5 Things I Learned From a Month Without Internet

I finally have internet in my home again! I officially went a month without internet, including data on my phone. I Image result for internetwas going into work early to use the wifi there as well as using libraries, cafes and McDonalds to answer emails, post blogs, listen to my DBT class and stay connected.

Probably about halfway through the month I really began to ponder what having internet access meant to me and what had I learned about myself and the society I live in. This was especially important as I have been experiencing a depression this whole month and I believe limited internet access played a small role in maintaining the depression.

5 Things I Learned From a Month Without Internet

1. The majority of my social supports are based online.

I am a part of two DBT Facebook Groups, I have my DBT class, my blog and connections through email and Facebook that all serve as a way for me to receive support, give support and express myself. For many of us, online support has given us access to help we couldn’t get in our communities or it expands our communities. Being able to find affordable and effective online support has been an asset for many who experience mental and addiction issues. Without the internet, I had very limited access to the online supports that I had come to rely on. When I was upset, instead of turning to my blog or a Facebook Group, I would write on my computer. This is a good strategy, but I needed someone to talk to.

2. I use the internet for every little thing.

Aside from not having internet in my home, I also did not have data on my phone (I used it all)! This went beyond not being able to use Facebook or email on my phone, but it also meant that I could not use my maps app! I found myself frequently calling my parents, sisters or B to give me directions or find a new location for a meeting. I even needed them to check opening and closing times for the library as I kept finding out it was closed when I got there (huge waste of time). I didn’t have a fast way of checking my online banking either which is not the greatest. A lot of work basically did not happen because I had no internet. I have a lot of catching up to do!

3. There are other ways to occupy my time.

This seems like a no-brainer but for a bit I found myself sitting on the couch having no idea what to do. Even my tv watching is done using the internet (Netflix) so I went back to DVD’s. I have basically watched everything I own (which isn’t a lot but still). I did a lot of reading and did writing for the sake of writing, not writing to share with others (which felt good). B and I also did a lot of talking and played some games together of his Play Station 3. There are many other things to do that do not involve the internet! Actual human interaction :p

4. A fair number of places have free wifi.

This was an adventure to figure out and not something I really enjoyed doing, but it is great to know that a fair number of places in my city have free wifi. I found myself at the library, McDonalds, Starbucks, Tim Hortons and certain subway stations. While venturing to these places can be a hassle, not many may have the option of going out for free wifi!

5. Our society is online.

I spoke about myself in the first 4 points, but really I realized how digital our entire society is. The majority of our communication is online. We get our news, work updates, social time and more online. Many errands have become easier because of the internet (ie: doing your banking online). I don’t even think I could properly express with words how fast the reach of the internet is in our lives. It is simply everywhere.

It was good to unplug for the month, although it was a very depressing and lonely month for me. I am glad to be back online and hope to never experience something like this again unless it is something I choose!

 

Be Prepared! Or Else…

over

I have said the above before. Here is something I wrote about a week ago when I was having a depressive episode which I will define as me sitting in the dark, alone, sobbing and writing.

“What’s interesting is that being hyperaware of repeating the things I am afraid of doesn’t even protect me from repeating it. I resign myself to it, expect it to happen and tell myself that this is what I deserve.”

I analyze every situation to see if it is one I have been through before. If I decide that it is, or similar, or just plain threatening then I need to prepare myself for the worst. The problem is, is that I most likely create “the worst” and if “the worst” is happening I just accept it. It’s a very strange feeling to want to prepare and protect myself from something I will allow to happen. I guess, if I’m going something bad is going to happen I’m at least going to acknowledge that it is in my life.

Skills I could use? Coping ahead would be a good one. It’s better for me to positively plan ahead what I will do in certain situations than react impulsively in the moment.

Just some quick thoughts for the day. I will hopefully have internet by Monday and won’t have to go other places to use wifi.

DBT Skills: Accumulating Positive Emotions

I am lacking in the positive emotions department right now. How fitting that my Monday DBT class spoke about how we can get those positive emotions in our lives. In class, we talked about how accumulating positive emotions can help us when we begin to feel negative emotions come on. By building positive experiences and events NOW we can add positively into our daily lives or have a lot of positive examples to call upon in moments of emotional dysregulation.

Positive Experiences/Events I Can Do NOW!

  • Read a book
  • Listen to calming music
  • Use my anti-stress body spray/pillow mist
  • Call/text a friend
  • Invite a friend over or go out with a friend
  • Watch a favourite movie
  • Go for a walk
  • Make my favourite meal

This list is similar to what I would do to distract myself, but the difference is that these experiences and activities are done all the time. We should have positivity in our lives every day. Having positive experiences makes the bad moments more bearable or they will happen less often.

I am committing to doing at least one thing each day that will help me accumulate positive emotions! Today I went and saw a movie with B. I really enjoyed the movie and the time we spent together.

DBT Skills: Reducing Judgments

This week’s DBT class is very relevant for me right now: making judgments. As August progresses I find myself slipping into a very steady depression which I find difficult to stay out of. With this depression comes A LOT of judgments on myself and those around me. My judgments are taking the form of:

“I am worthless which is why I spend a lot of time alone.”Image result for judgement quotes

“If my boyfriend loved me he would spend more time with me.”

It has been hard to fact-check and if I am perfectly honest I haven’t even tried. The state that I am in has me afraid that if I shrug off these judgments then I will be vulnerable to the judgments being true. This is completely unproductive and I have made an appointment with my social worker to try and remedy this.

But let me bring it back to class. Debbie and Amanda went over ways we can reduce our judgments towards ourself and others and I would like to commit to practicing one of them. I would like to keep a daily count of my judgments. As I always say, awareness if the first step and I need to go back to giving myself time to stop, pause and be curious about why I am thinking, feeling and then acting the way I am. As always I am trying to show myself compassion.

By the end of this blog post I have made at least 4 judgments, all related to people not loving me and me not being worth their love. It is my hope that I can sift through this safely and use the appropriate skills. I think I need to go back through my notes and refresh my memory.

Femme is Defiance

Originally posted on Clementine Morrigan:

Today, after changing my hair colour from green to blue, I put on a little black dress, some burgundy lipstick and an old pair of sneakers. I was feeling really good in my body, in my gender and in myself. I knew that a lot of people would think my dress was too short and that my bright blue hair was ‘asking for attention’ but I knew those people would be wrong. I knew that this femme embodiment is a hard won confidence, a willingness to face down sexual violence every single day in order to dress the way that most authentically represents who I am.

Femme is not public property. Femme does not need your comments and approval. Femme is not an invitation to talk to me. Femme is not an invitation for your sexually violent behaviour. Femme is not ‘asking for it’. Femme is not about you. Femme…

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DBT Skills: Physical Illness and Emotion Dysregulation

This Monday’s DBT class with DBT Path was about strategies that help our physical body regulate our emotions. I have heard many people deny the influence of exercise, food, sleep etc. on their mood and emotions but it is completely true! If we are not physically healthy then we are most likely not emotionally healthy and vice versa. The body needs balance!

This class got me thinking about when I was recently sick (and still am but not as bad) and how it completely dysregulated me. The Friday night before I moved into my new apartment I felt the cold coming. I had no choice but to power through for the next two days as moving could not be put on hold. While I was actually extremely skillful during the move (this was conscious and I had prepared myself for almost two weeks) I found that as the move was ending I was becoming more upset. I was tired, had a runny/stuffed up nose, I felt dizzy, was hot and was just finished! This led to some outbursts to try and ask for help. This cold also resulted in a half day at work as well as a missed day.

For the future, what can I do? I can ask for help before I get to the point of emotional outbursts. I can not rush through tasks. I can take medicine (I do not like to do this but if something must be done then I may have to give a little).

We cannot ignore our physical or emotional health. They are both important, connected and being healthy in both areas is how we can create a life worth living!

I Would Rather Live

I was watching Prozac Nation and a line reminded me of something someone said to me a few months back. I have yet to share this incident on this blog because I felt overwhelmed with shame and then forgot about it, for the most part. I was upset and was not being the nicest to this particular person. This person looked at me, with tears in their eyes, and said, “I would rather die than feel the pain you feel every day.” That shut me up. A few thoughts went through my head.

“No one would want to be me.”

“Does this mean I should kill myself?”

“Would someone else kill themselves if they were me?”

Even while experiencing this shame I thought about how this statement also made me feel stronger. I go through emotional pain every day and I survive it. I have been in worse pain. I actually don’t see myself as someone who is in a lot of pain.

What I feel like this person’s statement might actually be saying is, “I would rather die than feel.” Many people seem to be afraid of feeling negative emotions and when they do feel them they do not know what to do with them. Avoidance is the only option for many. I do not like feeling everything I feel and I do try to avoid it but that day I stop feeling anything is that day that I hope I do. Pain serves its purpose just as much as happiness. I want to feel both in respectable amounts. Without this pain, I would not have the fire inside of me that drives my passion for social and personal change. I wouldn’t be me without this pain.