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”

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Life Looks Gorgeous On You

When I sit on the train, I like to people watch. Their faces are like blank canvases to me. They stare with dead eyes at the advertisement that’s been plastered above a fellow transit passenger’s head, some pensive, some exhausted, others wearing a simply inscrutable expression.

To pass the time, I begin to familiarize myself with these strangers in my head.

I picture these strangers laughing. Crying. Sighing. Seeing a blue sky after a rainy week, the soft expression of surprise when they get an unexpected call from someone they haven’t spoken to in a while.

I imagine anger, how it colors some people red or blue or purple or white, how they might sob out of frustration, or assume a dead rocky silence in the face of giving up on someone after a fighting match.

blob of the day by henrik aa uldalen
Blob Of The Day by Henrik Aa Uldalen

I envision hope. How these strangers might perk up at the sound of a loved one’s footsteps as they finally get home, or become shy when they see someone after they had gone out on their first date. How they might bite their lip as they open a much anticipated email, or grind their teeth when their team almost scores.

And what of the triumphant smirk that graces these strangers’ lips when they make several people laugh, or the shared pointed glare at fellow colleagues when the boss is being ridiculous again? Consider, the way they close their eyes and take a deep breath as they hug someone they missed, or the swell of pride in their chests when they begin to understand a complicated lesson and answer a question right.

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Life Studies, Emilio Villalba

I think about how gorgeous these strangers must look when they’re happy. How heart-broken I would be to see them sad. I think about how these people care for others, how they have dreams, aspirations, how absolute strangers can become the closest companions after relating about something or other, how they develop relationships that last entire lifetimes, all by accident.

I watch, almost with a hint of regret, when my fellow transit passengers, strangers who I’ve got to know so intimately in my mind, get off at their stop. I never see them again.

I will never get to see these strangers again, happy, sad, angry, hopeful, triumphant. I will never know them beyond the picture I drew of them, framed neatly in my mind until they blur, like the landscapes whizzing past outside my train window.

I will never know these strangers so deeply. I have to remind myself that even though I have known some people this way, a lot of them have faded out nonetheless. A once golden tapestry now dusty in the basement of my memory. What’s the point? Even I am a stranger to myself. Though I should arguably know myself better than anyone, I haven’t witnessed these imagined moments on my own face either. That’s up to others to enjoy.

I usually sigh and return my gaze to an advertisement plastered above a fellow transit passenger’s head with a pensive, exhausted, or inscrutable expression.

Life looks so gorgeous on you, I think. I might have never seen it, but trust me.

I can imagine.

Jane Eyre

If strength means being unfeeling, I am weak.

Passionate. Emotions burst out of me unwarranted, words pour out of my mouth like a bazooka, and I? Tend? To invest myself in objects. Objects. The objects are made of muscle and sinew, a void missing the “chip” that “makes us human”. Are we ashamed to be human? is that the root issue? Do we wish to be the animals we document on TV, the unfeeling wolf who snatches at a baby doe without the sensitivity of a French savoir, without the delicacy of a marinated sauce simmered to perfection and drizzled over our amuse-bouche to disguise the baby animals we snatch as well?

 

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“‘British Birds: the King Fisher'” [Jane Eyre, 2011]
If strength means lacking human quality, I am weak.

Even a wolf has a family, a litter of doe-eyed pups looking to grow big and strong like their mama,to grow into “unfeeling” killing machines. Unfeeling? Please. I run barefoot and tear myself to shreds in the process, but I grow a thicker skin, I glow with hotter blood, I smile with a metal fuckin’ smile and I love it. I love it with all my intensity and without apology.

If strength means holding back, I am weak.

I cry over a sink a couple times a week and my eyes are puffy and pink, but hey, you know what else is puffy and pink? My hair. I laugh really loud and I talk a little shrill and I lose my mind with a kind of liberty I can never control, but hey, you know what else is loud and shrill and free? Songbirds.

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“I’m not in need of tea, thank you.” [Jane Eyre, 2011]
If strength means not caring, I am weak.

I sing with a broken voice and I fly with snapped wings, but I do it all anyway. I twirl and I twirl until I’m seeing stars and depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll either bump my head and cry a little, or start laughing really hard cause man, I can see my house from here! Space is wicked and I love it and I’m not even sorry.

If strength means keeping my head up, I am weak.

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“You would rather break my heart than break some human law?” [Jane Eyre, 2011]
I fall. I break. I lose hope. That happens, but don’t be fooled. It doesn’t scare me. Beyond rock bottom is hell and… I have a timeshare there. Eventually, the same passion that betrayed me and made me crash down like a meteor? It will lift me up again. I’ll lift me up again. Because without the capability to thirst for something better, without the emotions that chatter and tell me better, without the feelings that burst through my body and electrocute me in the heart to revive me for the better? I am a stone. I am a rock. I am an island. And those guys sure as hell don’t have the strength to get themselves out of a stagnant pace.

If I am weak, then fine. I am weak.

Because if that’s is what strength is supposed to be, I’d much rather be weak anyway.

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“Awaken then.” [Jane Eyre, 2011]

Sweet Daydreams & Bitter Reality

If I were truly extraordinary, where are the tornadoes taking me somewhere over the rainbow? Where are the alien invasions? Where are the flaming Chimaeras? The time travelling? The magical wands? The supreme lord of evil whom you have to defeat?

Those people on the street, avoiding everyone’s critical eyes, walking in speed-walk. They’re suspicious characters. I eeeever so want to be a suspicious character as well! I want to have a mind-blowing secret, one that changes my life forever, but not a realistic lie, but a weird, odd, eccentric, ludicrous tale that’s truly true! If only this could happen! If only I could be a wizard fresh from Hogwarts, keeping my head down and avoiding any run-ins with death eaters at twilight, roaming the cobbled streets of London, or a half-blood on a quest in California, making small miracles of nature and avoiding fire-breathing sows.

IF ONLY.

The words that rule my life. The rules that swallow me whole. The realistic world mocking my dream that will never come true, even though I ever so want it to happen.

A summer night’s dread, I would call it. Summer night, oozy and drunk with the longing to sleep, collapsing on my bed of soft blankets and fluffy pillows, closing my eyes, and entering my dream world. I slay dragons. I conjure magic. I meet my favourite mythological heroes and made up creatures. I prowl the forest of eyes, fly in the sun-setting sky, and escape evil with nothing more than a few scratches.

Then, alas, I wake, shivering, forgetting, the dream already rapidly oozing from my head and getting lost into the world of nothing and everything. I dread this. I dread also, knowing it can never happen.

BUT I BELIEVE IT DOES. A sentimental pep talk would say in your heart, but it is truly INSIDE MY MIND, layered with millions, if not gazillions of thoughts at the same time…

It’s why I read. I sometimes believe that if I read enough I could be swallowed into the books. Be part of them, literally. This, in my heart, and mind, I know is not going to work, but I do it anyway. I want to believe it to be true.

That’s why I am so weird, odd, eccentric, childish, and cliché. I am a live character looking for the right story.