Disclaimer: This is a blog. I have not ever intended to represent myself as a medical professional, hence my continuous disclaimer. Not sure how there can be any confusion on this point. My experiences are my own and should not be perceived as a “cookie cutter” example of BPD, as though that actually exists. My hope for this blog is that I can offer some insight into what living with a mental illness can look like and offer comfort to others like me.
I am not pissed AF. I notice I am experiencing a feeling of intense anger. I am aware of my emotions, but I am not my emotions.
I am two weeks into my DBT group sessions and I am already noticing an impact it’s having on my life. I take a second to ask myself “is this wise mind?” before I react… well, most of the time anyway. It doesn’t mean I always listen to the answer, but I’m reigning myself in from my worst impulses.
Sometimes though it feels so binding, so restrictive. My emotions are powerful, it’s where my passion stems from, they give me drive through the good times and the bad. I am exhausted trying to keep on top of them. It’s not that we’ve even been asked to change how we’re feeling, just try to be aware as often as you can. When you suffer from emotional dysregulation it can be a hell of a lot to try to be aware of.
There are things I read as contradictions as well but perhaps I won’t when I find some balance. I do find it confusing that we’re not supposed to brand emotions or even actions as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Yes, we’re not supposed to, but it’s not wrong if we do; pretty fine line, no? Keep yourself in check, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t.
I’m tired. I am trying to keep on top of a busy career while dedicating two evenings a week towards therapy. Plus we have homework, ensuring all of us try being people outside of our small groups.
Here’s my tip for DBT newbies; put what you can in pop culture analogies to help you remember and process it. I’ll use wise mind, the main skill I’ve been focusing on lately, as an example of this.
The idea is that our brain is split in two sections; our emotion mind (the limbic system) and the rest of our brain (our rational mind). Those who experience emotion dysregulation have a greater disconnect between these two systems than those who do not. This can be the result of physiological and environmental factors. The emotion mind, obviously, is responsible for our emotions, our feelings and our reactions. Our rational mind is all about logic. When these two halves meet we enter ‘wise mind’, the ability to think of the best solution which takes emotions and logic into account.
Below you can see a perfectly fine diagram which explains this theory.
This one is my hastily thrown together, somewhat arguable pop culture interpretation of these characteristics. Less academic, but it’s nice to be able to ask myself “what would Dumbledore or Picard do?” or “do you REALLY want to be a total Ron?” when working towards a good outcome… looking at it now female representation is pretty shite. I blame the entertainment industry as much as myself. McGonagall would make a good example of ‘wise mind’ as would Buffy… depending on what season you’re watching.
I hope this was somewhat helpful. I know I’ve been pretty crappy with updates lately but as I get deeper into DBT I should have more to talk about. Thanks for sticking with me 🙂