Sunday, July 13, 2014

unexpected turns

life takes unexpected turns - this we know. for people like me who struggle to regulate their emotions these unexpected turns can really throw them off. i have found dbt therapy so helpful because it gives me the skills i need to respond to life well when it doesn't go how i thought it would.

in group therapy we are learning about opposite action in detail, going through each major emotion (anger, fear, envy, sadness, guilt, etc), talking about when that emotions fits the facts of a situation, and what it means to do opposite action when that emotion does not fit the facts or is lasting so long that it is no longer effective.

friday the a/c went out in my car. for anyone who has read my blog for any length of time you will know that heat is not ok with me. i don't tolerate it well - mostly because it is a trigger to my anxiety. my dad and i took it to a shop and they ran diagnostic tests on it and found out the compressor is bad. all in all the work on my car will cost around $1000.

i started having envious thoughts of my sister's new toyota camry and a friend's new jaguar. "their cars are new and they don't have this problem; why can't i afford a new car; their cars are so much nicer than mine; why did this have to happen to me" and on and on thoughts cycled in my head creating envious feelings.

envy (when another person or group gets or has things you don't have that you want or need) is a powerful emotion but in my case it was not an effective emotion. so i stopped thinking envious thoughts and started doing opposite action.

to do this i counted my blessings about my car, all the way, and did it with a half smile (literally while lifting the corners of my mouth into a half smile) and in a relaxed place on my bed, stopped exaggerating others' net worth/value, and did some slow deep breathing.

here are the blessings i came up with about my car : no car payments on it since i bought it, it is the color i wanted - black, dad is willing and able to help me pay to fix it, i have a job so i can help pay to fix it, gets me where i need to go, i love the sound system in it, it is the perfect size for me, not overly fancy - what you see is what you get - like me - matches my personality and style, is fast and zippy, has never caused me any big problems, has a lot of miles on it so it was probably time to fix something, is a really good solid car.

i have also been using the skill of radical acceptance - where you just radically accept that things happen in life - cars wear out - things break down and need to be repaired and they cost money. you make money to spend money. over and over when i start to feel my chest tighten and i begin to get stressed i just take a deep breath and relax and say, "it is what it is and it will all work out."

i know god is watching over me. it'll all be ok.


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