CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Toast

Butter and Toast the teddy bears

Cuddling Butter the bear intensely Today I want to tell you a bit about a certain type of psychotherapy I’ve had in the past, and just started again, and how it came to bring my teddy bear even closer to me.

A few years ago I was very ill; I was bouncing in and out of the loony bin and generally feeling awful about myself. I was very bothered by some of the psychotic symptoms I had that the medication didn’t really help with. So I was pleased, at the end of 2009 after many years waiting, to be offered a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis.

CBT is based around the idea of finding new ways to think about problems so they are less problematic – you can change your life by changing your thinking, essentially. These new ways of thinking about problems don’t have to be accurate, objective models of that problem; whatever works, however outlandish, works.

When I started the CBT for psychosis I was an in-patient in the nut house and constantly terrified of the voice I heard and the nasty, dirty, hairy rat-like things I could constantly see running about me. I was convinced they were coming to get me. When I got to the CBT sessions I got out my then top teddy Butter and cuddled him intensely whilst I wept and howled my way through the session.

It was obvious I was very attached to Butter, so the therapist and I ended up working him into the CBT. My new thought was that, because Butter was a big, growly bear he would easily see off the rats before they came to get me. It may sound odd, but the mental trick was to think Butter really was protecting me from the monsters.

It was a brilliant idea! My anxiety about the rats quickly diminished as long as I had Butter with me. I always carried Butter in my backpack so it was no different keeping him with me constantly to protect me from the beasties.

My teddy bear is now Toast, pictured with Butter below, and he also protects me from the rats. I carry him everywhere with me and I’m very happy to. When my anxiety levels increase so do the number of rats, so I appreciate him all the more at such times – not least because it’s just rather nice to cuddle your security object when you’re anxious.

Well done, Butter and Toast!

 Butter and Toast

I hope your New Year has been happy and fun and continues in much the same vein.

  • Bibbi

    While i’m fortunate not to have suffered such extreme levels of anxiety, it is not an unfamiliar concept to me – i suffered from panic attacks for a number of years and was on some (far too) strong meds. Then i found that the more space i gave my little side the less stressed out i became, and i haven’t had a relapse in the last five-six years, despite not taking any meds – which also happens to be how long i’ve embraced my little fully. The whitecoats would probably say my teddy Rusti is a transitional object, which sounds pretty important and all – but to me he’s infinitely more: a friend when i need comfort, a playmate when i’m lonely, a white knight when i am scared, a philosopher when i doubt – a warm cuddly thing when i am cold. Teddy <3 = True <3

  • Bibbi, I too am a lot happier now I’ve embraced my little side more, problem is I was reasonably bonkers to start with. Cuddling Toast makes me so much happier generally speaking. He’s coming into psychotherapy with me at the moment and he’s making that difficult process rather easier. I may be less and less mad if that continues to go well.

  • Tommy_In_Salem_New_Hampshire

    Hello Davey,

    I myself have been in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

    I am a person with both Mild Autism & Mild Cerebral Palsy. I am also 100% medically incontinent, both #1 & #2.

    Yes! I will acknowledge that I myself am an Adult Baby.

    I & my younger non-disabled brother were “raised” by a Mom who was mentally-ill & psychotic, who never accepted any treatment.

    Anyway, I am age 54 (almost 55), & my own mental health care provider understands, that “internally” I am a “mess”, on top of having to live with 2 lifelong “mild” forms of the developmental disabilities of Autism & Cerebral Palsy.

    Whenever I am away from home, I carry with me, my “Widdle Giraffe”, “Wuv-Wuv”, & he helps me feel safe.

    Even though my insane psychotic Mom has been dead now almost 5 years, I still have a lot of PTSD flashbacks from being severely abused in childhood & through my early adulthood.

    I apologize for intruding on your part of Cyberspace.

    Peace,

    Tommy

  • BeautifulDizastr

    As always I agree completely with you, sometimes the only thing that makes us feel safe from whatever demons we may carry around is our trusty pals, mine happens to be a big stuffed Smurfette, I can’t sleep without her and when my anxiety gets to be too much and I start to panic, I go straight to my room & cuddle with her 🙂

  • Thank you, B.D.! Toast and I are a team who are never separated so we can get on with life. With Toast’s help I don’t do so badly at that:)