Here’s a letter one of male teen clients wrote after successful completion of cognitive behavior therapy. It’s a very motivating letter for all ages even adults!
The engine of my car rumbled when I came here, but the funny thing was that I didn’t even know where I was going. Then my parents said “Remember those scary pictures the kids showed you and you were very scared about that?” and I said “Yeah…” Then they said “we’re going to do something about that so we’re going to take you to a therapist to deal with that and not be scared about them anymore.”
I had a lot of fears about looking at the pictures because if my parents said I was scared, I knew at some point I’d see those pictures again. I thought Saryna would be very mean, and I didn’t want to have to be one of those people lying down on the couch just talking. I was totally unready at first. I just didn’t want to be here when we started talking. Once we came up with the hierarchy list, I was completely not ready for doing anything on that list. For the first few times we did the hierarchy, I thought I could do them, but I knew I couldn’t do anything above a level 5. Especially with a level 10, I would have run away. But the third time I was here, we already started and I said “It was no big deal” afterwards. After that, I knew I could definitely get through all of these. If I were to do the highest thing on the hierarchy list then, I would have never came back here again. Currently, I am 11 years old and I can look at one of the scariest pictures in the world.
“Just do it. Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Just do it.”
This is the quote you should think about when something that you have great anxiety around happens.
The practices here were like the practices I did for the multiplication test I had in 3rd grade. I was practicing my multiplication tables with my mom every day. The day I took the test, I got a really good score – almost 100%. This reminds me of now and the whole year I was here. At the beginning, I was so scared to see the pictures. Now, it’s like the day I took the test. I may have a little anxiety when I see the pictures, but I can do it easily.
I learned that sometimes I go turtle speed and sometimes I go rabbit speed. Just like a band aid, if you go really slow to take it off, it’s really painful. But if you go really fast, it hurts too. If you go at the right speed, it doesn’t hurt as much. I realized this is my own speed. It’s my speed that helps me do things and doesn’t make me scared.
My fear was that I couldn’t handle myself in the dark, and I was constantly waking up and going to my parents’ bed. It has probably been a year and when I compare my new self with my old self, you can see a huge difference in my levels of anxiety.
There were two ways I realized my brain was tricking me. Recently, I have had many bloody noses in the middle of the night and whenever I had them I would usually depend on my parents to stop the bleeding and take care of it, and then I would go to their bed because I was awake and scared. But the latest one I’ve had was a very surprising experience because I handled the bleeding and my nose all by myself, and once I was done, I realized I didn’t need my parents to do it.
My brain was tricking me about that. I was really proud of myself after that happened because my brain would trick me all the time. Another reason why I learned my brain was tricking me, each time we looked at a cut up picture of the characters I was scared of, I realized I was willing to bring it closer to me. From that, I realized my brain was tricking me to be constantly cautious without being willing to try anything uncertain.
So that’s why I have created a character of my own called Mr. Muntz. Mr. Muntz helped me realize every time my brain kept saying “no you can’t do this!” That’s what Mr. Muntz would be saying. So to prevent that from happening, I created another character called Homeyeggagetasaurous Rex. Homeyeggagetasaurous Rex was a combined character of all of my favorite people and fantasy and real life. When I thought of Homeyeggagetasaurous Rex, it helped me realize that I can conquer whatever Mr. Muntz told me because the reckless dinosaur I created helped me think of a silly, cool, and strong personality of myself and I wouldn’t need to worry about anything that I’ve done or will be doing that would make me feel scared and have a really high anxiety level.
So as you can see, you can always try even if you’re scared of doing it. As I said, you should listen to the quote “Just do it. Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Just do it.” so that you can focus on the happy time and not let your worries control you.
The Boy Whose Dreams Came True