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!

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