Tag Archives: bipolar disorder

DBT, my BFF

24 Feb

So here we are, 7 months since I started this thing. As you can easily deduce I am rubbish at this bogging caper. I want to come up with some kind of fancy impressive excuse, but I simply can’t – I have just been lazy. And sad. And angry. And sad. And that’s what’s been on my mind.

I have been through a tonne of roundabouts with doctors, specialists and hospitals and have come out the other side just barely hanging on. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable enough to talk about my childhood online, but as far as my adulthood is concerned, I’m an open book. I’m responsible and I take ownership of how I’ve handled it.

I have been told I have major depression and anxiety, bipolar and borderline personality disorder.  But frankly I don’t care for a name, I just want to function and have a stable and peaceful life. I’ve been prescribed countless different medications, endured never ending hours of therapy, spent a small fortune on doctors, attempted suicide and enjoyed the company of other mental health patients in public hospitals. I have gained weight, endured excruciating pain from medication reactions, lost control of my bladder in public, jumped from moving vehicles, physically attacked perfect strangers, inflicted horrible anguish on my partner and I STILL somehow believe there is a purpose for me.

I have said on many an occasion that I believe some people deserve happiness and others are destined for misery. I always come back to this when I am in the deepest depths of despair. And even on my best days, for some reason, I still think it. But since starting Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) I have learnt that this is just my minds’ way of convincing myself that I deserve nothing, and that I am worthless.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with talking therapies and their purpose, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) used to be the go-to for a myriad of problems and for homework based therapy. I always hated it. I tried it with several therapists and always found it so confronting. It made me feel worthless and wrong because it tells us that we need to change. So I stopped. I did find some peace and calm with meditation though, and as someone who doesn’t believe in ‘all that hocum’ I surprised myself. I started to learn that so much of what we struggle with is self inflicted and if we just take time to ‘download our problems to mother earth’, as Dr Pee Tek Chan would say, we can be less stressed, less angry and less ill. So when I read about DBT and how it is based around mindfulness I thought it might be okay. Shit was I wrong!

It is amazing. It teaches us that it’s okay to have issues, but helps us control the parts that affect us negatively, and accept ourselves for what we’re dealing with. It shows us that our circumstances are always changing, and helps us learn skills to adapt and be ready for any situation.

I’m sure over the course of my posts i’ll talk about the different components of DBT, but what I’m most fond of is Distress Tolerance. DBT is complex and requires a decent amount of commitment and work outside of therapy sessions. At first I didn’t understand the point, but now that I can call on a skill when I get the urge to run away or self harm, it makes sense. And the biggest plus for me is that I can now sort out a panic attack before it even fully manifests. Previously I wouldn’t know I was having one until I woke up from my seroquel coma many hours later, to learn that I could add another store to my list of places not to visit again. Now I can mostly feel them coming, so I am able to remove myself from the situation, use some skills and get back to life. The sensations are still the same, just less intense. I am still exhausted afterwards and need a cry, but it doesn’t last as long. I still have wretched days where none of the skills work and I wind up in bed waiting for sleep to come and take me away.

But that’s okay, because I am taking responsibility for me, and I am okay with having a shitty day. Because I know that tomorrow I will practice my skills again so that the next time I have a completely nonsense moment they will be there. Like right now…

xx

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