I think I have taken a turn for the better. I am amazed at how different I feel now than I did when I began my DBT group in June. When I started the group, my emotions were a mess. I was all negative, all the time. There was no positive in my life that I thought I could focus on. I was self-harming. A lot. I was depressed beyond what I ever thought possible, and I was starting to think that suicide was my only hope. I was riddled with anxiety and couldn’t go into the grocery store by myself. I was afraid to talk to people, or even be NEAR other people. I was so angry, and my rage was explosive. I was lashing out at Jay, at my dog, at my vehicle, at the walls in my house. Pretty much anything in my way at the time was subject to my wrath.
I have felt like a different person these past three weeks. My emotions are more manageable. I’m not controlled by them like I was before. I can actually THINK and not just react based on what I’m feeling. My days are slowly being filled with more enjoyable actives as I continue to build positive experiences. I have things to look forward to now that I’m working on my REACH Empowerment skills. (Read about REACH Empowerment HERE!) Every day I research a past United States president as my empowerment skill. I also very much enjoy walking in the park as the “H” in REACH. I now have a career goal, as discussed HERE, to pursue, something I’ve not had before. My anger is mostly gone, and even when I feel it coming on, I know better how to control it. My depression has faded, and I haven’t hurt myself in over three weeks. My anxiety is barely still around. Not nearly as intense as it’s been. I can tackle grocery stores and gas stations like a champ. I still don’t like to talk to people, but at least I’m not as scared anymore.
I was petrified and trepidatious when I began my DBT group three to four months ago. I wasn’t sure if I COULD feel better. And if I could, I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to keep it up. I didn’t know if I would be able to change, but I knew there was a tremendous pressure on me to do just that. I didn’t think that I would be able to change since I had already tried everything in my power to be different. I doubted it was possible.
Turns out (and thank God for this!) I was wrong. I COULD be different. I COULD control my emotions and not act like a three year-old crazy person. I COULD find joy in my life. Things COULD be good! And they are! Right now, things are going wonderfully with me. I FEEL GREAT!!
That’s really all that’s changed: How I FEEL. The Distress Tolerance section helped me learn how to improve how I felt and get through each moment without completely falling apart. The Emotion Regulation section is helping me to control my emotions and not let them run my life. DBT really is helping me. It has made such a difference that Crazy Jay is going to start going through Marsha Linehan’s book, too.
Now, I do not believe in coincidences, so I feel that I absolutely must mention something else that happened three weeks ago: That was when I made the decision to no longer have contact with anyone in my birth family. I know the skills I have learned so far in DBT have without-a-doubt helped my mental health improve. I also believe that I have improved because I have cut out the main negative influence in my life. Jay and I have fought about them. I have stressed about them. I have cried over them. And now it’s all gone.
I no longer spend the day thinking about my birth family, and how I feel they’ve let me down. I no longer spend time thinking about how badly they’ve made me feel. I no longer think about how I’ve been ignored and mistreated. I have cut out a HUGE amount of time that I used to spend on negative thoughts. I don’t have that nastiness swimming around in my head anymore, so I feel better overall. I feel motivated. I feel excited. I feel happy. I wasn’t sure if I would ever experience happiness again.
My DBT group has definitely taught me skills to improve my life. There is no question in my mind (or Jay’s, for that matter) that I turned a corner once I made the decision to end contact with my birth family. I used the Wise Mind skill to separate my thoughts from my emotions, and realized that all I had written down were negative facts. Nothing positive has come from my birth family, not that I can remember (read about it HERE!).
DBT, along with eliminating negativity from my life, has changed me. I’ve only been feeling this way for three weeks, but I think it’s here to stay. I’m really enjoying living my life right now.