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

#WorkForHappy

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”

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

#WorkForHappy

  • 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”

New Year, New Chance

#WorkForHappy

Resolutions are not just for the new year. I know that because my resolutions started in the middle of fall 2017. Rather than fireworks, I started this fresh new chapter of my life in the aftermath of a breakdown that had repeated itself countless times before. I can’t say a breakdown isn’t comparable to fireworks in inventing a new me with a bang though, except this one involved less pretty colors and much more nasal congestion afterwards.

Artwork by Elliana Esquivel

I resolved to be a better person. It’s a huge ask, but I think I’m on track. Whatever ailments of the mental kind that dogged me constantly before became a minimal concern. I weaned off medication eventually, invigorated with a new outlook on life – I would work hard and develop my mental immunity. Sure, I still catch the occasional bout of anxiety or feel the virus of depression seep back into my veins every now and then, especially when I overwork or feel overwhelmed, but it’s just that: a cold. A sick day. I am back on my feet in no time and feel better than ever. At the end of the day, I am much stronger and cognizant of my mental health.

I count myself lucky. I want to tell you something I wish someone told me when I was in that dark place. Continue reading “New Year, New Chance”

Eyes Open #WorkForHappy

(Or Alternatively, “Turning Twenty And Realizing My Eyes Have Been Shut The Whole Time: A Brief Birthday Reflection”)

Ascending into the two-decade old plane of existence was almost anti-climactic, but to be fair, it had to close a rather turbulent turn of the globe. Since last year, August 31, 2017, I have taken four total double 10+ hour bus rides, snared a dream role at a start-up publication, and even started dating a rather dashing lad who has an affinity for calling me a water buffalo in his free time.

At the same time I have screamed, panicked, had a handful of crises (less in comparison, though), was ghosted, and learned what it’s like to be between jobs about… five times. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the Mercury retrograde – I don’t even believe in that stuff and I still felt it in my bones that something was off in the heavens when I couldn’t even sip tea without burning my tongue.

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Artwork by Tanya Shatseva

I survived 20 years of life. That’s cause for celebration, even if the sky doesn’t glow for me. The main difference between this year and the year before that is probably just how much I have matured.

Once I turned 20, I was faced with a very real responsibility – growing the fuck up. Being 19 was the last time I could plead being a teenager.

Do I miss this trump card? I thought I would. Do I still reach for it as if it’s still in my pocket? You bet your ass, I do.

The earth didn’t exactly pause in its orbit the moment I was born one humid Monday night in a Lester hospital, and it didn’t twenty years later either. The occasion was marked poignantly by my mother, who not only was celebrating my birthday, but the moment she officially became a mother. Every milestone and accomplishment in my life belongs, in part, to her as well.

My eyes were closed for my teenage years, and my mother had to remind me again that my eyes are hers, and she will not let me screw them shut any longer. I opened my eyes, witnessed everything I chose to ignore about myself, and realized that there’s a marked difference between walking through the dark, and walking with your eyes determinedly shut.

“You are my eyes, and I want you to see the world for me.” My mother never misses an opportunity to tell me this. Any moment I have self-doubt, or feel like a failure, I am reminded to open my eyes for her.

…there’s a marked difference between walking through the dark, and walking with your eyes determinedly shut. [Click to tweet!]

I have survived twenty years of existence, and now I am now en route of my twenty-first, I have decided not only to survive, but thrive. This sounds a bit tired, since everyone has a bit of a resolution when they get older, usually more and more sombre with every passing year.

My resolution, however, isn’t just to sit down and grow up – I want to grow. Perhaps now I am resourceful enough to actually push myself to do so, now, with eyes wide open.