This week in my DBT class we went over an emotion regulation worksheet that had us list something that had never occurred to me before and I think something many of us may not think about: vulnerability factors. I feel that many of us (and I include myself) get wrapped up in potential flawed chemistry and brain structure when we experience emotion regulation which means we are ignoring very important factors that can make us vulnerable to feeling negative emotions and becoming dysregulated. Vulnerability factors can include,
- physical illness
- poor sleeping
- poor eating
- use of drugs or alcohol
- stressful events in our environment
I have noticed within myself that around the time I am getting my period (about 1 week before) I become angered more easily and my ability to use DBT skills goes down a little bit. During this time, my body is going through physical changes associated with my period. Now, experiencing vulnerability factors is not an excuse to be unskillful. As in most cases, awareness of these vulnerability factors means that we can prepare ourselves for these moments to be more skillful. Now that I have observed this increase emotional dysregulation about a week before my period starts for a few months now (I needed to establish a pattern) I can now think of DBT skills to use next time to decrease my dysregulation. One thing I did for myself this time was treat myself to my favourite cake (self-care is important :p). I think it may also be helpful to create a self-soothing box and put in things that involve the 5 senses.
I am a little stuck on this one but I do have plenty of worksheets, books and peers to reach out to for ideas 🙂