I am not in the mood for being social tonight. In fact, I am damn grouchy. So what does DBT tell us to do? (cue validating and reassuring voice...) OPPOSITE ACTION. If I am to apply a rational mind to this skill, I can see how it can be useful, but at the same time my emotion mind is yelling at me that it is just another 'get on with it' statement disguised as a skill! But hay, I will try try anything once!
First things first. Identify which primary emotion I am actively avoiding. I don't think I am angry, or sad. Both are normally too intense for OPPOSITE ACTION just yet. Yes it must be fear. I am afraid of life today.
OK, so how do I apply OPPOSITE ACTION? Marsha tells us to approach our fear and do things which gives a sense of mastery over the situation. I was asked to the movies tonight, so in the spirit of making myself feel good and practicing DBT, even though I feel like crying, hiding under the covers and not coming out for a week, I smile and accept the invitation. OH NO! NOW I actually HAVE to go.
First things first. I must do something to give myself some control over the situation. So being the girl that I am, I spend an hour washing blow-drying, straightening and preening my hair. I put on my face and feel somewhat more able to deal with the world.
During the movie, I try to go ALL-THE-WAY with the OPPOSITE ACTION. I MINDFULLY PARTICIPATE in the story line of the movie, I OBSERVE the palpitations of fear which are causing me to breakout in waves of nauseating and sweaty tremors. I am in full blown panic at this stage and all I want is to run away, to flee the movie theater and be alone.
Instead I count slowly to ten and concentrate on my breathing, and try to once again bring my attention back to the story. Finally the movie ends, and although it wasn't easy and it was far from enjoyable, at least I went, and I didn't engage in any destructive behaviors!