I find a colossal urge to resist being truthful to myself. Even though I can’t quite fathom this period of dissociation which seems to be here on an extended and highly unwelcome visit, I have also not been doing anything to actively pull myself out of it, even though I know that there are ways to help myself.
I have spent the last two years learning that DBT and my treatment team are not going to magically ‘fix’ my emotional vulnerability. And even though I would love them to just magically take all my difficulties away for me, they can’t.
It IS true though, that I have proven to myself that with hard work and dedication to my health I can help myself with the skills which have been thought to me. When I weigh up this evidence, I still find myself being willful. As stubborn as a mule!
Recovering from dysregulation requires action, but taking action when you’re emotionally overwhelmed is hard. In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting.
It’s the Catch-22 of emotional sensitivity: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There’s a difference, however, between something that's difficult and something that's impossible.
Looking back on past blog entries I am reminded that the key to getting over being willful is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there. Draw upon whatever resources you have. You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short shower, care for a pet or pick up the phone to text a loved one or someone else who could also do with a boost.
While you can’t force yourself to have fun or experience pleasure, you can choose to do things that you used to or know you do enjoy. Pick up a former hobby or a sport you like. Express yourself creatively through music, art, or writing. Go out with friends. Take a day trip to a museum, the mountains, or the pick up a trashy magazine.
Push yourself (with compassion) to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. This is all down to OPPOSITE ACTION. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world. Even if the dysregulation doesn't lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.
So with this in mind (and an extremely willful mind it can be) I took myself off a yoga class with a friend today and went to support another friend of mine who lost her father a month ago.
I have tons of work building up for my course which I have had to put on the back burner due to grief and sickness, so I am facing it tomorrow, going to the doctor to get a sick note and asking for an extension.
Do I feel any better? Not hugely, but ever so slightly yes. And each day being skillful all adds up to achieving a life worth living. Just remember… Rome wasn't built in a day.