Hi Friends <3
I apologize for not having responded to comments or posted recently. I had a difficult weekend struggling with A LOT of self-judgement and fear and a dear friend of mine who is almost like my little sister was in a crisis situation and living in another state I did not know what was going on exactly and I was very, very afraid for her wellbeing. I can’t say much except eventually her mother contacted me and said she is in a safe place and doing ok, which I’m thankful for, but Sunday night was spent in distress worrying about her and I still am.
This morning the Boyfriend and I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast before running errands:
Oh how I enjoy thee delicious chocolatey donut and hot coffee that Dunkin wouldn’t make iced because I got a combo. Oh well, still yummy and one of my last fear foods down
I’ve been able to use some of my Dialectical Behavior Therapy Mindfulness skills and at least be able to describe and label the emotions I’m having so my thought process kind of goes like this:
1. I start to freak out and feel physically uncomfortable with a fluttering feeling in my whole chest and stomach area. My body clenches and I notice the physical reaction.
2. I label my emotions
3. Then I ask myself where these emotions all come from. The truth is, I’ve been using this skill for the last 8 months now since I first started doing my own DBT work by reading through the training manual for it but I’m trying to make an effort on the blog to show you all how I actually put to practice what I’m learning in my skills group, which I started last week and is very helpful thus far.
4. Once I identify what thoughts are related to the emotions, for example:
- What I’m fearful of is failing at my business and it not being successful and ensuing anxiety that I will not be able to be an entrepreneur
I look at what action I can take to do something about that emotion. In this case the solution is….
5. Remember my strengths
- I tell myself that I am going to be taking a unique approach in my work to design things that will be helpful to those dealing with mental illnesses and also be very affordable
- I believe I can make a difference by using my life experiences and all the research I’ve done for my own recovery as well as my thesis
- I plan on continuing to dedicate time and money to taking more classes and certifications to be able to help others
What I’ve realized is that if I can identify my emotions and label them, figure out the source, and then brainstorm ways to either self-soothe or take action to turn the emotion into something productive that will benefit my wellbeing, I feel much less overwhelmed, more powerful and capable, and it instantly lifts my mood and helps me regain some control that I felt I had lost. This might sound really simple or it might sound really difficult depending where you are at in your own life or if you are in recovery. Last November I’d break the process down and first just label my emotions. Then I’d try to find out where they were coming from, and after a lot of practice I was able to determine what information I could take from my emotions.
I can only imagine that DBT is going to really change my life and my ability to cope with my emotions and deal with stressful/uncomfortable feelings and situations. I’m honestly very excited about the next 9 1/2 months of it because I can already see some of the benefits, even if in a small way after two skills classes.
A few other things that have helped to lift my mood lately are branching out and increasing the items in my “Recovery Medicine Bag.” I feel like I am starting to come into my own more and allow myself the freedom to explore things that in the past I would have allowed judgement from others to inhibit my interest, or pursuing that interest. These are actual, physical things that instantly have an effect.
The first is a smudge stick. Now if you aren’t familiar with smudging, it is a Native American tool used to clear out bad energy or just clean up the energy in the area. The Boyfriend got here on Monday night and I smudged the apartment before he came to clear out the craziness of my move and feelings I discussed above. I’m not a huge fan of the smell, so I followed it with a citrus aromatherapy spray. Loveliness
The way I see these more “alternative” healing objects is as a supplement to what I’m already doing, i.e. individual therapy, DBT, yoga, medication, vitamins, etc. Smudging my apartment won’t make me fully recover but using these tools to help clear energy or calm me down, whether it has scientific efficacy or whether it’s more of a placebo effect just helping me remember to cultivate good thoughts and energy in my world, it doesn’t really matter. The point is it helps, and if that’s only because I believe it helps, it is still worth it to me even as a symbolic gesture.
The second tool is Bach Rescue Remedy Pastilles. I’ve used the spray before and found it does have a slight calming effect on me and I like the sensory features (the chewiness of it and the taste) and I use them when I’m doing business work and get stressed out. I make a cup of tea and suck on one of these pastilles while it’s steeping and then I calm down and get back to work.
The third is just fun, pretty Mineral Fusion nail polish. I found it at Whole Foods and couldn’t resist It’s pretty on my toes and it makes me smile and anything that makes me smile is a good thing.
Well the boyfriend has poured me a glass of vino and is making dinner. On the menu: Vegan Apple Sage Sausages, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, a Tomato and Dill Salad, Kale Smoothie, and some White Cheddar Cheetos, which are not Vegan but I have been wanting them for weeks and so I got them Enjoy your evening!