DBT Skills for Dissociation

I put my DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills to work today. Unfortunately, I experienced a panic attack and a couple of episodes of dissociation. The panic attack happened during a group exercise at the gym.  My impulse was to run from the room to “safety,” but I used Wise Mind to remind myself that I was safe already.  I focused on my breathing and paid deliberate attention to the instructor, using both the Mindfulness and Distract Skills.

Later in the day, I went for a walk with my boyfriend. He’s getting ready to make some big changes in his life, and they include moving away for three months. Sometimes the thought of it is too much for me to handle. I get really stressed, and from time to time dissociate.

Disconnected.  Image Credit.

Today, as we were on a beautiful walk, he began to discuss some of the financial issues around his plan to go away for three months, and suddenly, I didn’t hear him anymore. My surroundings became surreal, and I didn’t feel like I was in my body. Once I realized it, I felt a bit shaken up and anxious. I let him know  that the particular topic was too much for me in that moment and that I was dissociating. I’m not sure he knew exactly what that meant, but I described it as being “checked out,”  and “disconnected,” and that anything he said when I was having an episode would go in one ear and out the other.

I suggested we talk about something else, and I used the new conversation to ground myself.

I am feeling particularly unbalanced today because I am experiencing PMS, and my menstrual cycle is set to begin any hour now. I am giving myself compassion by self-talk/ Self-Soothing and Non-Judgment. I used Opposite Action to get myself out of the house today twice – once for the gym class and the other for the walk.  I made sure I ate even though I’ve had a low appetite today (“PLEASE” skills), which is in stark contrast to yesterday, when I wanted to eat everything in sight.

The plan now? A little nap with my cats, and then cooking up a light dinner later…followed by TV.

It’s good to know that even on the days that we feel really “off”or “crazy,” we can still stay in control of our emotions and actions.

Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

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