Wednesday, 29 February 2012

DEARMAN Success with Therapist

Love this Meme!
Maybe it's the increased dose of Fluoxetine (Prozac), maybe it's not, but whatever the reason I am feeling lighter this week. I am not beleaguered by the familiar and frantic suicidal thoughts, urges, plans. My ability to stay out of trouble is surprising me. I have not binged/purged much this week, even though all the normal triggers are there. The urge is also still there, but I find myself able to resist the need to act on it. 

I had my individual therapy session today after a 2 week gap. It was because my therapist had to cancel one session due to the illness of her child and then was away on training straight after. I was deeply disjointed over  the abrupt phone call from her that day to say she had to postpone our meeting for 14 days. My immediate thoughts were; "She doesn't care about you" "Once again, you are not important" "She is glad to not have to see you" and so on....

I was really super emotional for at least 2 days after and to be honest, have only come back down to an even base level on the topic this week. Hence why I can only really describe it all on this blog now. I got some excellent support from the recovery network online, and was advised to write down how I was feeling. Which I did! 

I used it an an opportunity to practice the INTERPERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS skill DEARMAN. Here's what I wrote:

On Thursday 16th Feb you regrettably had to cancel our therapy session at the last minute due to the unfortunate sickness of your daughter. I felt disappointed that my appointment with you was cancelled. I had put a lot of work into DBT last week, and felt that I really needed to discuss it with you. I was and am very scared that you will be away for training and then away on holiday. I also feel upset in myself that I am so dependent on our session each week.
I understand that you had no other choice but to attend to your daughter who was sick, and wouldn't have wanted you to do anything other than collect her as she was unwell. I guess the reason I feel the need to write to you is that I think a back-up plan might need to be put into place for if/when this happens again as it is not the first time that you have had to cancel our sessions. I also feel that the gaps in therapy are really affecting my ability to sustain a constant motivation for DBT. Yet I totally understand they need to happen sometimes, we all need a holiday! None-the-less I feel very scared knowing that gaps are coming up.
With support to fill in the gaps when you are away I feel that I could continue with the DBT skills rather than feeling alone and unable to cope. Perhaps there is someone I could call within the service when you are unavailable that understands and is able to offer coaching in the skills?
At the moment I feel like I have no concrete support in my day to day life outside of DBT, and although we are working towards me becoming better able to deal with this, and I look forward to the day that I will be able to cope on my own, I am simply not there yet. This is why having these gaps are scaring me so much. I would like to further problem solve this difficulty in our next session.
Kind regards
Many people over the years have told me about the benefits of writing out a letter to someone about a difficult situation, And I always poo-pooed the idea, thinking it was a load of cod-ology. But I take that back. After minutes of writing this, I almost instantly felt a sense of relief, and as I found my self reading over and over it, noticed how nice it was to be compassionate to my emotions, to validate them as real and not react in way that I was ashamed of.

In the end I did not send or even show this letter to my therapist, as I felt much calmer and understanding after having the 2 weeks to evaluate everything. We came to an agreement about how to solve this problem should it ever arise again. I suggested that we E-mail each other, as I am much more comfortable with that then phoning for skills coaching. This way I always feel that I can turn to her for support, even if she can not get back to me straight away.

I am proud of how well I managed the situation, and happy that I now know I have other options rather than flying off the handle and ending up in A&E, just to feel validated. THIS is a BIG step for me. Long may it last!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Shameful Emotions

"Please not again!"
Today , being Tuesday, it was once again time for my weekly dose of skills training. I have grown to quite like our little routine of learning, and even though some of the other service users do my head in, I am finding myself more tolerant of their perceived annoyances. I am genuinely interested in how they are getting on with their skill use, even when the unrelenting crisis's overtake our sessions (which happens nearly every week!) I am overcome with empathy and understanding for them rather than intolerance and frustration. I like to take this as a sign of progression on my part, as I am not as wrapped up in my own internal suffering as I have been in the past. 

We are still on EMOTION REGULATION and have finished the first goal of UNDERSTANDING and NAMING EMOTIONS. We got given this massive set of notes on the topic of describing emotions and to be honest I didn't read it all, I've had much too much of a crap week for reading such patronizing handouts. I just flicked through it and stumbled across a very adequate-to-me section on SHAME. Its my primary emotion. My weakness. My downfall.

Shame is recognized as a powerful, painful and potentially dangerous emotion,- especially for those who don’t understand its origins or know how to manage it. Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong, shame is the feeling of being something wrong. When I experiences shame, I feel there is something basically wrong with me. I constantly compare some aspect of myself or behavior to a standard and nearly always feel like I do not live up to that standard. Guilt can be positive, it’s a response of psychologically healthy individuals who realize they have done something wrong. It helps them act more positively, more responsibly, often to correct what they've done. But shame is not productive, shame tends to direct individuals into destructive behaviors. When we focus on what we did wrong, we can correct it; but when we’re convinced that we are wrong as a result of shame, our whole sense of self is eroded.

Shame is the substructure for SELF-INVALIDATION I feel. It feeds the drive to 'pile misery on-top of misery' as Marsha would say! When I feel shame, I believe myself unlovable, that I do not live up to expectation, that I am a failure, unworthy of life. With these thoughts circulating around my head, it becomes a good deal easier to contemplate and justify the destructiveness of self harm. Yes I know I have not referred to my ED as self harm before, but in reality, it is, I need to stop telling myself otherwise.

I actively avoid intimacy with others and have only superficial relationships most of the time, which always deteriorate in times of stress. Isolation and loneliness are serious consequences of my shame. Self-condemning attitudes and negative self-talk reinforce the shame and ultimately lead to self-loathing and self-sabotaging ED behavior.

So much goes into expelling the energy of SHAME. The expressions and actions of my shame control my life most days. It could be hiding the after shocks of a binge, or avoiding others, terrified they know about my Bulimia. I often find myself avoiding myself too, switching off, dissociating from my shame, ignoring my emotion.. This shutting down effects me greatly. I spend hours sitting in front of a screen, looking at moving pictures but not taking anything in, lying for hours, not washing, not eating, not peeing, just fighting to push away the shame. 

It upset me to realize this SHAME hold so much power over me. But some glimmer of hope was illuminated during the teaching part of today session when we learned about challenging negative thoughts with the basic CBT model and also the DBT skill of OPPOSITE ACTION.

The idea of exposing myself to the horrible feeling of shame scares me to my core. But the main thing I must remember is that OPPOSITE ACTION is only for when the emotion does not fit the fact. So my challenge this week is to figure out a transgression for which I feel I could practice this skill, engage in behavior which sets off shame over and over. I must also go ALL THE WAY by not apologizing or trying to make up, and change my body posture to look innocent, maintain eye contact and keep my voice steady and clear.

Some ideas I might try;
  • Leave a dirty plate in the kitchen overnight.
  • Return an item to a shop.
  • Ask for help from a friend or family member.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Monday, 20 February 2012

PLEASE take care of your body!

We are back to EMOTIONAL REGULATION this week. I like this module, and it is not too triggering for me either. I am a firm believer in returning to basics during a state of emotional deregulation, so it makes perfects sense to me that I must consistently make sure the base of my emotional pyramid is strong and stable.

The PLEASE Skill is about taking care of your mind by taking care of your body.

PL – Treat physical illness. This is about looking after yourself if you are unwell, seeing a doctor and taking meds as prescribed. I find I am grumpy when sick with a headache or flu, so I am more emotionally venerable. I also get very deregulated around my time of the month, but if I validate my pain and take care of myself I can avoid behaviours which I may not be proud of.

E – Balanced Eating. Okay I’m not going to lie here and say that this is something I do…. I have bulimia. But I understand the theory. Balanced glucose levels most certainly even out emotional responses to situations. Someday I might just be able to achieve this one!

A – Avoid Drugs and Alcohol. I was surprised at how much avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol has helped me to stay out of trouble. All of my suicide attempts have been after drinking too much. I simply cannot over drink until I get a handle on my emotional liability. I don’t miss it too much and certainly don’t miss the hangovers!

S – Balanced Sleep. Sleep is just so important in regulating emotional responses. This has some serious research behind it too. Too little and you are leaving yourself open to irrationality and too much has been proven to increase negative emotions. Sleep hygiene is a bitch but it works. Sleep is a big one for me. If I do not get enough sleep on a regular basis, I get irritable, short-tempered, my judgment is less good and I get upset much more easily. I have to work on it all the time.

E - Exercise. This is another no-brainier, if anyone knows the magic motivation skill for this please let me know! I try to walk/cycle everywhere, and love to run and do yoga.

I guess looking after the basics is the main reasons people go inpatient or into residential treatment, It re-sets a base level from which you can really start to therapeutically manage emotions and behaviours. Most of this is common sense, but for me at least its dramatically boosts my mood. 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

What my recovery looks like to me

It is soon approaching Eating Disorders Awareness Week (20th-26th February 2012.) And it was suggested by a fantastically inspirational Blogger and You-Tuber; Rachel who's Blog Lost in Translation can be found here (I highly recommend you check her out!), that I write a bit about my reasons for recovery, what it looks like to me and why it is worth it.

To be honest I find this topic quite difficult to write about, because, beneath the obvious (and equally important) surface reasons for recovery such as improved health, emotional stability, a meaningful life and mended relationships there is a unfathomable search for who I am, my genuine self, which until found, will always compel my ED to rear its none to pretty head again. This is what my recovery looks like to me. It is the arduous search for, and discovery of a true identify not associated with my eating disorder and a conclusion which sits happily within my heart.

I am still most defiantly searching, and for this reason I do not consider myself recovered, even though I am ‘Clinically’ recovered from the criteria which bind me to a diagnosis. I am still scaling the walls of the dark well of my eating disorder, but I now have a torch, a pick and a rope and am clawing my way out, slowly.

I am quite enjoying finding out whom I am all over again. It’s great to have the opportunity, a wonderful mental health team, (some) support from my family, the head space and physical health to fully apply myself to this life-changing task. It is a full time job, and much like Gretchen Rubin, who spent a year exploring what her life meant to her and what makes her happy through her ‘Happiness Project’ blog (Another MUST READ!) I am allowing myself the time this year, and possibly even next year to find what makes my life worth living, what will get me out of bed each morning, what makes me happy.

I have been told that every fragment of your personality, your "self," serves to create the whole of your genuine self, therefore I do not ever want to forget my illness or the profound effect it has had on me, so, for me recovery is not about leaving ED behind and closing the cover on that part of my life. Instead, by acknowledging it and RADICALLY ACCEPTING that it has been part of me, that it happened, and that it was, at one stage the only way I knew how to cope, I can find solace and strength to search for a better way to cope with the emotions which fuelled it.

The genuine self is going to look and feel different for every single person, but the one thing that all will have in common is that the genuine self is the recovered self. By creating and accepting the genuine self, we become functional, healthy adults capable of facing life’s hurdles. 

Your genuine self will be unique to you. You may share similarities with some folks and be extremely dissimilar to other folks, and yet both groups of people can be your friends. When I have solidified my genuine self, I hope be able to recognize that everyone else around me also has a genuine self. People need not share the same thoughts, beliefs or opinions on any subject, let alone all of them. By embracing my own genuine self, I’ll suddenly be free to embrace the genuine selves of those around me because they will no longer represent a lot of work – I will no longer need to change them or convert them to your my of thinking. I’ll be content to allow them to be exactly who they are while I continue being exactly who I am. And if, or should I say when, I encounter someone who wants me to change, I’ll weigh their request against my genuine self and be able to determine whether or not that aspect of me is open to change or not. Sometimes these scenarios might mean that a particular person will chose to avoid me because of my refusal to bend to their wishes, and my genuine self will be okay with that. I’ll know that their boundary was unhealthy and that it’s probably best to end the association with that person.

The genuine self, for me at least, is really a remarkable sense of inner peace and tranquility. It doesn’t mean that I’ll have earned a pass into Nirvana or Utopia. Nor does it mean that my life will be a constant state of "smooth sailing." There will still be upheavals, fights, moments of extremes – that’s part of life and it cannot be changed. With the solidity and security of my genuine self, though, I will be able to weather those ups and downs with the calm and peaceful understanding that, no matter what, I will conduct myself in accordance with the beliefs of my genuine self.

This is what my recovery looks like to me, and remember, your picture will be different and unique and life-changing and most of all, deeply personal to YOU. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

HALF SMILE your way to acceptance

Two elegant yet, sheepishly impatient women are making rapid glances around Starbucks, hoping to nab a free space to sprawl out and natter after an afternoon of window shopping. You can tell they are the leisurely type. I overhear them giving out about the lack of seats, and can’t help giggle as the hand approaches the first single digit on my watch, signifying my third hour sat in the comfortable chair by the window which seems to have moulded to my frame by now. I am not moving. I even turn my chair to get a better view out the panoramic glass wall.

People-watching is a not a new hobby of mine, but observing the finer details of said people is. I recently acquired a very helpful possession for this pursuit; eyesight! For some reason or another, cost and hassle being the most likely, I had not replaced my broken specs when the arm unhinged its self from the frame last year. I had grown used to the blur, and liked not living in focus. But when I passed my own father on the street, I thought ‘enough is enough’ and got them fixed.

There are two categories of people who meander up and down Grafton Street in winter. The fast paced snakes who weave their path in plaits around the care-free traffic blockers, who are much more easily distracted as they gather in large semicircular groups around each of the buskers dotted on the side of the street.

The girls compete in the small city style wars, and the guys compete for the most stealthily glances and puffed up chests. The dramatic outfits somehow seem to conspicuously blend in a contradictory fashion with all the rest and it’s the plain and ordinary which stand out. The frizzy haired student, the make-upless lady and the elderly man with a walking stick all seem out of place in this world of perfection and antagonism.

Once, a woman smiled at me as I walked by in a daze. It shocked me, and my initial reaction was to wonder if I had food or bicycle grease on my face. Why it was that something so pleasant made me react in such a capricious manner? I was a suspicious mess, and was almost angry at the woman for evoking such an unstable feeing in me. But of course it was not her error; it was my own lack of self confidence which made me react that way. Then I realised that it was not just anger stirring up in the pit of my stomach, it was jealousy. I wanted to be that woman, who could smile at the world and warm the hearts of others. 

So I guess that the point of this post is that the DBT skill of HALF SMILE is a valuable one. The idea with this one is that there’s a biofeedback mechanism between the face and the brain. If your face is tense, the brain gears up for trouble. If on the other hand your face is relaxed, it tells your brain that everything is fine.

I’m not sure yet how this ties in with accepting reality, but then there’s a lot I don’t understand about accepting reality generally. The book says ‘Half smiling is accepting and tolerating with your body’. DBT seems to ease you gently into ‘accepting reality’ before finally hitting you with Radical Acceptance. I’m hoping that after we’ve covered radical acceptance I’ll understand more where these breathing, smiling and awareness exercises fit in.

I’ve used this skill several times since I learnt it. On the bus when I saw my reflection and realised just how anxious and cramped my face looked. In a crowded market today when I felt overwhelmed and my face was agreeing with me. Both times I consciously changed my face to an ‘I can cope’ expression. And cope I did… Coincidence perhaps; I need to experiment more but I’m definitely prepared to try it out.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

'I Shall Go To The Ball' OPPOSITE ACTION To Fear

 I am sitting here waiting, wishing for the moments to pass more slowly. Dreaded time has caught me by surprise this morning, dragging me into a place I would rather run and hide from. Yes tonight is the night that I have been both looking forward to yet silently wishing would never come. I admittedly have not been listening to my emotions about this event. If I am honest, I have not observed the suffocating sensation in my neck, or how hard it has been to catch my breath between the shallow gasps.

I am in full blown distress mode this morning. I feel titteringly close to losing control once again. So I must turn to DBT skills to quell my EMOTION MIND and find the calm which accompanies WISE MIND.

Firstly I can recognize that my fear is disproportionate to the situation. Yes OK, I acknowledge that it is out of my safe place. A formal ball with hundreds of new unfamiliar people is not going to be comfortable, but it will not harm me in anyway. With this in mind, the obvious skill to use is OPPOSITE TO EMOTION ACTION. For it to work, I must go ALL THE WAY with this skill to distinguish the fear and snuff out the flame of panic

Sometimes in order to change how we feel we have to act opposite to how our emotions are telling us to act.  With anxiety, instead of running from the feared circumstance, we need to approach and engage in it.

Acting opposite to how you’re feeling only works when:

  • The fear is not justified.  Fear is justified when a situation is a threat to your life, health, or well being.
  • You do opposite action all the way. Not just by acting opposite to how you’re feeling, but also by thinking opposite to how you’re feeling.


Figure out your emotion
Figure out what action goes with that emotion.
Ask yourself ‘do I want to reduce this emotion?’
Figure out what the opposite action is.
Do the opposite action all the way.

So I will firstly decide to go and follow through with that plan. I will fix my tan, go to the hairdressers and get my make-up done. I will dress up and make sure I feel as confident as I can before I go. Once I get there it is really important that I continue to be present, and stay in the skills mindset. I will use HALF SMILE to center my nerves and help accept that it is a difficult night for me. I must make sure that both my body and mind are at the party, so no hiding in the bathroom or keeping quite. I will make small talk and remember to breath!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 9 February 2012


"No thanks, I don't need a husband yet"
I was in a good mood for therapy today. I spent time thinking all week about what was the most effective topics to discuss. I feel I have found my drive this week for recovery which I lost for a while after Christmas. I have accepted it though and learnt that lack of motivation sometimes is part of the process. 

I finally brought up the topic of romantic relationships. I have somehow managed once again to get caught up in a relationship when it is the last thing that I need or want at the moment. I have not been sticking to my values with regards to learning how to stand on my own two feet. I have allowed this boy to sweep me off my feet, when I do not even have feelings for him. I am going out to pubs and drinking when I had sworn to myself not to while in therapy.

Don't lose yourself in attempt to hold on to someone.
So I blurted all this out in the session today, we thrashed it out, discussed  the value of a relationship with him, and got to the rot of the problem. I need to learn how to say no. 

To my horror we did a role play. First she played me and said how to end the complication in an effective way. Then we switched and I rehearsed what she had said. It took a few tries before I felt right saying it.

We decided to tell him that I was in treatment at the moment and because of this I was not in a position to be with anyone, and that I really hoped we could still hang out as friends. we agreed that I would wait until next week to tell him as I had already committed to attend the University Ball with him this Saturday.

In other news, but still on the skill of VALUES. I realized that I have a gaping hole in this part of my life. I list education as my number one most important value and yet am not doing anything to fulfill it. So, while I have some motivation, I used it to book a week long creative writing course one of the major Universities in Dublin. I really can't wait to do it!

Let me eat more Prozac

I am all motivated today. Maybe its the increase in medication. I saw my Consultant Psychiatrist yesterday morning and we agreed that I have been tolerating the 20mg of  Prozac (Fluoxetine) well enough for the last two months to double the dose to 40mg. The plan is to gradually get up to 60mg which is the evidence based dosage for bulimia nervosa. According to Healy D (2004) Let them eat Prozac. New York: New York University Press. pp 124–148.
"Fluoxetine dramatically, by 40-50%, decreased the frequency of panic attacks in two controlled trials of panic disorder patients. In three double-blind trials, fluoxetine significantly decreased the number of binge-eating and purging episodes of bulimia nervosa. Continued year-long treatment of the patients, who originally responded to fluoxetine, was more effective than placebo for the prevention of bulimia nervosa episodes."

I have to say that I am somewhat at ease taking a drug which has so much empirical research to back it up. My Doctor instilled confidence in me that I will see results when the dose is high enough. She described how she has seen it herself and has faith that it will work in conjunction (of course!) with DBT.

I feel a lightness coming back to my sprite. As if the fog is clearing and I can breath easier. It is most certainly due to the three pronged treatment approach (medication, DBT, and the right attitude.) Without each of these aspects in my treatment plan I have seen the devastating result of self destruction. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Early Rising Plan

'yum! Morning worms are far better than late ones'
I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ “

Coffee Coffee Coffee
Amazing start. I start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself ready, never fully feeling present. I sulky walk into work, looking rumpled and barely awake, grumpy and behind everyone else. Not a great start to the day. I am sick of my broken morning routine. Its no wonder that all I feel like doing is crawling back into bed and snoozing for the day.

Quietude is the main reason I want to become an early riser. No neighbours kids yelling, no babies crying, no echoes, no cars, no television noise. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favourite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe.

Why do I want to subject myself to the wee hours? Simple. Sunrise. People (Me!) who wake late miss one of the greatest feats of nature, repeated in full stereovision each and every day — the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colours start to seep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible colours. I want to start doing my early morning run during at this time, and I look up at the sky as I run and say to the world, “What a glorious day!”

Rise early and I actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sugarier, the betterier. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than scarfing something down on the way to work, or at your desk. It helps to regulate my mood, and sets me up for a more SKILFUL day.

There are other times to exercise besides the early morning, of course, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s also liable to be cancelled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never cancelled. And plus not as many people see you all puffy and red faced in jogging tights!

Just 5 more minutes Mom!
Mornings, for me at least (when I get up!), are the most productive time of day. I like to do some writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or blog stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it doing other things.

No one likes rush-hour traffic, except for oil and motor companies. Commute early, and the traffic is much lighter, and you get to work faster, and thus save yourself more time. Or better yet, commute by bike. (Or even better yet, work from home. A girl can dream!)

It’s much easier to make those early appointments on time if you get up early. I like making 9am Dr. appointments, to force me to get up early. Showing up late for that appointment is a bad signal to the person you’re meeting. Showing up early will impress them. Plus, you get time to prepare.

I don’t plan to make drastic changes. I will start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual, get used to this for a few days, then cut back another 15 minutes. I must also allow myself to sleep earlier. I am used to staying up late, watching TV or surfing the Internet. But if I continue this habit, while trying to get up earlier, sooner or later one is going to give. And if it is the early rising that gives, then inevitably I will crash and sleep late and have to start over. I must go to bed earlier, even if I don’t think I’ll sleep, and read while in bed.

Getting out of the bedroom as soon as I turn off the alarm is the best plan. I mustn’t allow myself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force myself to go out of the room. My plan is to drink lots at night and therefore come morning have to stumble into the bathroom and go pee. By the time I’ve done that, and flushed the toilet and washed my hands and looked at my ugly mug in the mirror, I’m awake enough to face the day. I must not rationalize. If I allow my brain to talk me out of getting up early, I’ll never do it. Getting back in bed is not an option.

I have been trying to set something to do early in the morning that’s important. This reason will motivate me to get up. I like to write in the morning, so that’s my reason. Also, when I’m done with that, I like to read all of your comments!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Today we finished INTERPERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS and moved onto MINDFULNESS in skills group. Now that I have gained back some motivation to partake in DBT, I feel disappointed that I missed so much of the DEARMAN, GIVE, and FAST skills. I get now why the modules are repeated at least twice and am slowly coming around to being told I must repeat the skills group again next year. So my guilt, although still there, has dissipated somewhat.

This weeks homework is to focus on being NON JUDGEMENTAL. It’s a toughie for me so, is a good one to re-visit (or should I say visit, as I have yet to master it!) It was suggested that I get a tally counter. Which is one of them clickity yokes to count how many times you notice a judgement and learn to associate the ‘click’ with it. So tomorrow I am going on a city wide hunt for one!

A place where I think I will be able to practise this skill is at the Ball I am going to this Saturday night. I will be getting all dolled up and be in the company of beautiful and highly intelligent people (It’s the annual Medical Ball!), so as you can imagine…. I am shivering with nerves already. My challenge is to go and simply notice all the judgements I have about myself, other people and the environment. 

All-though unless I can find a counter to match my gown, I might leave it at home that night!

Wish me luck!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Emotional reactions in BPD

What are the hard and fast rules of dealing with emotional turmoil? Please. Please! Someone give me the magic cure-all, the answer, or at least a hint. It’s defeating having to pull myself out of the horned brambles every time I crash down where others merely trip, stumble and get on with their day.

I have come across a greatly validating Blog of late written by a very talented and truly compassionate therapist; Karyn Hall. She is the founder of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Center in Houston and writes for Psych Central Blogs. Her Blog, The Emotionally Sensitive Person is a wonderfully corroborate part of the web for anyone suffering with intense emotions. While reading a recent post of hers I realized that I live in a world filled with heightened emotional responses to everyday life and as of yet I am totally at their peril. I am afraid of my emotions.

This is what I find hardest about my disorder. Everything affects me to extremes, and the extremes are where my ‘crazy’ comes out. Yes, I am that girl who falls hard and fast for the boy who is nice to her just once, the girl who takes the contrastive criticism to heart, the one who fails to see the room for improvement and thinks she has failed completely when she doesn’t achieve a perfect score on a test, she lets her sadness pour over the good things in life.

My heart breaks when I see a homeless person and I say a little prayer that their luck will turn around someday and they won’t have to live in the cold anymore. My eyes fill with tears at the pictures of sick children in third world countries. I am rattled with guilt that I am on social welfare when there are others out there who have not had such a fortunate life as me. I am ashamed that there are cancer patients dying, not out of choice, who would give anything for just one more year of life, while I spend an unhealthy amount of time planning and researching my own suicide. I am guilty as hell about the loss of my twin babies during pregnancy due to my illness, while other women would give their left arm for the opportunity I had and let slip away because of my eating disorder.

I got upset today; I had to gulp back big overwhelming silent sobs because of the guilt I felt as I walked past a shivering homeless man on the way to Starbucks. It put my problems in perspective; at least I have a warm bed at night, and the ability to provide for myself a safe environment in which to live.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Black and white thoughts, searching for the grey!

Today I was faced with a stark reality check.  I do not have the objective ability to have a balanced view of situations and am thus ruled my my dichotomous thinking. 

Under extreme stress, I find it can be comforting to oversimplify.

I will eat, or I will not eat.
I will live, or I will die.

This rational streamlining allows a sense of peace in the midst of turbulence. Yes, there are plenty of things that are black an white. Simple things. Is the toaster plugged in? Is the door locked? 

But the reason we have words like maybe, probably, partial, more, less, etc. is the grey is all around us. Everything has details, data, different ways to present and interpret the details and data, these different ways of presentation and interpretation is what causes grey.

When the stakes are not quite so high, perhaps a little room for the middle ground would be advisable. There are more choices than you think.A little "wiggle room" goes a long way when navigating through people, events and circumstances. Very little in my own life has ever been distinctly good/bad or black/white in any way, shape or form. Most things are just a subtle shade of gray when examined closely.

So much of the world is best described in an analog way not a digital way and definitely not in the binary way. So much is best described as a continum: I will not eat, I will eat a tiny bit, Iwill eat a moderate amount, and so on with an infinite variety of amounts.

Either / or is just the easy way out. I must leave a little room for humanity to breathe. If the middle ground is removed, how many of us still stand? My life is too complex to be able to discount gray areas in order to accommodate absolutes built on foundations that aren't solid simply because I am are either too fixed in my ideologies to be able to critically assess a situation or too intellectually lazy to do the heavy lifting, so to speak, when it comes to handling difficult ethical dilemmas, I simply use a catch all.