Since really focusing on the mindfulness skills, I’ve been able to remind myself to simply observe and describe my experience. Every little thing before used to have something ascribed to it – there was always an undertone that I put in place and then acted upon. With mindfulness, I am now able to see things as they are without putting emotion behind it. Things are what they seem until proven otherwise. This has significantly reduced my stress and anxiety at work.
He’s the epitome of what I’ve been searching for my whole life. And by opening up to him and participating more and communicating more effectively, our relationship is growing by leaps and bounds. He is my person and he knows more about me than anyone in the whole world, and that doesn’t scare me anymore.
I would have 1) quit when I felt like quitting or 2) I would have never talked to someone I didn’t know. I would have thought, “What will she think of me? She’ll think I’m a weirdo.”
Well, instead, using my DBT skills, I just jumped in, what’s the worse that could happen? She could have said, “No, I’d prefer to run alone.” And then that’d be it. Nothing more, nothing less. But she didn’t. She and I talked for the next mile and it got me back on track and I was able to finish at my goal time. I would have never thought that DBT skills would come up during a race.
End Trigger Warning
When I’m feeling anxious, overwhelmed or like I’m about to explode, I either sit in the shower and just focus on the water hitting my back. Or I have a session with the punching bag we bought a few months ago. Those are my to go-to activities for avoiding self-harming behavior. Also, I talk to my husband. When I’m feeling on the edge, instead of running away from him and trying to hide my emotions, I open them up to him. Getting them out and talking through them also helps tremendously.
It’s hard to look at things as they truly were and it’s even harder to really accept that they happened and move forward. But I can’t move forward if I don’t get the demons out and face my actions. And I certainly don’t want to be stuck in the past.
So I’m getting there. I accept that things happened, but I do not think they are OK. This all just strengthens my desire to never return to those places and be that person ever again. The other thing with radical acceptance is that it’s helped me in every day life.
If something doesn’t goes as planned or I mess up at work, I try my best to say, “It is what it is. I can’t change it now. What can I do in the future?” This has greatly reduced my stress level at home and at work and especially with my family. Holding on and trying to control everything just leads to build up frustration and negative emotions – living more freely and accepting life as it comes has helped me to be a more relaxed wife, mother, step mother, daughter, sister, friend and employee.
A note from Debbie:
Encouraged by Heather’s story? So was I! The barrier to DBT has often been one of accessibility, i.e., “there is no DBT in my area.” This is no longer true. Because of my own success story with DBT and those like that of Heather, licensed therapist Alicia Paz and I came up with a solution. To learn more about how you can take online DBT classes and learn these skills to change your own life from anywhere in the world, visit DBT Path to learn more.