I’ve been on a list to take a Dialetical Behavior Therapy course taught by my therapist and got the call today that there is an opening. Part of me is like “I’ve been doing this for five years and have my self-help DBT workbooks, do I really need the course?” And the type A me is exited to relearn these skills which are helpful for managing not just my bipolar symptoms, but maintaing my sobriety. Because I am a dual-diagnosis dame in long-term recovery. I’m coming up on three years of recovery, from both of these illnesses, and I don’t want to go backwards. So forward I go with DBT & ME!
I felt optimistic on my 45 minute drive to the therapist this morning. Two bald eagles, at different times, flew right by me. Made me think of freedom and the AA slogan “Freedom from the bondage of self.” It’s all I really want right now.
Then I parked my car, and immediately upon entering the mental health building I was struck by the shortness of breath panic that comes with anxiety. I’m agrophobic when I’m depressed.
I began crying before I could even check myself into the appointment. But I stayed. I met with my therapist. That in itself is a great accomplishment. A positive.
General understanding I got through today’s session was that I lack compassion for myself. This only makes the depression worse as I judge what I am doing and what I’m not doing creating this shame spiral because I have expectations for myself that I cannot possibly live up to when it takes much willpower to just walk through a door.
So here’s some positives going for me during this dip:
- I’m not drinking. I have nearly three years sober and know from experience that drinking while depressed leads me to one solution: suicide.Because I don’t even view alcohol as an option, for the first time I felt like cutting myself, a form of self-harm I’ve never considered. I used my DBT skills and “urge surfed” this option- thinking all the consequences out and the urge went away.
- Then I went to the DBT distress tolerance tool of distraction. I masturbated instead. Much more enjoyable than cutting myself or drinking to oblivion.
- On the 45 min. Drive back home, I thought about being more compassionate to myself and gave it over to “the force”. Immediately this song came on the radio:
Mike Doughty is a musician in long term recovery. When I was first in recovery, I could not get enough of listening to him, and did not even know he was “like me”- not until the release of his memoir, Book of Drugs.
I also finally watched The Anonymous People this week, which I highly recommend for anyone in recovery or who advocates recovery.