Monday, March 4, 2013

Progress...DBT Skills to the TEST!

Do you know the pure satisfaction and sense of accomplishment you get when you're able to cross something off of your "To Do" list?  No matter how small and've made progress and that is sometimes a GREAT feeling!!! 
Yesterday morning as I was enjoying some rare quiet time with my S/O, I was jolted by several text messages advising me to check my Facebook page.  Against my better judgement, I pulled myself out of bed and did just that.  I was instantly triggered by what I read...and quickly responded to what I felt was an unprovoked attack.  ALL of my DBT skills went out the window...NO WiseMind. NO Mindfulness.  NO Radical Acceptance. No Mindful breaths. WHOA!!!  What just happened???  Everything I had learned and practiced for the last six months seemingly were gone, POOF---in a matter of seconds.  I felt dejected.  I felt like a failure. 

After about an hour of texting, emailing and obsessing S/O had FINALLY had enough.  He snatched my iPad and phone and gently but sternly said "ENOUGH."  He told me to get dressed because we were going OUT.  I huffed and threw a semi-tantrum, because my plan was to spend a quiet day at HOME, together.   He handed me 2 cubes of ice, and quietly walked away.  He realized before I did the path that I was taking and lovingly steered me back to the road of recovery.  I'm thankful for a companion that has taken the time to LEARN about my mental illness and ALSO how to help me navigate through it.  He was helping me to practice my #DBT distraction skills...before I even knew what was going on. 

DBT has taught me that during a crisis, I can engage in activities that will help to distract me from my distress...and I can also distract with other physical sensations (IE: the ice cubes shook me out of my distressed feelings).  On our way out to the mall and lunch...he had me describe in detail exactly how I envision our trip to Tahiti will be.  YET AGAIN, another technique that uses POSITIVE mental imagery---allowing OTHER thoughts to pass through my mind, to give myself and my mind a reprieve from the other MESS that I had experienced earlier in the  day. 

After all of that...and many hours later, I was able to stand on my own.  Without help from the S/O I engaged in some self soothing techniques that sealed the deal!  I lit my sage, enjoyed a long bubble bath...and listened to worship music for what seemed like hours.  I was in my own world!  Ended the night with some guided meditation, and slept peacefully.

A few things that I learned yesterday is:

*Six months ago, I would have allowed being triggered to completely consume me and destroy my day/life...once anxiety sets in, it's hard to get out of it's grip.  While I did have help from my S/O---I utilized the skills I've learned in DBT, and was able to get on with my day/life.  I initially felt as though I had failed to utilize my DBT skills, but I was able to pull it together!! the smallest form is STILL progress!!!!!

*I'm not perfect...but I'm SURELY not the person I used to be. 

*Let go of criticism!!  People will criticize you and try to keep you bound to your past and the person that you USED to be. The past is just that, MY PAST.  I didn't run from it, I owned it and learned from it and NOW I'm going forward.

*What other people express is more about THEM and their perceptions...not about me, and I don't have to take their perceptions personally. We are all individually entitled to our own perceptions.  People will be people.

*TRUE loyalty doesn't fade...even when the friendship/relationship has.  I have to be ME, regardless of what THEY do or say. 

*Last but certainly not least......yesterday, I realized more than ever, how blessed I am to have someone to walk this journey WITH me.  Someone who promised to love me UNTIL I learned to love myself.  Even in crisis, good things are revealed.

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