Monday, October 20, 2014

four experiences

2 or 3 years ago me would be in the hospital after a week like last week.

it is a simple fact.

i have grown and changed and become much stronger than the person i once was.

as i was sitting on the floor in counseling today (the floor is very grounding for me and i sit there for my sessions 85% of the time) susan asked me what i had learned about myself from the experiences of last week.

looking her in the eye i said, "i have learned that i am a compassionate person. i am able to empathize with people at a deep level and i am strong."

those are qualities i never would have said about myself before without having feelings of shame and guilt rise. but as i spoke them i felt the truth of them and a sense of peace. i am allowed to be these things because i have gone through hell to become them.

while the experiences are important, i think what is more important are my responses to the experiences. here are some of the skills i used last week to help me make it through :

1) TIP - temperature (putting my face in ice water 4x's for 15 seconds) - intense exercise (taking a brisk 30 minute walk) - paced breathing (breathing in for 3 seconds and out for 5 to 6 seconds for 10 minutes) - repeating as needed. works faster than xanax to bring me from a heightened state of emotion dis-regulation back to a state of emotion regulation.

2) WISE MIND - a calm, collected, connected state, where my body, mind, and soul are all tuned in together and god speaks to me. this is when i receive the most inspiration for my life and the path i need to be taking. take 3 deep breaths to turn your mind inward, ask a question, and then quietly wait for the answer, all the while, focusing on your breath, in and out.

3) COACHING CALL - i called my counselor, susan, for a coaching call when i got stuck and overwhelmed and didn't know what to do. she guided me and helped me recognize some feelings of sadness and grief. she validated all i was doing and helped me stay in the moment.

4) PROS AND CONS - i did a pros and cons of acting on the urge to hurt myself when i was in a lot of distress. i talked myself through it and let myself know that ultimately the choice was mine but that if i did act on that urge i would be putting myself back and would have to do a lot of extra work in therapy. i weighed it against all of the skills i knew i could use and in the end decided not to hurt myself but use my skills and call for help. (go me!)

5) MINDFULNESS - i was mindful of the moment, taking things one thing at a time. it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially when things are not going well, but that's when i just have to focus on what is happening in the present moment and not project what is going to happen in the future. now means now. focus on now. be in the now. and that's what i did to survive.

6) RADICAL ACCEPTANCE - i radically accepted that reality has cause. reality is what it is. there were reasons words were said. there were reasons for loss. there were reasons for money spent. there were reasons for mission calls. it does NOT mean i have to like it. it does NOT mean i have to agree with it. it does NOT mean i have to be happy about it. it just means i have to accept it. so i did. and i breathed in and relaxed my body and said, "this is the way it is, i will accept it."

i prayed.

i also cried, a lot. 

that's not a skill but then again, maybe it is :)

today in our session susan said to me, "i don't know of ANY 25 year old who could've handled the past week with the 4 situations you had as well as you did. not nearly!" that's quite a compliment, as she's seen many, many people over the years.

i'm grateful for dbt. it's changed my life and has given my the skills to succeed.

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