One of the reasons I described the CBT I've been doing for sleep problems as "useless" is the fact that every Thursday night, I end up staying awake the whole night because I'm procrastinating doing the exercises I'm supposed to have done during the week. The obvious question is "Why don't you just get started, as starting is always the hardest thing?", but if I knew why
I get too stressed out to start, I'd be able to do something about it.
It doesn't help that I really resent having to keep a sleep diary. There's a recovering anorexic who writes a column called "An Apple A Day" in the Body & Soul section of The Times
, and she was saying only the other day how many therapists recommend ( Cut for the benefit of anyone who'll be stressed out by it )
. I have exactly the same problem with a sleep diary. It emphasises the fact I haven't managed to go to bed before 5am any day in the week, and makes me feel wretched - which is hardly a good state to try to recover in!
And I wrote all over the forms before I even started seeing this therapist that I didn't want to sleep at the same hours as other people in my timezone. 3 am-midday works
for me, as long as I can keep it stable. The problem is that illness, chronic fatigue, or - yes, distraction or lack of willpower makes my bedtime drift later, so my waking up time drifts later, and I end up not getting out of bed until 5 p
m. That is a problem. Getting up at noon isn't
. Focusing on the hours I sleep as the problem totally misses the things I need to work on. I didn't appreciate being bullied into agreeing to "try" going to bed between 2 am and 4 am and getting up between noon and 2 pm (he wanted noon to 1pm, I said "Why is the going to bed window 2 hours but the getting up window 1 hour? That doesn't make sense"). Oh yeah, he wanted the going to bed window to be 1 am to 3am and I freaked - I love those couple of hours after midnight when it's quiet and I can think.
I'm pissed off because I don't think I've been doing any of the things that CBT is supposed to be about
. One of my friends is going through CBT exercises in his livejournal about difficult situations, each time looking at: Action --> Belief --> Consequences --> Disputing Belief. That looks like useful and valid work. I was under the impression that CBT is about teasing out negative thoughts at the back of your brain and then challenging them with positive beliefs. Well, I haven't even done
any thought challenging - nothing serious enough for me to remember, take home and be able to use. It's just been arguing about why I go to bed so late. A few useful things have come out of that, but telling me to go to bed earlier doesn't make me get tired earlier!
And today is supposed to be my last session - apparently you only get 6 sessions now, not 8. I am quite thoroughly pissed off and considering finding a private therapist, one who is properly experienced in CBT for sleep difficulties and understands what delayed sleep phase syndrome is
instead of trying to fob me off with the same bloody "sleep hygiene" stuff that Does Not Work.
I wish the therapist I saw for medical phobia was still around - she was brilliant.