Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has anyone been through it?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by SusieQ13, May 23, 2006.

  1. SusieQ13

    SusieQ13 New Member

    Hi everyone

    I've just launched in to a CBT progamme and I wanted to know if anyone has had success with it.

    I'm suffering from Post Viral Fatigue or CFS - my doc isn't sure what she wants to call it, but from what I've read they are one and the same. So I guess it doesn't really matter.

    It was recommended to me by my work colleague who was off for over 12 months with Post Viral Fatigue and she said that CBT was her saving grace and turned her life around.

    I've been suffering from my symptoms since July 2005 but only been off work for past 6 weeks and I've made hardly any progress at all. If anything, I seem to be going backwards. Which lead me down the CBT path because I think I'm doing too much.

    So - hence my question above. I'm really interested to know if CBT has worked for any of you.

    Please let me know your views - I'd really appreciate any advice I can get.

    Thanks in advance.

    Sue
  2. foggygirl

    foggygirl New Member

    I'm so glad you posted this. My situation is almost identical except I'm into this by over 1 yr. I'll be very interested in how it works for you, so please keep us posted on your progress.

    My symptoms started out rather mild but have esculated alarmingly, so maybe you are wise to start treatment this early. I've been told by docs to either 'ignore' it or 'wait and see' approach--which obviously didn't work because I am so much worse.

    Definitely don't over-do it. One of my docs perscribed strenuous exercise--"no pain, no gain" tough army guy approach, and I blame him for the poor state I'm in now.

    I know this post is of no help to you (sorry) but I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know how it is working for you--maybe it'd work for me too.

    Good luck

    Foggygirl
  3. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    as i was hoping it would help me fix the cognitive dysfunction (you can see where i'm coming from lol)

    so anyway he explained what it was and said i didnt need to go as i already do it.

    i set about learning about fm and m,e and at the same time learnt how to keep a hold on some of the symptoms. i call the illnesses my many headed beast.

    just keep bopping the heads of your monster :). i am improving from the tired out mess i was and am now doing soooo much. i did it with pacing, relaxation methods, the right balance of meds for me, a great family and a massive drive. i dont live in the negative either so on a day when you can do very little dont look around thinking i cant do this or that think on what you did do.

    i think i got up got the kids up did breakfast got them to school on time - my mum never did - and then drove home without crashing the car lol. look to your positives :) swimming/ gentle stretches and walking/training my dogs help too.

    look to your strengths, cbt is nothing to worry about and will help loads xxxx
    [This Message was Edited on 05/25/2006]
  4. shanwill

    shanwill Member

    hi there,
    i've done the CBT route. it does help and is useful. i will say though, it is not a cure. i have had CFS for 3 yrs now and improvement has been slow but steady. inches forward and inches back.

    i think what it does do is help you deal with this illness. it's not depression where you can take a pill and do CBT and really turn your life around, this is something different i believe. it's physical. but your emotions can influence how severe things get and hopefully provide a better balance.

    i would do it again. i found it nice to have a place to express myself and get help for dealing with a chronic illness. i had orginally thought - do this, and i'll finally get better and be back to a normal life. however 3 yrs later (and still hopeful of recovery) i see no matter how much positive thinking and courageous will power you have, at the end of the day, there is no magic 'fix'. just do everything to help yourself and accept the limits.

    anyway, i hope this gives you something to think about. good luck.

    shannon
  5. KelB

    KelB New Member

    CBT helped me enormously. It was presented as a coping mechanism not a cure, and has worked as such.

    I was shown a variety of different techniques. The ones which helped me were:

    - introducing four regular half hour rest periods per day
    - an explanation of what "rest" means in this context (total physical AND mental relaxation, not just sitting still for a while e.g. meditation, breathing exercises)
    - how to pay attention to my body so that I could work out what activities made me worse
    - how to look at those activities and modify them so that they had less of an impact on my energy (e.g. instead of doing half a day's housework then collapsing for three days, do 15 minutes chunks of housework over four days with rests between).

    There were also topics that didn't help so much, like positive thinking and how to be assertive with doctors. However, as with all things CFS, different techniques work for different people. What my Occ Therapist asked is that during the course, we try all of them so that we were in a position to decide what to carry on with.

    After a year of living by my sub-set of "the rules", I will be back to work full time the week after next. Without CBT, I would undoubtedly have lost my job and be worse than ever.

    I agree with the previous poster, who said that CBT would help anyone with a chronic or incurable condition - it isn't specific to CFS. My mother has crippling arthritis and I wish I could get her on a course like this.
  6. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    you would be surprised just how much that does work, like i said in my first post think on what you can do.

    the assertiveness with your dr thing, as i also said i sat and studied and now i can say to my gp i like this as it helps a b and c but i would like to stop this because of this.

    but dont be over confident, my mil will walk in and say i want this drug at this rate. she has a crap dr who will just dish it out but she thinks he is great :( most drs will just get grumpy and upety over it.
  7. colinjn

    colinjn New Member

    Hi,
    I took CBT through our Universiy Hospital. Great staff and Great Program, but not a cure.

    It is one more arrow in the quiver and will help get rid of those nasty circular messages bouncing around your brain. It will teach you how to get perspective on yourself and situations and how NOT to become a victim.

    That said, the core physical problems of CFS remained for me. However; if you have post viral fatigue, you CAN expect to travel on a road to good health in a fairly progressive way. CBT will be of great value to you in that journey.

    I had to change the focus to learning to live with what is seeming to be a permanent disability. CBT has helped me ride the roller coaster of hope and disappointment,and put some control in my life.

    Hope this helps
    Colin


  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I think a lot has to do with how quickly you begin after diagnosis. A friend of mine began CBT and Paxil almost immediately and is now working full time, no signs of CFS.

    It also seems likely to me that CBT can help in almost any siituation where stress is a culprit.

    I'd go for it!

    Marta
  9. SusieQ13

    SusieQ13 New Member

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put your thoughts down for me.

    I've been sitting around 'thinking' about my illness for months and now it's time to start 'doing' something about it. I feel quite positive that CBT will help to cope with my symptoms better and I've already noticed certain things from filling in my diary and Fatigue Rating charts. I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting any better and I've realised that my base level is already too high and I thought I was relaxing but as far as CBT is concerned - what I've been doing is classed as 'activity'. Which makes perfect sense now! This week is my analysis week and then next week I am going to attempt to stick to a schedule for 7 days and see what happens. I'll let you know how I get on.

    Thanks again for all your support everyone.

    cheers

    SusieQ
  10. horselover2

    horselover2 New Member

    a therapist, OT, how do you locate someone? i think i could use it
    thanks
    Anne
  11. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    your gp will refer you. i think its a group thing at the hospital. someone will clafify :)
  12. SusieQ13

    SusieQ13 New Member

    Hi everyone

    I think it depends where you live with regards to locating a therapist. I live in the UK and you can be referred by your GP and go through the National Health Service (which is funded by tax payers) or you can go private and pay for one.

    Firstly I'm going to see if I can get referred by my GP because I've gone down the 'self-help' route based on the book my friend (who was off work for a year with CFS) recommened to me. If the waiting lists are too long, then I've already got a list of local therapist and I'll pay for it myself if I have to.

    I believe the average number of sessions is between 6 and 20. So depending on the level of progress I make, will depend on how many sessions I go to.

    In the UK there is a national register for therapists that I located on the internet. See info below.

    www.babacp.com (British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies)

    I will let you know how I get on.

    Thanks again everyone!

    Sue
    x
  13. KelB

    KelB New Member

    Yep, my CBT was on the NHS. I have one of the few NHS Chronic Fatigue hospital units near me. I got even more lucky and found that they a) accept that CFS is physical in origin, b) present CBT as a way of living with symptoms better, not as a cure and c) strongly disagree with GET as a treatment for CFS.

    If you have an NHS (or even a private unit) near you that can give CFS-focussed CBT, then do some research into their approach before you go. If they deal with CFS as a purely psychological illness and/or use GET, run like the clappers and don't look back!

    You do need the CBT to be given by a person who understands CFS. If you fall into the hands of someone who doesn't understand the impact of activity or exercise, then you could get entirely the wrong advice.

    I agree that the sooner you get good CBT, the more likely it is to help. I was on the waiting list for a course after 6 months, just after my formal diagnosis, and had never had the diagnosis of CFS questioned - in fact it was accepted by two GPs and two consultants. I was therefore open to the fact that CBT might be able to help.

    One poor person in my group had been told for 10 years by his GP that there was nothing wrong with him. Most of his CBT had to be focussed on getting him to admit that he was ill at all. Once the barriers are up and regularly reinforced by the medical profession, it takes a lot to bring them down and make other CBT techniques effective.
  14. SusieQ13

    SusieQ13 New Member

    Thanks for all your advice - really really helpful and I will be mindful of the pitfalls now.

    Will post again when I've been to see my doctor on Tuesday and see what she says.

    Cheers

    SusieQ