Getting Skillful and Avoiding a Crisis Using DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

More DBT for Me:

My therapist and I recently agreed to add a second weekly DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) group to my treatment plan while I am going through a few very stressful issues simultaneously.

The module that I am now attending (in addition to the full DBT course) is Distress Tolerance. Distress Tolerance skills are intended to help you get through a crisis situation without making your situation work. In essence, you practice skills that help you tolerate the distress.

I attended today, and while I became emotional when it was my turn to process, I am glad that this resource is available to me.  I was able to hear how other people are dealing with difficult stressors effectively (and not so effectively), and I got to hear, out loud, how far I have come in terms of dealing with distress and intense emotions.

At the moment, while I can’t go into specifics, I am dealing with sexual harassment at work, and it’s not the first time.  As a result, I’ve been triggered and have been feeling very uncomfortable and stressed.

*Trigger Warning*

I found out from a colleague that while my boss was speaking about me, he blamed me for his inappropriate behavior. My colleague told him not to blame the victim. His response? You can blame the victim when she willingly walks into your trap.  

I don’t think I want to know what he’s saying anymore. Too triggering.

*End Trigger Warning*

My therapist and I agreed that, since I have the option to do so, my work for this employer should continue only from home.  That might sound like a dream come true for most people — and it is pretty great — you get to manage your time much differently and work out your own hours that you are actually working during the day, but for me, there is also a down side.

Although I’d been given the option to work from home from the get-go, I soon realized that the depression creeping up on me was from being isolated and feeling lonely.  I also didn’t do very well with a lack of imposed structure of any kind and not needing to get up and get dressed nicely for any reason. For these reasons, I voluntarily began going into work Monday through Friday for a few hours each day. I made friends with colleagues and felt like a part of the team, especially at meetings.

Since Monday, I’ve been working at home. I miss my coworkers very much and miss the routine of going to and being at work.  I’m getting my work done, but I find myself just wanting to go back to bed or to wake up really late.  I’ve been good about not doing either of these things, except for yesterday, when I took a nap, but when you don’t have to commute or be somewhere during certain hours, the days can get pretty long — plenty of time to fill.

As a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, boredom can also be incredibly distressing, so I am faced with needing to manage my time so that I get some socialization, don’t oversleep, get my work done, and take care of myself.

I am facing a dialectic:

One part of me wants to be at work because of the stress and sadness I am experiencing as a result of the isolation from my colleagues, lack of structure, and tendency to oversleep.

Another part of me feels that I need to not be around my boss/the workplace for my own mental health safety.

Self-Care Plan:

In order to process through this, I am realizing that I don’t have to completely isolate myself.  I am going to make plans with a colleague or two to meet outside of work for a meal or coffee – unfortunately I must tell them that I cannot discuss why I am not at work. Awkward.

In addition to performing my work remotely, I am also going back to yoga classes, and, as mentioned, increasing my DBT classes.   I will work on getting caught up on cleaning my house, and I will need to continue to come up with ways to fill my time.

DBT Skills I am using/will use:

  • LOTS of Self-Soothing, including:
    • soothing music 
    • guided meditations
    • yoga
    • swaddling in a blanket
  • Improving the Moment:
    • lighting a nicely scented candle
  • Distraction:
    • Fun TV shows
    • Pushing Away thoughts when they get to be too much (I imagine putting them in a box upon the shelf until I am ready to cope again.)
  • Wise Mind:
This is not easy, but I have the DBT Skills to pay the mental health bills. I mean – I have the skills to get through this. 🙂
Are you facing one or more intense situations in your life? How are you coping?
Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

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