I have found life this summer very tricky. Summer holidays have historically been challenging times for me and this year a couple of incidents have exacerbated this vulnerability. I have had to dig deep into both my skills and every bit of resilience I can muster. I have just returned from holiday and while away I planned to and did read my DBT material again and did lots of work around the skills.
I have found out that putting the skills into practice is sooooo much easier when you are not in crisis. Practicing them when you are feeling ok is a doddle, compared to when the heat is on. This week has been so difficult and I’ve made some good decisions and some not so good decisions. Yesterday, I froze in my distress. I did not move from my sofa (apart from one toilet visit) for 8 hours between 1pm and 9pm. It was pretty rough.
But Monday, I managed to make myself bake- engaging my senses and trying to build mastery. I attempted my most complex bake to date- a Bakewell tart. I was pretty chuffed with the final result (but I forgot to dust it with icing sugar!) the recipients of the cake were suitably encouraging.
Today after the lack of skills used yesterday, I knew I had a choice. While away last week, I had been doing some work on my encouraging and affirming statements- one of them I wrote was ‘I can choose to think different thoughts.’ So simple but so powerful for me. I threw myself out of the house to go for a walk. In my mind I was rehearsing how terrible I was feeling. But I remembered my statement and chose to change my thoughts. It was difficult. I also used a DBT skill that I have not utilised much… It is a distraction technique that suggest doing things with your thoughts like sudoku or crosswords or whatever is your thing… As I walked I started to count in 7’s… The effect was remarkable. Instead of dwelling on my pain the simple act of counting in 7’s- I stopped at about 500- broke the moment long enough for me to then finish my walk mindfully.
This evening, I also made myself go to a jewellery class which really helped. It distracted me, engaged my senses, gave me a sense of purpose and it helped build some mastery into my day.
(Results at the bottom of the post)
One of the things I know I need to do is to construct my emergency coping plan. Because let me tell you- when you need to use it is not the time to be trying to write it! I think I will reach out to others for help and ask for their input into this as well.
I find myself still in the place where I need to ‘walk through’ as I described in a previous post. I don’t like it. I want to come through. All I do know is that days like yesterday when I freeze are much worse than days like today where I fight. For those who are needing to fight- keep going.
Thanks for listening.