Category Archives: DBT skills

round the corner


Unknown.pngThe shift described in my previous post had started. And it continued.



I really do find myself extremely frustrating and very difficult to manage most of the time.

One of my frustrations is that I feel like I can’t do ‘normal’ things like other people. I compare myself to other people a lot and always come up lacking (like we all do).

Other people can drill holes in walls. Other people don’t get lost as easily as I do. Other people can measure sizes better than I. Other people are nicer than I am… other people manage to have food in the cupboards and clean floors… you know the usual script we all tell ourselves.

But one thing that I was determined to conquer this holiday, was my frustration that I can’t just take myself off by myself and walk up a mountain. Ideally, I would have others to do that with, but what if I don’t have others to join me… am I just not going to do it? If I want to do something just get a grip and do it…

Unknown-1.pngSo this holiday, while my friends were skiing. I decided to go up a mountain. By myself. This was one of the most STUPID things I have done in a while. It’s all very well me doing my intrepid explorer rubbish- but going up a mountain by yourself is sometimes just STUPID.

I had a guide book. But not much else. Unsuitable footwear which meant I literally had to crawl along some icy patches. I couldn’t work out how to move the time on my fitbit back so my watch said one thing and my phone the other. But the problem was, I couldn’t seem to work out which one was correct! Unfortunately while on the mountain I was following my fitbit time when I should have been using the phone and I was an hour out which meant I had to RUUUUUUNN to catch the last cable car down the mountain. Just ridiculous!

I also discovered that I get very confused over left and right (sorry, I just do) and up and down. And when the book said walk this way for 100 metres, I have absolutely NO IDEA whatsoever, what that actually means. I just find distances very tricky to judge- so I literally couldn’t work out where I was, where I had to go and how on earth I was going to do it.

In reality, I wasn’t in any danger. I had a phone and signal. It was light. Nothing was going to go really wrong as long as I didn’t slip over the edge. But I was so determined to reach the end of this blooming trail. The problem being… the destination wasn’t signposted and I didn’t really know what I was looking for. images.jpeg

The book said Mount Clary. I presumed this was a mountain? but mountains don’t have labels usually- it could have been any of them! I was told there was a cafe at the destination. I subsequently found out that the signs I hoped would say Mount Clary, were actually saying the name of the restaurant (but I didn’t know that).

At times the guide book was really vague. When roads split off, I didn’t know which one to take. So of course I ended up taking the wrong one. My idealistic notions of climbing a mountain and enjoying the view at the end were crashing down by the minute. (It was also very cloudy so I couldn’t actually see Mount Blanc either!)

I remembered my mantra. I wasn’t going to keep on searching wondering if the destination was around the corner. I got to an end point (as I saw it) and stayed there.IMG_2380.JPG

That evening I discovered that I was literally about 2 mins away from the cafe!!!! If I had just kept on to the next bend I would have reached Mount Clary. Such a bummer. So near and yet so far. As it turns out, by this point I discovered the issue with my timings so I wouldn’t have been able to have a hot chocolate any way. But that wasn’t the point. I wanted to be able to say I had got myself from Les Gets to Mount Clary by myself.

“One more bend… a few more steps… if I had just…”  the voice I don’t want to live with… but two near misses in as many days… what’s happening?




My ex-fiance had an extremely annoying habit of always trying to find something better… we would drive for ages in a bid to find a better car parking space. We would walk the whole length of the beach to try and find the best spot. It used to drive me mad! Just park the damn car. Find a spot and sit down for goodness sake.

Along with never running for a tube train or bus ever again, I decided that once we split up I would never do that kind of thing. I didn’t want to always be looking for something better… never satisfied… always wondering if there was something better out there. images-1.jpeg

But recently, some 18 years later, I’ve had a number of quick succession of events that have made me question this approach.

At Easter I went ski-ing. I had to wait at Geneva airport for the rest of my friends to join me. I have done this before and I knew of a bar where I could sit and stitch to my hearts content. So at departures I turned right and went to the bar I had been to previously. I ended up having to wait about 5 hours and I was relatively settled. Except, the bar is dark. I wouldn’t go as far as dingy- but definitely dark. I really cannot stand being in ‘ambient’ lighting so it was bothering me- but not enough to make me find somewhere else. (I stuck to my above mantra).

As it happens when I joined my friends we turned left at the departures and my word I was surrounded with the bars/ cafes galore- all really light and airy with comfy seats! I was gutted. I genuinely felt disappointed. I had sat for over 5 hours in a dark den, when light was 200 metres away.

images.pngIt was then I began to question my previous aversion to exploring. But I don’t like the ‘what if’s’… what if I turned left instead of right… what if I’d checked out the whole airport… why did I assume this was all there was… and I could drive myself ad infinutum with that kind of thinking. But something was beginning to shift… images.jpeg


sometimes things can get better…


I am back in the French Alps, and Lac Montriond is one of my happy places in the world. I have been  few times now and it is a short bus ride away from where I usually stay. It is glorious. This picture was possibly taken about 4 years ago, and doesn’t do it justice.


Yesterday, I visited it again. And if it were possible, the scene that greeted me was even more spectacular… it was the first time I had seen it without snow and it was GLORIOUS.


IMG_2391My photos do not do it justice… but my eyes did.

It made me think, that sometimes we think things can never get better/ be better… and yesterday, I saw for myself, that sometimes things can get better even when they are already pretty amazing.

Thanks for listening.

End of an Era


Most of you will know that I am single and without children.

I don’t feel necessarily broody. It’s just the way life has turned out.

As you can imagine, most of my friends are not single and have children (some quite a lot!)

images-1.jpegTwo days ago, my last ‘childless’ couple, Brad and Angelina, took 2 children in to their care. Wonderful- but it’s the End of an Era to me. Please hear me- I’m delighted for them and jealous of course, but the issue for me is that when people say, when one door closes another one opens… I seem to have lots closing but not many new one opening!


I love all my children’s friends dearly- I really do. But the presence of children changes the dynamics. I’m grieving for my last set of friends whom I could text and say fancy lunch.. or an impromptu thing… I know it doesn’t mean we won’t ever do those things again, but it will be different. And I think to ignore that on my part is a bit naive. I know they will involve me as much as I want to be involved. I know the children will be ok with me being around… but I’m still feeling sad about losing my buddies in childlessness!

This morning while walking the pups, I was thinking about the automatic thoughts and feelings this has arisen in me and as I blog, I want to try and challenge them!

  1. everyone else seems to move on in life… I don’t
  2. you will be even more alone than you were before
  3. other people can have families, you cant
  4. you wouldn’t be able to manage even if you got one
  5. they will be too busy for the business and for you

Actually, I’m really crying as I type!

Because those automatic thoughts feel like the truth to me. And this is where I always get with CBT. I identify the thoughts, but then can never challenge them because I believe them! Shit. This isn’t going to plan. I hoped that I would be able to challenge each point and end this piece of writing feeling totally different. Shit- not going to happen.

images.jpegBUT, it will have to happen. It might take me longer than the 10 mins needed to write this blog, but it has to happen. If not, I am going to continue to be very miserable indeed. So time to sign off, need to get the CBT text books out and get to work on these thoughts before I get too overwhelmed with sadness…. gosh, hadn’t fully appreciated how sad I was feeling about it. Thank you blogging for the gift.


Thanks for listening.



Sanity and self-soothing


Self-Soothing is a key skill in DBT Distress Tolerance. It’s something that I find difficult and I often don’t feel very soothed even if I do the things I meant to… but sometimes I know I have to just keep persevering and practice.

The last few weeks I have been cross-stitching. I don’t remember doing it before. It has helped keep me sane! It needs total concentration- I can’t do anything else at the same time- I need to count and plot! So its not been something I can really do with other people. However, I have spent hours beavering away at the image and its nearly there.

I think the need to concentrate on something totally different has been helpful. The colours always bring joy to my eyes. The physicality of using needle and thread has also been helpful- Ive been connected with the materials. Again, I’ve seen a blank canvas turned in to something beautiful.

Beautiful isn’t it?

IMG_2280.JPGThe back of the canvas doesn’t look quite so pretty…

FullSizeRender.jpgbit like the inside of my mind at the moment!!!!

But I love the fact that even the messy side looks beautiful in its own way.

As  I get better at cross-stitch apparently the back of it will look better… but Im not overly bothered really- I think it looks fab.

Thanks for listening

actions speak louder than words…


Over New Year I spent some time with special friends. While walking the pups, Phillip asked me what was the main DBT skill I used. Immediately, I replied ‘Emotional Regulation’. I then went on to pontificate about the importance of keeping myself well… avoiding crisis, averting issues and generally making sure I’m ‘topped’ up.

Unknown.jpegThe last few days have made it abundantly clear that the words are a lot easier to say than live!

Readers will know I am a Head Teacher of an Independent School that I co-own. Term has started back two days ago but things really took on some critical intensity from Thursday/Friday of last week. The details of the events are unimportant for this purpose. Suffice to say, as the heat went up my emotional regulation went plummeting down.

I’ve eaten rubbish by the bucket load (and only rubbish) – pizza, chocolate and biscuits basically . I’ve drunk coke by the litre. I’ve hardly slept. I’ve medicated myself in front of the tele. I’ve spent money that I shouldn’t have. My Christmas decorations haven’t been put away. Bills have been unpaid. My medication had run out and I hadn’t renewed the prescription.My anxiety over leaving the pups has been the highest ever. Its been pretty appalling. I then wonder why I feel so incredibly sluggish and awful! It really isn’t rocket science some times…

Today, I woke up literally and metaphorically. Time for the pity party to stop. I was able to give myself the shake I needed. I can’t just look after my health in the holidays. I need to grow in my capacity to emotionally regulate even when I’m busy. I know that emotional regulation isn’t optional… it’s essential. So this afternoon, I packed the decs away. I cooked some food for supper. I emptied the car. I filled a box of decluttering for a charity shop drop. I can’t face the humiliation of hockey at the moment but I did go for another run yesterday.

images.jpegSo as I look ahead to a busier term than usual, I’ve got to get organised. The only way I can eat healthy is to have food in the house and prep my food in advance. I’ve got to pack my bag the night before an early start- to ease the morning stress. I’ve got to ration my TV watching. I can’t have coke or bread in the house. And its not just about operation survival, I want it to be operation flourish.

Thankfully, I’ve only had a few poor days- I’ve seen it now and I am going to practice what I preach. Emotional Regulation all the way!

Thanks for listening