Sometimes we all need a little extra help and support. And do you know what? It is perfectly okay to ask for that extra help. I did that today, as a matter of fact.
For the last few days I have not been doing very well. I’ve basically been sleeping my days away (I didn’t get out of bed for the “day” until 7:30pm last night) and when I am up, I’m not doing very much. My accomplishments yesterday (yes, I consider these accomplishments) included taking a shower and making and eating food. Considering I did not want to be awake, let alone do anything, I am proud of myself for finally managing to get out of bed and do what I did.
Despite being proud of myself for the few things I did do, I was still a bit disappointed in myself for giving into my urges to sleep all day. I slept a lot of today away too. I am miserable, to be completely honest. Yes, I’ve been worse, but that does not mean that my pain now is insignificant. It is important to recognize that I am still struggling AND that it is okay that I am struggling AND that I am going to keep on trying. Trying to do what, you may ask? Trying to function, trying to be okay, trying to use skills, trying to be, to just exist. So, knowing that I was struggling today, I decided to call my therapist. I called her and before I could even bring it up and ask myself, she suggested we get together today to talk and work some things out. It was like she took the idea right from my mind. So, we met today from 4:30-5:15pm.
As I always do during session, I took some notes. One of the most important things we talked about was this analogy of a thermometer, where I’m okay at a low temperature but as the temp rises things become worse and closer to crisis and, finally, breaking point. She said it was important to match up the proper “temperature” or severity of a situation with the proper skill. For example, most of my problems right now are in the middling to mid-high temps, which are not crisis situations for me, but are rather for “regular” life situations and problems. Therefore, I don’t want to be using distract skills, which fall under distress tolerance. Instead, I might want to look at problem solving skills and skills that fall under emotion regulation. Basically, I want to problem solve in order to change things, not just tolerate it. Because that’s where I’m at right now. I’m not in the “Misery” part of life where I wish I was in a coma and I’m sleeping all day and near crisis. (Even though I said I’m miserable earlier, which I am, I’m not so severe as to place myself in a misery category of life.) Right now I’m more in the “Blah” part of life that feels like a holding pattern, like I’m stuck. I want to get to the “Enjoy” part of life where I’m doing things, I’m active, and happy.
Actually, I feel like I’m more on the far left side of the “Blah Life,” close to “Misery Life.”
Regardless, we talked about how it is important for me now to Troubleshoot, especially when it seems that what I am doing isn’t working. This consists of six main steps, which I am taking from here.
- Check your biological sensitivity – am I more vulnerable for some reason?
- Check your skills – am I following skills and are they working? Are they the right ones?
- Check for reinforcers – are my emotions fulfilling a role?
- Check your mood – am I putting in proper time and effort?
- Check for emotional overload – Breaking point?
- Check for emotion myths getting in the way – am I being judgmental?
We also discussed the importance of realizing whether or not I have been willful lately (which I have been yesterday and today, for sure). If I am being willful, it is important to acknowledge, not judge, and let it go, trying to be willing instead of willful.
Some other random notes I made from therapy is to not live in the future, but to stay in the present, to accumulate positives in my life (both short and long term), and to challenge my negative thoughts and cognitive distortions.
As far as that last point goes, I did a pretty good job of that last night. I’ve been feeling really snippy lately, and so ended up yelling at my mom last night, after which I felt absolutely terrible. I started having all these negative thoughts about myself pop into my head. So, these were my challenges that I told myself last night:
- Just because my mom is mad at me does not make me a terrible daughter.
- I am not a horrible person for yelling at my mom.
- Being angry and/or having someone angry with me does not make my life not worth living.
- Conflict doesn’t ruin my life.
I’m going to be honest, though. Even after writing out the above challenges in my journal last night, I still had negative thoughts. . I started thinking that I hated my life, myself, and that I was a terrible person. I felt like a bitch and couldn’t think of any positive qualities about myself. My therapist told me that I did a good job challenging those myths, but that when they came back, that is when I needed to do it again. To keep on challenging those myths and thoughts as they popped into my head. Basically, I did an effective thing, I just needed to continue doing it past the first round of bad thoughts. For example, in therapy today I kept thinking, “Why am I doing this (sleeping all day)?” “What is wrong with me?”
CHALLENGE: “Sometimes I struggle while trying to achieve my goal and that can be really hard.”
I just need to ACCEPT that struggling is a part of the process. It’s really hard AND I need to keep trying.
Have you noticed my strong use of the word “AND?” I never used to realize how important that word is until I met my current therapist. She uses the word AND (puts the stress on it, too) frequently in session so that when adding a new stipulation to something she doesn’t lessen the importance of the first thing she said. Both things are important, hence the word and.
So, what am I going to do for the rest of my night? I am going to do at least one thing per hour from my “Brainstorm solutions, activities, ideas” booklet that I am working on until I go to bed for the night. I currently have at least 100 things on the list ranging from things like taking a shower to eating to doing art to exercising, etc.
6pm-7pm: Ate delicious snack (ice cream sandwich); listened and sang to the radio
7pm-8pm: Wrote a blog post (this right here!)
I plan to:
8pm-9pm: Watch a favorite tv show (Masterchef)
9pm-10pm: Write a poem
10pm-11pm: Color mandalas
11pm-12pm: Read / Listen to a book being read