I may not have the money for DBT treatment right now but I do have my trusty workbook!
I just read about Living in the Present moment so I have some skills on how to bring myself back to the present when I’ve been “time travelling”. For example, if I’m speaking with another person and I find my mind wandering to past mistakes I can bring myself back by noticing what they’re wearing or things around me; things that are in the present.
So, self-encouraging thoughts. I’m actually pretty good at this (when I want to) and have used it a lot in the past. Many times when I am in distress I find myself with people who are unable to support me so being able to support myself is very crucial.
Here are a few self-encouraging thoughts I checked off to use:
“This situation won’t last forever.”
“I’ve already been through many other painful experiences, and I’ve survived.” (A variation of this is actually written on a piece of paper in my bathroom)
“I can ride this out and not let it get to me.”
“I’m not in danger right now.”
“This situation sucks but it’s only temporary.”
“I’m strong and I can deal with this.”
I find it telling that as I’m choosing which thoughts I can do I’m skipping over a lot because I feel like I couldn’t say them. That I couldn’t believe them. I know I am strong though but I don’t usually feel it in those moments.
Step at a time.
The workbook includes a worksheet to record stressful events of where I’ve used self-encouragement. There are 10 spots for 10 events. I’ll report back when it’s filled.
On the previous DBT Workbook post it talked about the importance of a higher power in time of distress. The book offers some activities to help you connect with whatever your higher power is.
I’ve selected the follow of the suggested activities:
-Your higher power can be a person/people who make you feel stronger and more confident to deal with the challenges that face you. Think of someone who you admire who can be your higher power.
-Look up at the stars. Connect with them.
- Think about the Earth, what does it mean to live on a plant that can support life.
- Go to the beach, a park or field.
-Think about the human body, especially your own.
Taking a time out is also important I actually already try to do this. Having time out to yourself is a great way to treat yourself and give you time to refocus on what you want to be doing.
I agreed to try all of the suggested activities such as:
- Do one nice thing for yourself that you’ve been putting off (maybe a tattoo in the summer?).
- Take time to yourself.
-Take a day off from work or school.
-Take time to do things for your life like running errands.
I find that I am capable of doing all of things but so far only when I’m in a good mood which I feel defeats the purpose of these suggestions being “advanced distress tolerance”. I need to put more focus onto utilizing these skills when I’m in a bad mood, becoming angry or when I am angry.
Previously: Self Harm Timeline
How you feel BEFORE you self-harm
Thinking of your most recent experience of self-harm, answer any of these you feel comfortable with:
Describe what happened.
I was arguing with my partner and saying I didn’t feel like he cared about me. He told me this was wrong and that I need to stop saying those lies to myself. I began to panic because I felt like I couldn’t trust myself. I couldn’t understand how I could feel so confident about something but it be wrong and if it was wrong, why couldn’t I talk myself out of it?
What led you to do it?
A need to feel something that was real and too bring myself down from the strange feelings and thoughts I had going on inside.
What did you feel before?
Panic, desperation and out of control.
What else was important at the time? (Events, thoughts, memories, exhaustion, voices etc.)
I don’t think I was focused on anything but needing to come back down, I guess coming back to “reality”.
Was there anything else in the background? (This may be something current or an echo from the past)
I don’t think so. I was very focused on the moment and getting control back.
Did you spend a long time thinking about harming, or was it impulsive, or both?
More impulsive. I sat for a few seconds with the scissors and thought about if I wanted to do this since cutting lately hadn’t had the same calming effect it used to but I did it anyways.
Is that your usual way (if no, what was the difference)?
My self harm is usually a combination of thought and impulse. The more I think the less likely I am to do it or the less likely it will have the desired effect I want. This was just the first time in a long time that my self harm was impulsive and I can only assume it was because of my desperate need to regain control over my mind and body.
How do you feel now?
I feel that if I can keep getting that relief that I want to keep self harming. If I can’t then I want to continue with different coping techniques. I know that experience won’t always happen because I am in more control of myself than ever before which is good.
Committed Action builds off of the Rediscover your Values I did last time. The worksheet requires that I identify those values which I ranked 5-10 and identify an intention and actions for each value. The purpose of this is to encourage me to engage in activities that will help fulfill my life and meet my values. There are 3 spaces on the worksheet (you can photocopy more) so I’ll use the top 3 that I ranked with a 10.
“Having a fulfilling life can give you something to look forward to when you’re doing something you don’t like, and it can make you feel stronger during times of distress.”- DBT Workbook
1. A component of my life I value is: Family
My intention for this component is: Interact with my family more.
The committed actions that I’m willing to take include the following:
- Call at least once a week
- Visit at least once a month (if money is available)
- Do what I can to be available for special events
2. A component of my life I value is: Romantic Relationship
My intention for this component is: Respect my partner’s space.
The committed actions that I’m willing to take include the following:
- Be more empathetic to his needs
- Not talk about myself so much
3. A component of my life I value is: Education and Training
My intention for this component is: Keep learning
The committed actions that I’m willing to take include the following:
- Attend more free lectures
- Read more books
- Attend classes (if money allows)
It’s been awhile since I last did any work in my DBT Workbook. Last time, September 8, I worked on que controlled relaxation which is ok, especially when my word is “breathe” so that’s what I start doing.
Rediscovering my values allows me to remember what I feel is important and in times of stress can help one focus and overall allow you to build a better life for yourself.
I was given 10 value components and asked to rank them 0 (being not important) to 10 (being top importance).
Family (other than romantic relationships or parenting): 10
Romantic Relationships (marriage, life partners, dating etc): 10
Parenting: 0 (I have no children)
Friends and Social Life: 9
Education and Training: 10
Recreation and Fun: 9
Spirituality and Religion: 1
Citizenship and Community Life: 8
Self Care: 8
Next time: Committed Action
This song is on the Just Dance 4 Wii game I have I relate to a lot of the lyrics and wanted to share the song with you all
Today will be a day of starting and catching up on workbooks! And doing dishes…..ugh.
I’m only after success
Don’t need a relationship
I’ll never soften my grip
Don’t want cash, don’t want card
Want it fast, want it hard
Don’t need money, don’t need fame
I just want to make a change
I just wanna change [x4]
I know exactly what I want and who I want to be
I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine
I’m now becoming my own self-fulfilled prophecy
Oh, oh no, oh no, oh no
One track mind, one track heart
If I fail, I’ll fall apart
Maybe it is all a test
Cause I feel like I’m the worst
So I always act like I’m the best
If you are not very careful
Your possessions will possess you
TV taught me how to feel
Now real life has no appeal
It has no appeal [x4]
I’m gonna live, I’m gonna fly,
I’m gonna fail, I’m gonna die,
I’m gonna live, I’m gonna fly
I’m gonna fail, gonna die, die, die, die
Oh, oh no, oh no, oh no
I will be going through this workbook and sharing it with all of you and I will also work at getting back on track with my DBT Workbook.
I’m just reading the forward right now and there is some very useful information that is worth sharing.
“It is worth dwelling on the ambiguity of professional responses to self-harm. One way of trying to understand this is to consider the values and judgements that our culture makes about different types of self-harmful behaviours. The first point to make here is that there are many forms of such behaviour, including ritual self-harm, unintentional self-harm, and deliberate self-harm. Ritual self harm includes acts which occur within a set of shared cultural or religious beliefs, within which they token a particular significance or meaning. A distant Western relative of this is the fashion for body piercing and adornment with studs and rings. Unintentional self-harm occurs when a person engages in an activity in which bodily harm arises as a consequence, although this is not the main objective. Examples include smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol for pleasure, and participation in dangerous sports. Intentional self-harm includes a variety of different behaviours with different objectives. These include the taking of overdoses of tablets either with, or without suicidal intent, as well as the self-infliction of cuts, burns and lacerations to the skin. Some people refer to this as self-mutilation, but the fact that it is frequently talked about both popularly and by experts as a category of self-harm, means that it is often confused with the taking of overdoses. From here arises the mistaken assumption that self-mutilation is a form of suicidal behaviour. Self-mutilation rarely has suicidal intent, but serves some other purpose.”
“…biological theories of self-harm, which attempt to explain the behaviour in terms of disturbances of chemical transmitters in the brain. This has important implications. If we can explain self-injurious behaviour in terms of disordered brain function, then there is no need to consider other ways of understanding it…biological explanations mean that we no longer have to consider the role of the tragically abusive aspects of human relationships. But there is more to it than this.“
“It seems to me that there is no way forward unless we all accept a fundamental fact: that for many people self-harm is an essential coping mechanism, and we have no right to demand that people stop it, unless we have something better to offer them.”
“For many people this is cutting, burning, overdosing, alcohol – but it could be anything from relationships to computer games. Only you can decide what is and isn’t.”
Here’s a game that Lola got out of her self harm workbook! You just answer the questions, “If I Were….” Play along if you want!
If I were a politician I would be
An NDP! They are Canada’s socialist party!
If I were a pop star I would be
I would be the lead vocals of a gothy dance band! I don’t know what we’d be called.
If I were a film star I would be
I don’t want to be someone who already exists. I would like to a versatile actress though but I would prefer musicals. If I could be in something like Les Mis I would be set!
If I were in a soap opera I would be
I hate soap operas. They stress me out and I think they’re silly so I do n’t want to be one.
If I were a writer I would be
I’ve always wanted to write my memoir. I’ve thought about typing up my journals but then while I’m doing that I think, “This is dumb” and I stop. I also have science fiction ideas or just general fiction ideas!
A wicked book.
If I were a TV show host I would be
I would love to have my own talk show!
If I were a criminal I would be
I think I’d be a crime of passion type gal. Passion meaning pissed off and wanting people to feel like shit for being mean to me.
THE KIND THAT DOESN’T HATE!
If I were a mythical beast I would be
A UNICORN!!!! More specifically a rainbow unicorn!
If I were a Disney character I would be
Merida from Brave!
If I were a drug I would be
If I were an animal I would be
I find I often wish I was my cat so I’ll go with a cat.
If I were a piece of food I would be
If I were an illness I would be
Constipation. Can’t tell you why, just mostly wanted to type that word.
If I were a mood I would be
If I were a holiday resort I would be
A big dance resort!
If I were a pattern I would be
Skulls and awesome
If I were a tree I would be
There is a wicked tree up the street from me that I call the Tim Burton tree so I want to be that tree! It’s bare and has twisty, jagged branches!
THIS SESSION IS FINALLY OVER!!!!
Say YES or NO
I have difficulty controlling my temper YES
I have uncontrollable rages at minor events YES
I have committed a crime due to my anger NO
1. What other experiences or feelings have you experienced due to your anger?
It’s made intimate relationships difficult; I avoid certain career choices because I’m worried I’ll become too angry in them. I become consumed by my anger most of the time.
Triggers that may cause you to feel angry:
- You are experiencing emotional pain, for example, disappointment or abandonment.
- You are frustrated due to something you cannot have.
- Stress is causing you to be nervous about a situation.
- You feel attacked, unfairly criticized or shamed by someone.
- You might be experiencing physical pain.
- You might be feeling vulnerable in your emotions.
- Someone might make fun of you.
- Craving for illicit drugs or alcohol.
- You think that you may lose some choices and may want to control the situation
2. What events have triggered you in the past?
I have been triggered when someone has been mean to me (real or perceived), when I feel there is injustice (to myself or others), when my feelings are not validated, when I feel I am not being understood, when something I don’t like happens.
Understanding what aggravated your feelings of anger:
- Feeling that someone has hurt your feelings.
- You are testing your family or others as to whether they care about you.
- You fear that you may lose the love of someone you care about.
- You hit out first before they do.
- You demand the attention you so desperately crave for.
- You want revenge.
- You have strong feelings of hatred.
- You may have feelings of jealousy.
- You feel betrayed.
- You feel overwhelmed by feelings from your past, for example, guilt.
- You feel misunderstood.
- You feel that you have been lied to.
- You feel rejected or left out.
- You feel afraid and anxious.
3. What feelings have provoked your feelings of anger?
Hurt feelings, loss, attention, revenge, hatred, jealousy, betrayal, feeling overwhelmed, misunderstood, rejection, anxious, feeling a sense of injustice.
Going through the feelings of your anger:
- Your muscles tighten up.
- You want to throw something or hit someone.
- You have a feeling of being out of control.
- You feel dizzy and light-headed.
- Your face feels flushed and your heart beats very fast.
- Your speech is faster and more intense.
- You might keep your anger buried inside which causes your head or stomach to ache.
- You will manipulate your needs through your anger.
- You want to cry.
4. What physical or emotional experiences have you felt when you have been angry?
My heart hurts, I can’t focus, I feel like I’m not in control, I cry/scream, I talk faster, might even breathe harder, manipulate, I become explosive.
How you communicate your anger:
- You may hit someone or something.
- You may shout and be verbally abusive.
- You may withdraw from contact with others.
- You may throw things around.
- You make threatening gestures.
- You may get involved in a physical fight with someone.
- You may self harm.
- You may make suicidal gestures.
- You may slam doors.
5. What behaviour have you acted out when angry?
I’ve hit someone or something, I shout but usually avoid being verbally abusive, I throw things (most of the time in my head), self harm, suicidal gestures (I become so overwhelmed), slam doors, make other threats (“I’ll leave you”). I do try really hard to explain why I’m angry and too listen to what the other person has to say.
The results of your anger
- You feel unable to concentrate.
- It causes you to feel frightened.
- It causes you to feel shame.
- Alienates you from your loved ones.
- Causes you to detach yourself from your feelings.
- You feel remorseful and guilty.
- Can cause you to have a criminal record and a prison sentence.
- Can be seen as a trigger to abuse alcohol or illicit drugs to cope with difficult feelings.
- Damages your reputation.
- Feeling of punishing yourself and others.
- Can ruin your peace of mind.
- Cause problems with your career.
- Spoils relationship with your loved ones.
- Damage your health.
6. What have been some of the after effects of your anger?
Shame, alienation, detachment, guilt, feelings of punishing myself, self harm. The odd time I’ve communicated correctly or just said the right thing and people understand why I’m upset.
Say YES or NO
I find it difficult to verbalise my feelings NO
I am not fulfilling my intellectual potential NO
I feel evil and bad NO
I am unable to discipline myself e.g. stick to a diet NO
I feel shame and guilt YES
I feel ugly and unattractive NO
I feel lost and find it difficult to trust people NO
I hate myself and think others hate me too NO
I feel that whatever I do is not good enough NO
I crave approval from others YES
1. Are there any other problems about how you see yourself that were not mentioned above?
How I feel about myself is 100% dependent on what mood I’m in. If I’m angry then everything about me is horrible. If I’m happy then I’m great!
2. Do you know who you really are? Describe what it’s like to be you.
It’s hectic to be me but worth it. I am a really good person, who enjoys being around others and helping/supporting people. I have rages and I know I need to work on it. I wish more people would accept me for who I am because I do want to be comfortable in my skin. But is this who I really am? I say yes. Who can really tell me otherwise?
End of Session Questionnaire
1. What are 3 important things you will take away from this session?
- My anger is my biggest problem.
- I am not as impulsive as I used to be.
- I overall do not fit with BPD symptoms like I used too.
Next: Session 4
I need to do this book more often.
Distracting yourself through tasks and chores. I don’t want to do work when I’m getting upset, especially when fights can start because of those chores and tasks but luckily there is a list of 23 plus the ones you can make yourself.
I chose 10/23.
- Wash the dishes
- Make a plan for getting a job/better job
- Clean bathtub and take a bath
- Cat chores
Those are a few examples. I need to do cat chores today actually.
I think this distraction could work.
I don’t feel enthused about this technique. They label is as self care (which includes the home) and they are right, it’s just not my idea of self care.
It’s interesting how some of these distraction techniques seem impossible but others get me really excited and hopeful.
I’m excited for the next part, no, the part after the next part. Eventually I’m making a Distraction Plan. I’ve never made one before.