DBT Skills: Barriers to Emotion Regulation

After finally finding some wifi (back on up at B’s parents’ house), I have watched my DBT class from this past Monday. Debbie and Amanda discussed barriers to emotion regulation. Without recognition of these barriers, we will not know why or when it may be more difficult to use skills. When these barriers arise we need to be kind and compassionate to ourselves!

We were asked to keep track of the barriers that occur for us this week but I have lumped all of mine as resulting from the move I made a week ago into a new apartment. The barrier I identify with that is making emotion regulation difficult is Emotion Overload. In one week I have gone from super excited, feeling like an adult, to feeling like I made a huge mistake moving into this building and that I am stupid. I am overwhelmed, uncomfortable, frustrated, lonely and afraid. As a result, I find myself getting snappy, falling into negative thoughts easier, clenching my jaw and I am losing motivation (especially around work).

The emotional result of all of this occurred yesterday afternoon. I  expressed to B that I needed help getting things ready for my friends to come over for dinner. He didn’t get home from work until 5:30am so he needed to sleep which was fine. Around 1pm though, I started getting nervous because everything that I had left to do required his help. I was trying to be skillful by expressing that I needed help, what I needed help with but I guess when things didn’t move at the pace I wanted them to I became snappy which resulted in B becoming upset. I then began to cry and the next thing I know I’m emotionally listing off everything that is stressing me and the emotions they are making me feel. At one point, I was starting to have difficulty breathing because I was crying so hard and B comforted me and I was able to bring myself down. While I do see this as a moment of dysregulation caused by emotion overload I also see this moment as being skillful. I needed to cry, I needed to share why I was upset and I did so in a more controlled manner than I would have done in the past.

So, what are the next steps for me? B is handling some of the issues regarding the unit. I have reached out to a friend,

Trying to see this moment like this!

Trying to see this moment like this!

who is also a mental health professional, to provide me that voice of reason I feel I need right now. I am going to write more even if I cannot post it to my blog yet (my journal is being used more which is good). I am going to take it one day at a time and notice the good things that happened that day. I want to use radical acceptance and be ok with things not being 100% right now and take comfort in knowing that they are on their way to being close to 100%. I will do what I can with what I have to self-soothe and distract.


8 thoughts on “DBT Skills: Barriers to Emotion Regulation

  1. I feel so sorry for you, those attacks are so debilitating. Long time since I had but almost daily my wife gets to that point where she either struggles to breathe or she hypo ventilates. Please take care…the problems with the unit will settle down, you’ll be fine.

    • I keep telling myself that but it is extremely isolating. I just used up the data on my phone so it will be more difficult to keep in touch. Majority of my social support are online and many of my friends and loved ones are busy so I just sit quietly by myself and watch movies. Hopefully some progress is made today when we call our landlord. Thank you for your support.

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