Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 3

#WorkForHappy

This is a series in which I talk about my experience with DBT. I am not naming any names or institutions that the therapy is associated with. I am not a professional in this field, this is all purely based on my experience and impressions. If you are interested in DBT or other therapies, please talk about it to a medical professional. 

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Artwork by Sina Shagrai

I was not doing well at all.

In recent weeks I have been telling you guys about my experience going to DBT, as it happens, honest and raw (Find Part 1 and Part 2 here), and I’m not going to sugar coat anything. I feel terrible, I feel flat, and I feel depressed. Is that because of DBT? I don’t know, if I’m honest.

Actually, if I’m honest? I feel like I came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now.

Here’s Part 3, week 4. Continue reading “Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 3”

How Having Plants Has Helped My Mental Health

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People tell me several things about adulthood, but the idea that I would look forward to coming home just to see my plants was an unforeseen adult thing. No one told me about this part. I’m… shook.

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Meet my plants! They’re my best friends ❤

Since getting plants, I’ve started to not only care for them, but for myself as well. I put so much time and effort into my plants – researching their optimal conditions, evaluating their watering needs, making sure they’re potted comfortably, giving them more or less light… in tandem I’ve started hydrating myself, getting fresh air, and even meditating, in a way, as I stroke their leaves and say affirming things to them. I feel connected to them, as well as with my environment, and (wait for it)… the universe.

Is that a hippy thing to say? Welp, I guess I’m a hippy now.

The Origin Story

The reason I got plants in the first place was because I was having a good day. Continue reading “How Having Plants Has Helped My Mental Health”

Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 2

#WorkForHappy

This is a series in which I talk about my experience with DBT. I am not naming any names or institutions that the therapy is associated with. I am not a professional in this field, this is all purely based on my experience and impressions. If you are interested in DBT or other therapies, please talk about it to a medical professional. 

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Artwork by Sina Shagrai

Last week I told you guys all about my first session of DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I’ve had two more sessions since then. I have some… thoughts.

I have not felt this amount of anxiety in so long and I honestly don’t know if it’s happening just by chance or if I’m suddenly very aware of how I’m feeling 100% of the time because of DBT. The tools they give us are useful, to be sure. But I’m having moments where I question if it’s even worth it.

Here’s what happened in my second and third session of DBT.

When Common Sense Is Forgotten

Week 2 of DBT started a little differently. Continue reading “Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 2”

Securing the Love of Your Life: It’s Not Me, It’s You

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henn kim
“Future Together” Henn Kim

When I met my current boyfriend – my soulmate, my rock, the absolute love of my life – I wasn’t too impressed. At that point of my life I had dated pretty much every kind of guy on the spectrum (sorry, mom and dad) and my standard had been set pretty high already. Meeting him was the beginning of my happily ever after, I just didn’t know it yet. For the time being he was just another dude among a pool of people without anything really setting them apart except my level of indifference.

What changed is a whole bunch of little things that are necessary for a successful relationship, which hit me all at once. Now, looking back, all of this amalgamated into a cluster of requirements I wasn’t aware of until hindsight came in, 20/20. Almost two years of dating later, I am happily settled with the choice I’ve made, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

This is why love exists, why it’s good for you, and how to make it permanent. My name is Sanam, I’m 20, and I’m about to give you some ~love advice~. Continue reading “Securing the Love of Your Life: It’s Not Me, It’s You”

Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 1

#WorkForHappy

This is a series in which I talk about my experience with DBT. I am not naming any names or institutions that the therapy is associated with. I am not a professional in this field, this is all purely based on my experience and impressions. If you are interested in DBT or other therapies, please talk about it to a medical professional. 

So… I’ve been put into a therapy group. I know, I can’t believe it either.

I was told by my psychiatrist that DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, would probably benefit me more than medication could. I was skeptical. I’d been a part of group therapy before, and I hated it. Absolutely detested it. In fact, not even a month after I finished my first group therapy course with flying colors at 16, I ended up getting hospitalized. It didn’t help whatsoever.

Expressing these concerns earned me a chuckle from my psychiatrist.

“Maybe you just weren’t ready to be a part of group therapy. Do you think you’re in a different place than you were when you were 16?”

…Yes.

“Do you think you still have trouble handling intense emotions and distress?”

I mean… I do.

“Are you trying your hardest to develop the ability to deal with those emotions?”

I am.

“Then why not give it a go? It can’t hurt to try.”

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Artwork by Sina Shagrai

I guess not. Maybe the difference between me and the person I was five years ago is that I am actually willing to get better. Back then, I found those sessions insulting to my intelligence. I had certain ideas of grandeur back then, that I knew everything and that therapists were just over-qualified life coaches. I couldn’t be fixed, I thought.

Now I’m an adult… I guess? It’s hard to say.

Nonetheless, I agreed. I applied, and I got in.

Turns out, DBT is nothing like I thought it would be. I’m going to be completely frank and absolutely transparent as I journal MY experience with DBT, my highs and lows, and whether or not it might be right for you.

This is my first week in DBT. Spoiler, it wasn’t what I was expecting..

Continue reading “Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 1”

How Forgiving Myself Is A Favor To Others

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  • What Love Has To Do With Forgiveness
  • Forgiving Yourself Is Only The First Step
  • The Favor: What You Give Back By Forgiving Yourself

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Artwork by Lukas Frischknecht

Love, they say, is the meaning life. Others say it is a mere distraction from real life. I’m 20 years old and I am trying to come to terms with the fact that loving someone is not the same as caring for them.

Ask anyone and they will tell you that love is a choice. Love can run out when the one with holding it is unwilling, and it can multiply when the giver is generous. I, unfortunately, had become dangerously generous.

Guess what? I’ve reclaimed my love. I value it, because I’ve learned to value myself.

That came with a whole lot of work, and it started with forgiveness. Are you a fuck up? Welcome to my world!

This is the story of how I royally screwed up, forgave myself, and learned to value the love I gave away for the sake of the people around me. Continue reading “How Forgiving Myself Is A Favor To Others”

What Having Haters Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful

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I could never fathom how someone would go out of their way to be nasty to another human being. What sort of satisfaction does it serve? Is it a rush, perhaps? An outlet?

When I wrote “What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful”, I knew I was putting myself out there a little bit. For most of my life I figured that as long as I don’t publicly acknowledge that I have a “unique” nose, other people wouldn’t either.

I was right. Once I acknowledged it, other people couldn’t help themselves in having a say either.

Having exposed this insecurity and my relationship with it, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I got messages and comments telling me that my confidence (such as it were) had inspired them to take some steps towards accepting themselves as well. I got messages saying that the uniqueness of my nose was beautiful and nothing to be ashamed about. Hell, someone even told me that my post had made them see their gender dysphoria in a new light, looking for their inner self rather than what they looked like to affirm their new gender identity. It was inspiring for me, and made that insecurity pretty much shrink to nothing. 

Then some teenager on my Instagram called my nose ugly in Swedish and, what’s more, tagged a friend to affirm it. 

I’ll say that, for the record, I wasn’t at all effected by the ensuing comments that included multiple barf emojis from these adolescents hailing from across the world. Standing in Canada, far away Sweden was non-existent in my breadth of understanding. What’s more, my ever-lasting compassion, a quality that even I acknowledge is quite a landmark in my personality, extended even to these poor girls.

The picture in question, which I honestly am kind of proud of – like I said in the caption – “This is an incredibly personal post for me

What’s funny is that whenever you see anyone on the internet acknowledge negativity, there is always a mention of how one should feel sorry for haters and trolls on the internet. I didn’t think much of it until I had a brush with this negativity myself. I felt bad for them –  actually, first I thought it was funny, then I felt sympathy. I had tagged the photo showing off my nose #bignose and #rhinoplasty, which I have no doubt is what landed these girls on my page in the first place. Self-esteem is hard to come by these days, even for these girls who are, admittedly, quite pretty themselves. They were most likely looking for someone that they could call uglier than themselves. Commenting on my picture that I have an ugly nose probably made them feel better about themselves, because they could proudly say that they don’t have my ugly nose, so there’s that. They might feel crippling despair when they look in the mirror, but in their heads, they are making me feel even worse than them. That is a comfort. I’m not assuming they knew what they were doing. That kind of mean-spirited insecurity is very subconscious.

If they were to read this right now, they would probably comment that that’s not at all what it is – “you just have an ugly nose” they would say. They’re right, perhaps I do have an ugly nose. But at least I don’t feel a need to put others down, for whatever reason.

In the end, who is more beautiful? The person who spreads negativity and puts down others for the parts they cannot change, or the person who tries to spread positivity and minds their own business? 

Someone who has true self-love will not feel the need to point out flaws in other people. I don’t want anyone to feel that way, because I know what it feels like to feel worthless… but at least I didn’t cope by putting other people down too. That I can proudly say. 

In the end, they deleted their comments. It was a losing battle, after all. While I didn’t engage with them, people who cared for me did. It’s not something I wanted, but I got messages from people I’ve never met before telling me that I am beautiful. I never doubted that I am beautiful –  if anything, I feel more beautiful, not just because of the whole “rising above the bullshit” stuff, but also literally just out of spite. I don’t have a unique nose after all. I have a big ugly one. But hell, it’s my nose. Only I can put my nose down, not some silly broken teenager on the internet – my insecurity belongs to me. I will fiercely protect it. 

I’m no online personality, but in a strange twist of events having one or two haters definitely elevated my self confidence. Who’d have thought?

Definitely not those girls.