[00:26:47] That if, you know, if I don't do this, if I don't climb, then he's not going to love me and he'll leave. Um, I am scared. Um, where do I feel it? Like, yeah. Um, well, my stomach, I feel like I hold anxiety a lot in my stomach. I was telling you that last time too, I have a lot of stomach issues. Um, and so every time I'm anxious, I like my stomach starts hurting.
[00:27:17] Like it starts getting like a little bit crappy. Um, and then, well, I feel it in my eyes cause I'm crying, mostly crying about it. So I feel it there maybe like, like again in my throat a lot. Okay. Then I start to get a little bit like sweaty. Okay, so stomach crampy, like, do you feel like you have sort of an acid reflux kind of response or stomach crampy where it's more GI issues where you're nauseous or yeah.
[00:27:49] More, not, not that much. Heartburn, unless I like eat something, but gives me the heartburn, but it's more like cramping and, um, yeah, like kind of, sometimes my stomach will like shaky even. I feel like kind of shaking. Um, so what, in, in the past has sort of calmed that down for you. Have you noticed anything that you do.
[00:28:17] Breathing definitely helps. And I'll try to like focus on the area that hurts. So if it's like a specific part of my stomach, I'll focus on that part and I'll just breathe through it. Um, and then also self massaging has, is really helpful or like going to do something that takes my mind off of it. But the number one for me is always.
[00:28:37] Like, I just always need to talk to get my emotions and my feelings, my ideas out. And actually, even if I don't get the chance to talk, say, um, something happened and you know, he has to go to work or even if it's with a friend and they just like, can't shout at this moment. And there's like some like anxiety between us.
[00:28:57] I go into like a straight panic mode. I just like, I can't. Go the whole day without chatting about it. I need to chat about it now. And you know, I'm very, like now I need to do it. God is not the best at self soothing. I'd say. Okay, good word. Yeah, really good word. So right now, scale, zero to 10, zero, like not feeling it at all.
[00:29:21] And 10 it's like, I need to go to the emergency room at the hospital. What number would you be? With stomach pain specifically, or like anxiety specifically or yeah, in this moment as we're talking about it. Right. You know, cause you know, a few minutes ago there was a lot of tears where you're like this, this really is hurting me.
[00:29:43] You know? So how, how bad is it? Zero? Not at all. 10. Really? Really? Like a four, I feel like I'm in like a safe environment right now. So I'm like, I don't feel like I'm very like sweaty, like I was saying, and like a little bit anxious, just like chatting all this in general. Um, but like, I feel, I feel okay.
[00:30:04] Like, I feel like I like working through it. Yeah. Okay. So, so talking, working through it, finding solutions you said earlier, that was super helpful, right? So I can just take a couple of like really big, deep belly breaths, like into your nose and out through your mouth and really slow down. So in, through your nose and out through your mouth, I was actually proud of myself too, because I was able to do this on the wall.
[00:30:37] Like yesterday when I was panicking, I just like close my eyes. I said, I don't care. Who's watching right now. I'm just going to take three deep breaths before I continue this. Good. Excellent. And did you notice that you started to come, come down from the panic a little. Yeah, it does definitely helped just to be able to focus on my breath.
[00:30:56] And that's not to say the thoughts didn't return. Like they definitely returned, but at least physically I felt a little bit calmer. Good. Okay. And I'm hoping that breathwork is going to start to ease some of the stomach cramping and that, that sore throat that you're describing. So some of the breath we'll S we'll slow.
[00:31:16] Biochemistry down a little bit. And so sort of return you back to that homeostasis or bowel or that balance your baseline. Um, yeah. And so that that's really what we're after. And so he, you know, here's the thing with all of these skills we've talked about today and I'll, I promise I'll recap them at the end for you.
[00:31:36] Um, They were great in the moment. And then 30 seconds later, you're right back in it again. And then it works great. And then, you know, 30 seconds later, like, the problem is, is it's not a one and done it doesn't work. And you're like, oh, cool. Done. I feel better. Problem solved. Right. And in part of it is this is your coping mechanism.
[00:31:58] And it's, and again, it's a way that you keep yourself safe, even though it doesn't seem rational or logical. You've probably been doing some version of this since you were a little kid, um, and ways to keep your, to keep yourself safe and keep yourself moving forward and, and continuing to, to do it anyway, or to engage or to disengage when it's not safe.
[00:32:21] So now we're trying to like, okay, now you're grown up and we've got to rerun. You know, this defense mechanism that really actually works very well for you. It keeps you out of having a full blown panic attack. So we don't want to just say, okay, let's get rid of it because it works really well. What we want to do is think about it as a light switch where you can kind of turn it down when you don't need.
[00:32:46] Right. And so on the wall you really started, like you you're like, oh, like over 50% of the way there. You're so close to like getting the skills. And so that deep breathing, you know, thought stopping, okay, I'm identifying the thoughts. I need to calm down. I need to just get down. Everything's going to be okay.
[00:33:07] Kind of that processing out loud, you know, is, is a huge piece of it. Like you were. Half of the way. I think if you can implement the thought stopping and really start, we can start to identify those core beliefs and why it's coming up for you. Um, then you'll really be able to take it to that next level and start controlling more of the crying component.
[00:33:31] And, and it's almost like pushing the reset button. You'll be able to do it quicker. So the trick is that if it doesn't work, do it again. Right and, and just keep, keep at it and keep, keep trying it. And what I'm after for us, between our sessions is that next time you're like, Hey Joe, what worked really well?
[00:33:53] And then I forgot about it, which is 99% of the people I talked to when they're first learning the skill they come in and they're like, it makes perfect sense. Yes, I can do this. And then they're like really good for 24 hours. And then they forget, right, because it's this. And so it's something where you have to really keep, I shouldn't say you have to, um, it's, it's keeping on it.
[00:34:16] And so like, if you could actually see my computer, I have, you know, sticky notes all over my screen. And so a lot of it are, are these cue reminders stop. I have one that says, wait, why am I talking right that acronym? So it's like, wait, why am I talking? Take a breath, you know, recenter. Okay. Now re-engage so sometimes writing those cues out for you, um, and just putting it on your computer, putting it on your bathroom mirror.
[00:34:50] So you are looking at it and it helps refresh, right? That sometimes we're. You know what I used to do. I used it on myself as a contact and send myself texts throughout the day and be like, you're doing great. Like keep it up and just like starting myself decks. But did it work? Yeah. Gotcha. I don't know. I guess I stopped doing it, but maybe I'll try it again.
[00:35:19] Yeah. Or just reminders, you know, like, like, Hey, that, that meeting was really hard or, Hey, you know, um, I'm feeling super anxious because he's going to be late from work and it makes me not right. Whatever it is, you know, those little reminders of. Maybe, and like you said, talking it out helps. So maybe just typing yourself a text of like, Hey, I'm feeling really anxious.
[00:35:44] I don't know what I'm worrying about. Like I just talked to him, it's going to take him, you know, I'm making, I'm making up a story, right. It's going to take an hour for him to get home and just typing that out to yourself. Cause like you said, that talking piece is really important for your processing. So I wonder if that might.
[00:36:05] Yeah, I think too. Um, I'm gonna, I like that idea. I'm going to try to maybe even talking to my dog, you know, like him, like listening might help too. Cause it might feel like I'm actually talking to someone, um, like speaking it out loud. Maybe it's helpful for me rather than just writing it down to like, maybe that's a good add on and I just want to, I just want to check with you.
[00:36:23] Do you think it's, um, something like this? Cause I thought about this yesterday too. Um, I'm really afraid of Heights. Okay. And the more I think about it, the more it's like, it's not really no natural for us to be in the air. Like, you know, we're not birds, like we're, we walk on land, but the thing is like, it is a safe sport.
[00:36:45] So I kind of see the same situation I'm going through emotionally. Mentally as well with the fear of Heights. And I'm wondering this whole, like retraining of your brain to tell yourself that it is a safe environment that you're in. Is that kind of like what you're describing with, Hey, you are emotionally safe right now.
[00:37:05] You don't have to be like afraid of people judging you or him leaving, et cetera. Is that like the same kind of thing going on? Yeah. Yeah. And, and it's interesting, right? You're afraid of Heights. And yet you climb, I hear this from a lot of people, um, especially with, with the clients that I work with. Um, and so, you know, part of that too, is developing a checklist to help with the anxiety.
[00:37:32] Right. Okay. Do I have all of my equipment? Is it in good working order? Do I have everything I need? Did I forget anything? Um, You know, um, is there anything broken? Right? Have I gone through all of my safety, you know, regulations? Is there anything that I'm missing? Do I need somebody else to check my gear?
[00:37:53] Right. So sometimes, and again, I'm making stuff up, but going through and creating yeah. To, to create a checklist for yourself. Right. So then before you start climbing, you go through your checklist, like, okay, have I done all of these things? Yes. Cool. You start and if it's like, oh no, I'm not sure. Okay. Then recheck.
[00:38:16] Right. So you kind of have you build in this checklist to help ease your anxiety. I'd say, you know, go back to that breath work, take a couple of deep breaths, you know, maybe, you know, roll your shoulders, roll your head, get yourself center. And then you go into the. Right. And so same thing on the descent where you notice the, the anxiety or that, that fear is coming up, you go through your checklist.
[00:38:41] Is everything in working order? Yes. I already checked. Right. Did somebody check my gear? Yes. Somebody already checked my gear. Did I safely get up here? Okay. I safely got it. Right. So you notice how I'm starting to go through and calm myself down. Right. And there's nothing that I forgotten because you've already caught that at the beginning of.
[00:39:02] And then you can, and then you start repelling and then practice that breathing. And when you notice the anxiety coming up again, go back to those big, deep belly breaths. Right. And see if you can keep it in what we call somatic or in your body and not so much in your head. Cause what it sounds like is you're getting wrapped in the, the, the fear and the anxiety, the intellectual realization of it.
[00:39:26] And so you're kind of rolling in your thoughts. Does that make sense? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I'm constantly thinking of like the, what ifs, like, you know, I don't know what if the rope breaks, like what if this happens? Cause I think hearing stories about, and this is with anything with me, like, um, if I hear stories about, um, car accidents or like climbing incidents or if you're biking and something happened, I think those stories are for me, like, yes, they help keep you safe because now you're making sure.
[00:39:58] But at the same time, they're really like hurting me because I'm constantly worried about my entire surroundings everywhere I go, because I'm like, oh, I heard a story last week. And this happened downtown. Now I'm scared to go downtown. Oh, I heard a story here on this car accident. Now I'm scared to drive, you know, so I need to start maybe listening to things that are a little bit more positive.
[00:40:19] That and, and, and unplugging. So if it's, if somebody, if it's a story that somebody is telling you, um, I am not as fan of true crime and horror story, like core, like that just scares the garbage out of me. And so, um, you know, I have in the past said, you know, like, So my people have like, okay, stop. Like, I can't hear it anymore and they laugh, but, but it's true.
[00:40:45] Like the only thing I can do to just disconnect from the anxiety or the fear that starts to well up is to have just like, please stop talking. Um, and they laugh because I'm ridiculous. They think it's funny. And, and so, but it works for me. Right. So some of it is. Knowing when you're starting to get those cues of like, this is moving into making me anxious.
[00:41:09] It's no longer helpful. Can you unplug if it's something you're listening to, or can you politely excuse yourself from the conversation, you know, or again, if it's, if it's somebody that you feel comfortable with or close to, can you go, no, I don't want to hear anymore. It's making me anxious. Right. Um, so sort of limiting your exposure might help.
[00:41:32] And then I think. Trying to apply all of the other skills we talked about today, because a lot of this. It works for all these different areas. And so we're sort of just cherry picking right now. Hey, let's apply it to this one scenario, but it actually works for everything. And so it's the same thing with driving, right.
[00:41:52] You know, are there air, is there air in the tires is the check engine light on and you know, did I have the oil change? You kind of go through, you know, do I drive safely? Do I have my seatbelts on, am I following the speed limits? You know, all of those things you create these checklists, um, Then when you notice you're feeling anxious, you, you can come back to that.
[00:42:12] What we call reference point of like, okay, I checked. Right. So it's, and it's not that it isn't a possibility. Cause then now you're out of reality, right? Because there are all sorts of things that are possible, right. Or, or probable doesn't mean it's actually going to happen. Okay. Okay. I think you, when you mentioned the driving thing, um, sometimes when I've been driving, uh, I get bored, so I start to overthink things.
[00:42:39] So I, I bring myself back to my breath, but I've also been focusing on like my hands on the steering wheel or like my feet on the ground. Um, so kind of like feeling and like what I smell or things like that. And so I just thought maybe I can bring that to the wall or into like other scenarios, like maybe when I'm climbing, instead of thinking.
[00:43:00] I'm going to got it right now. I could instead think like, oh, what is the rock feel like on my fingers? Like, you know, um, like things like that and get more, a little bit more like into the experience rather than in my head making up stories. Yeah, absolutely. So exactly. And, and it's, uh, you know, we call it the five senses or the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
[00:43:22] Right. Grounding exercise, but that's exactly what you're talking about. So when you're in your head getting into your body, what do you smell? What you see, what you feel? Is it hot or cold? Um, you know, what colors are you noticing? You know, um, and you really start looking at environmental. Input and, and physical or, or sensation.
[00:43:47] Right? My, um, taste, touch sound, right. That kind of a thing. And so you're really tapping into that when you're in your head, when you're in your body. And you're like, my stomach hurts, I'm going to cry. My throat hurts. Like I feel this cramping happening or this shaking. We want to move you into your head and make it intellectual, which is why I'm going back to.
[00:44:13] Thought stopping of like, okay, stop, take a breath. What's next. So notice how I'm actually getting away from the body response. Right. So we call it type rating. When you're in your head, you moved to your body when you're in your body, you move to your head. Makes sense. Yeah. Like a balance. Yeah. Yeah. And the breathing and keeping that breathing.
[00:44:40] So, um, You know, we, we talked a lot, you know, from, from where we started, you outlining, you know, the five things that you really want to look at while we're doing sessions together, you know, today's just sort of an overview of all of these little different things that, that you talked about. More of a 40,000 foot level of, Hey, here's these different experiences there's, they're thematic.
[00:45:05] If you think about just the anxiety and how that shows up for you and all of the different areas that you outlined. Um, and so right now, today, we're really just focusing on, okay, what are some skills that might help sort of decrease the amount of anxiety that you emotionally feel right or intellectually feel, and then also physically feel so.
[00:45:27] You know, looking at it from two different angles. And so we talked about a couple of different skills that we're using and then what I'd like you to do is try it. If it works super cool, keep doing it. And, um, I know you like to journal and write notes. So keep a log like, Hey, this worked. If it doesn't work cool, you're not hurting my feelings like here.
[00:45:50] Here's the most important thing is there are a million therapy techniques. And Al and most of them are really good. And so right now we're using a multi-modality approach. So we're picking and choosing from different theories to see what's actually gonna work for you. So if it doesn't work, it just means we have the wrong theory.
[00:46:10] And so you're not hurting my feelings and that's super helpful for me to know, to come in and go, Hey, I tried this thing and it wasn't helping. So, okay, cool. Then we can kind of dissect that and figure out, okay, why didn't it work? And then what, what did we think would be a better choice? Um, what I'm looking for in the therapy process is what we call resistance when you're like, Nope, I'm not doing it.
[00:46:35] I'm like, oh, okay. There's something there. Right? Yeah, you didn't have any resistance that came up that I noticed in this session, right. It's either like, oh yes, that resonates. Or, oh no, that's not what really the issue is for me, which is super helpful to have that guide. Um, so I know, you know, how to direct our time together.
[00:46:58] How does that sound perfect. Yeah, no, I'm really excited to try these new techniques. Like they all, some very helpful for me. Cool. So just to quickly recap, we had, um, the, the thought stopping that was that stop sign, right. Taking a breath and then what's next and staying either in what or how moving into solution and not Y we had Y for journaling.
[00:47:25] So when you go back identifying. You know, why do I think that happened? Whose voice that was or how old do I feel are all really good prompts for, for your journaling and trying to keep pulling that up. The third thing we talked about was identifying core beliefs. And we did that through if then statements, you know, if I fail at this, then I'm unlovable, right?
[00:47:53] And I'm, again, I'm making something up, but that was that core belief, if then statements. And then the last thing we talked about was that titrating, when you're in your head, that you're going into more physical responses and when you're in your body, you're moving more into. Um, that Intel intellect, right.
[00:48:13] Or the thinking responses. So questions, concerns, thoughts. I'm excited. Um, I was wondering maybe, um, cause I didn't, I didn't want to type, so maybe if you could just send me the last bit that you just said, just in point form. That would be awesome. Just so I can reference it when I'm trying to practice.
[00:48:33] Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Um, we can, we can absolutely get that to you. And then, um, however you want to start for next week, the, usually what I'd like to do is check in like, Hey, how was last week for you? Did anything come up about the session? Um, and then, you know, okay, what's on your agenda to talk about today and then we'll just jump right in.
[00:48:58] Um, I, I think. If the flow feels good to you. So when you think about this a little bit, you know, we kind of meandered in and out of some different topics, but we connected them all through that anxiety. Um, if you want to stick to one topic, then that's super helpful for me to know, and then I can keep kind of bringing it back to, okay.
[00:49:19] Hey, we were talking about this one thing right now, so there's a bunch of different approaches. See what you think and how it feels for you. And then, um, we can readdress. Okay. Awesome. I definitely like, like, I will jump around a bit because when I'm, I'll just think, think of another scenario or a situation that's happened and how it's connected in some way, but like, I love that you kind of referred back to something that we hadn't finished too.
[00:49:46] So I liked, I liked both. I liked the way the session went a lot. Thank you. Good. You're welcome. Any last thoughts or, or feelings? Okay. You want to just share it? I don't think so. I think I'm good. Cool. All right. Well, let me know how it goes. You know how to reach me in between sessions and, um, And then keep your notes, keep writing your notes.
[00:50:09] It's great work. You're doing great job. And, um, skills, skills work as hard, right? Just what I always try and tell myself is if it were that easy, everybody would be doing it and I would be doing it really well. And I teach this stuff for a living. Right. So just remind yourself, these are easy concepts to understand.
[00:50:30] Right, but they are in no way, easy to implement. It actually is quite difficult. And so find some grace for yourself. And, you know, if you, if you forget, you forget no big deal, try again. Tomorrow is a new day. So really focusing that anxiety and keeping it to trying to stay present. And when you find that your future tripping and you're starting to worry, come back to that present.
[00:50:56] Okay. What do we need to do right now? Yeah. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Um, lately I've been, sometimes I'll worry about something and then I'll get sidetracked with something else. And then I'd say, oh, I have to go back to the worrying. Like, what was I even worrying about? And I'm like, no, no, you're literally not going back there.
[00:51:15] And I don't, I'm like, no way. Perfect. .