I don't feel like it! | Using DBT Skills (Even when you don't feel like it)


Despite being well-versed in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), I found it difficult to use my skills when I needed them most.  I hoped and wished for some miracle to suddenly make everything ok -- to make me feel better and to fill the void I felt inside. I felt almost paralyzed and stuck in my pain.

My mood took an interesting turn this weekend. While last weekend, at my initiative, was jam packed with things to do, people to see, and places to go, I didn't plan anything for this weekend, and I was suddenly faced with two evenings and two full days of what I saw as nothingness. 

Perhaps that's why, early Friday evening, I already began experiencing moodiness with intense feelings of loneliness, boredom, and emptiness. I was dissociating and having thoughts that I didn't want to have.  It frightened me.  

I realized I'd had a number of triggers this past week, including the incident at work with the drunk colleague, which required me to pull out my "911 DBT Crisis Skills" for triggers, the boundaries issue with another coworker on Friday, my boyfriend being away for what is now the third week (and the related identity disturbance that I experienced), issues with my Mom's health, DBT group was cancelled, my cat had to be taken to the vet, a pervert on Twitter, and the fact that, due to extreme boredom, I went against my better judgment and watched two movies that I had strong reason to believe could be triggering (thinking maybe, just maybe, I could handle them)....so, really, it's no wonder I felt so nuts.

Having just re-read my last paragraph, I can't help but have a little bit of compassion for myself for feeling a bit discouraged. Who wouldn't?



Somehow, I was able to bring Wise Mind on board and decided that I would JUST NOTICE the thoughts and feelings with curiosity, rather than get caught up with them. This, in and of itself, was the start of implementing the skills.  

Here are some of the things I observed:

  • A thought: "I don't feel like doing the skills" has arisen.  Ok. A thought is a thought. It doesn't mean I have to abide by it.
  • The phrase "Feel the fear and do it anyway" came to mind, though it was, "Feel like not doing the skills but doing them anyway."
  • I have physical tension and pain in my shoulders, neck, head, and back, likely due from the extended periods of being on the computer.  I need to listen to my body and take a break. (It took a few times of noticing this before I actually did self-care and took that break.)
  • A thought: "I may need to go and grab an ice cube to help with these intense feelings if they don't go down on their own soon."
In addition to noticing, observing, and describing, I self-soothed by wearing a fleece lined hooded sweatshirt today. It was a bit breezy, so it wasn't totally out of place, and just having it on made me feel a bit more safe. 

{via}

I got away from the computer screen, took a walk, returned some lipstick that didn't really suit me, and picked up some takeout. 

As I look at the night head of me, I know I have the choice to fall prey to the intense emotions that may arise in my loneliness, or I can keep busy, distract, and stay skillful. For my own well-being and long-term mental health goals, I choose the latter.  I'll also look forward to going to work tomorrow, as it's a chance to stay busy and socialize with others.

How has your weekend been?  How do you get yourself to practice your skills and get into Wise Mind when you really "don't feel like it"?


Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

11 comments:

  1. wow..thank you.

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    1. I hope this was helpful in some way. Thank you for reading. ♥

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  2. I can't say i did as well as you this weekend. I really needed my skills and they just went right out the window. I was so caught up in emotion mind that i could barely think of any of the skills i could use to potentially get me out of my own head.

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    1. I don't always do this well, so please do not be hard on yourself. I also want to point out that you are reflecting on what happened...noticing and describing, so you ARE using the skills now. Hugs. xo

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  3. I have days like that, too. No sense in judging yourself. It is what it is. You've noticed/observed, and next time might be different. Thank you for sharing. ♥

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  4. Debbie you are truly amazing and insightful. Please know that you help SO many of us with your wonderful blog. I can't thank you enough.x

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    1. Nikki, thank you for reading, commenting, and being so encouraging. I am so happy to read this. xo

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  5. I'm having a heck of a time lately. I'm trying casual dating, and as someone who's gone relationship to relationship to relationship, I find myself panicking when I don't hear from the boy I'm seeing every day. In my wise mind, I know it's fine, but my irrational mind is terrified of being left -- even though it's okay if things don't work out.

    Wise Mind was a hot commodity in this house this weekend.

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    1. That was SO funny: "Wise Mind was a hot commodity in this house this weekend." Some days we are more skillful than others, it's true. I like to remind myself and others that the skill aren't always easy, but they're always worth it. xo

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  6. Compassion for self seems to be one of the hardest parts of DBT, and from what I've just read, you're doing awesome! Thank you again, for every post... it *is* like Nikki ^ says :)
    I made my weekend like ur last, actually, jam packed with places to go and ppl to see, it was great - thank YOU for the "balls" to go on!

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    1. I agree that this can be one of the most challenging components, but I promise, it feels GOOD everytime we can genuinely have compassion for ourselves. Thank you for your very kind comment and for sharing. :))))

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