Saturday, 3 December 2011

'Participation' Is Torture

This week we have been set the goal of in incorporating the 'What' Skill (from the Mindfulness module) PARTICIPATION into our everyday lives. Thing is, with every good intention of being a diligent member of DBT group therapy, I made a plan. But annoyingly, I keep forgetting to fully participate in a task in order to be mindful to my experiences. 

"I used to think mindfulness is some form of passive observation… it is NOT passive.  In fact, mindfulness requires you to be both the participant and the observer simultaneously.  In this way, you are the observer of your experience at the same time as you are the experience itself.  As thoughts, feelings, and sensations naturally arise, they arise with the same vessel that observes them.Mindfulness is not a denial of your experience and a retreat into nothing but detached observation.  It is a type of open observation that is experiencing that which it is observing." Laura Schenck MA

Some skills from DBT are like little treats for the soul, while others are more akin to TORTURE! This is one of them. When you are fully awake to an experience you have actively spent a good proportion of your life trying to avoid, it is not a nice experience to then have to be aware of all the unpleasantness.

Does that make sense? I can't seem to explain what I mean in the way I want to. For example, a way I have tried to incorporate participation into my life this week, is to fully engage in eating. I really tried hard to experience every morsel of food. To taste the differences between sweet, bitter and salt. I noticed the variances in temperature and texture. Then I switched from external stimuli to the internal. To my thoughts, judgments and emotions.

Here is where the problem with this skill arose for me. No matter how hard I concentrated on noticing my thoughts, there was a strong resistance to participate in the task any longer. It was too hard to observe, then describe, then participate with eating when my head was screaming floods of guilt. 'Fat cow' 'You have no self control' 'You will be alone forever' 'This is what you deserve, fatness and unhappiness' .... 

This skill needs practice I think. And its not what I want to do. Its hard and annoying, but I guess if I was to pull from another skill, and weighed up the pros and cons, is it harder to live with an eating disorder or to just practice this skill?

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