Friday, 8 March 2013

DBT for grief

I am worried what to say to her, but I am sure everyone worries about what to say to a grieving person. But what I really feel is that knowing how to listen is much more important. Oftentimes, well-meaning people avoid talking about the death or mentioning the deceased person, I felt I should bring her Dad up, but when I was grieving for my friends that died a few years ago, I really needed to feel that my loss was acknowledged, I wanted to talk about it.
I wanted to let her know that she had my approval to talk about her dad’s death, even if it had only happened a few hours ago, yet I tried not to force her to open up. I just let her talk when the subject of her dad came up.
I brought food and made pots of tea. It’s what I do. I want to ‘mother smother’ her. That’s my term for looking after a person in time of crisis. I did it for my sister when her baby boy came early and was sick in the hospital. I got some healthy salads and soups, and also some comfort food like pizza and soda bread and giant cookies and coca-cola.
I am going out to her again tomorrow, I would like to make her some food for the freezer, but I am very low on money and can’t afford to buy the meat this weekend. From what I could see, she has enough food in the house for a few days, so can hold off for a while.
Okay… so the point of this post is to figure out what DBT skills to use to stay regulated so I can be the shoulder to lean on my friend needs right now.
I need to be aware of which emotion I am experiencing. I will do this with OBSERVE, by checking in regularly with myself, and through my meditation practise. Then I will DESCRIBE the emotion and how it is affecting my body, thoughts and behaviours. I will be NON-JUDGEMENTAL towards my thoughts, my emotions and the feelings and emotions of those who are grieving. I will do this by putting myself in their shoes. I will let my friend know that t’s ok to feel whatever way they feel, let her express her feelings without judgement, argument or criticism.
This is a time to use the relationship effectiveness skill GIVE
·         Be gentle
·         Be interested
·         Validate
·         Have an easy manner
I will smile at my friend and her family and be MINDFUL in my conversation.
I really need to reduce my vulnerability with PLEASE, take my medication, go to yoga (even though this friend normally comes with me). Absolutely no drink or prescribed drugs…! I must endeavour to get the right amount of sleep. I will continue with my healthy diet and stick to my meal plans.
I will try to INCREASE POSITIVE EMOTIONS by going to my meditation group tonight. I will notice how I feel in my body, what’s passing through my mind, what I am doing, how I am behaving.

DISTRACTION is my best bet here, in particular focusing on others, in particular my friend. I will focus on her and concentrate on her needs. This will help direct my thoughts away from the difficult emotions which accompany death
I am AWAKING OPPOSITE EMOTION by listening to my favourite music, calming and soothing music.
PRAYER is helping me too to not make the situation worse. I am also bringing my friend and her family into my meditation.
I self-soothed by taking a really long hot shower this morning which gave me the strength to go see my friend after.
Finally RADICAL ACCEPTANCE is greatly needed. Death is the ultimate test for this skill. I hate that he is dead, yet I must accept it.