Monthly Archives: October 2013

Buildings, buildings everywhere

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I mentioned in my previous post my interest in architecture and buildings. This interest was first ignited during a GCSE History Visit to Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. I had never seen anything like it all, I was mesmerised. I remember paying extra to have my photo film developed faster and they arrived on a Saturday and I loved looking at my photos of window frames and brick work!

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I studied Music at A level- but one of the things I enjoyed most was in the history of Music module where I could relate music to the architecture of the time. I had a teacher who lent me his history of architecture book and I loved making connections and looking at the images.

DBT has caused me to look in detail at some of the things that motivate me and make me tick as a person. It has been moving me from survival mentality to participating. I remember with shock (only 8 years ago) going out for a meal with a friend- who didn’t eat her meat as she didn’t like the taste of it. I didn’t have an issue with the ‘protest’ but I clearly remember thinking that I wouldn’t know whether I liked the way it was cooked or not… I had absolutely no concept of my own tastes or preferences.

As my sense of self has developed. I am making conscious decisions for me. I’ve always wanted to go to Russia- could never really find an available friend who wanted to do the same. But being prepared to go by myself- I’ve booked… I’m going. As it happens two others are coming with me… But I would have gone by myself if necessary.

One of my principal interests in Moscow and St Petersburg are the buildings… I’m really looking forward to seeing St Basil’s cathedral, the palaces, Kremlin and such like. Fortuitously, I happened to hear a programme on Radio 4 that mentioned you can get arrested for taking photos of buildings in Russia!!!!! I am looking forward to my trip, but I am managing my expectations- if I can come back home without being either hospitalised or arrested, I will class it as a success!

So back to buildings… I don’t need to go to Russia to explore amazing buildings. They are on my doorstep. I’m really excited at getting back in touch with this interest. It’s a shame that lots of my interests have been dormant for so many years- never mind. It’s never too late.

Thanks for listening.

As an aside… I’ve just had the Belarussian consulate on the phone! Getting visas for Russia… And transit visas to travel through Belarus are a complete palava… At this rate the visa is ‘due’ the day before I travel… If its delayed, I’m stuffed! Deep breaths!

New skills and new perspectives…

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DBT comprises of 4 core modules. For me, the distress tolerance module is the one that I find most difficult. There is a possibility of having EMDR for some of my symptoms but when Penelope and I discussed this possibility in our last session, we both came to the conclusion that at the moment my distress tolerance skills are not as strong as they need to be to withstand that kind of work. I am disappointed but I know what I need to do to enable that to happen.

So we returned to the distress tolerance skills with a new impetus. We talked through that of all my senses/ learning styles- visual stimuli wins hands down. I am hugely influenced by what I see… I love shapes and in particular colour… I do sometimes look at images to soothe myself and that has been helpful in the past.In my crisis plan, I had already identified that I really enjoy architecture and looking at buildings. I spent quite a long time in hospital once overlooking Big Ben- I don’t think I ever tired of that view.

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So Penelope and I discussed using photography as a distress tolerance skill. I do not like photographing people- but I could relate to taking photos of buildings and nature. I was able to find and dig out an old digital camera I had a few years ago.

As it turned out I had arranged to meet a friend in London at the weekend. I decided to go earlier with my camera and see what happened. London is just the best city in the world. The sun was glorious, I had time and a camera in my hand and I went for a stroll. The strangest thing happened- I was so fearful of getting the camera out and start clicking… It was bizarre, I found myself frozen with fear. I was just too scared to take pictures! I’m not entirely sure what on earth that was about- but I was able to be mindful of this emotion and work through the skills to get me to a place where I got the thing out!

I began to relax, snap and enjoy. The amazing thing was that looking for things to photograph changed the way I looked at things. I looked up a lot. I looked in places I wouldn’t normally look at. I saw details, perspectives, colours and shapes that I had never seen before- even though I knew this part of London really well. I saw things that I’ve seen before but never really seen. I’ve sat on this bench before but I’d never noticed the arms…

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I’ve walked past these lamp posts on the Embankment loads of times but I never knew they looked like this…

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I didn’t even know this shop existed- even though I used to walk post it often!

I really enjoyed my mooch around Temple with my camera. I intend to use this skill more for managing distress tolerance- the process of walking, creativity and then being able to look at the photos afterwards seems like a good combination for me!

Thanks for listening. I hope the snaps might be of some help to some of us.

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I am blessed

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Today I woke with a huge sense of feeling grateful. Not sure for any particular reason- rather a conglomerate of little things that marry together and humble me.

I am grateful that today I woke up and the noose of depression wasn’t there. Today I woke up warm, in a comfortable bed. I had food to eat for breakfast. I have friends who I will see today. I have interests and things to explore. I have eyes that can see and ears that can hear. I am not in physical pain. I can speak. I am warm. I have a mind that interests me. I can breathe.

Yesterday the sun was shining and I experienced new things.

Today the sun isn’t shining but I still have a day ahead of possibilities.

I can choose to think about all the things that aren’t so good- but today I am grateful that I am able to focus on all I have- not what I don’t. I don’t want to take that ability for granted.

I am grateful for being grateful.

For any who are reading this and aren’t able to feel grateful- I completely understand. I have spent more days than I would care to recollect of wishing I were dead… That’s why I wanted to acknowledge that today is different. I can only empathise with those who struggle to do it… I know how hard it is.

But today is today. I will enjoy the freedom to be grateful.

I leave a picture that makes me smile.

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Thanks for listening.