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”

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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”

Fixing Yourself: A Brief Look At My Mission For Self-Improvement #WorkForHappy

I have an incredibly flawed personality. The first sign was probably around the time I got diagnosed with an actual personality disorder – unspecified – after my behavior led to a pretty self-destructive, “self-prescribed” binge behaviour. Honestly? I never actually considered it problematic for a long time.

Clearly, it was everyone else with the problem. Tsk, tsk.

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Artwork by Christian Russo

The problem with having a diagnosis that’s “unspecified”, especially when it concerns something as intangible as personality, is that the solution to your problem is also unspecified. At that point, all the doctors could prescribe me was a harsh slap to the face when it came to my true reality.

Now it’s like every move I make, I scrutinize. When I’m an asshole, I usually know it. A little bit of denial doesn’t hurt, until that becomes a flaw as well.

Do other people think like this? I’ll probably never know, but the scrutiny I have adopted has become both a blessing and a curse. I’m able to look at myself objectively and understand that whatever behavior I’m choosing is not appropriate. It’s like a super power, because I now understand mine and other people’s motivations and reasoning with everything they do. I get it now, when someone is an asshole. I do. Because I can do it too, sometimes.

But with great power comes great responsibility, or something like that.

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“Infinite Introspection”, by Francisca Borzea

I recognize my behavior, but do I actually do anything about it? Well… I’m trying. It took me years to figure out that I was wrong, and another year to come to terms with the mistakes I had made in the process. Do I regret these mistakes? Of course. But would I change it? Not at all. I am the person I am today because of what I have struggled with.

That being said, I’ve been trying to actually prevent such things happening ever again, but that takes a little more work than just some introspection. I have to actually change my habits, my mood, and, well, my personality. I’ve had to heal those wounds, and now I have to take actions so that I don’t inflict them on myself or others ever again.

What do I have on the agenda to actually fix about myself? There are the common pitfalls, like procrastination, lack of sensitivity, and impatience. Then there are the big ones, like bad attitude, lack of responsibility/motivation, dependence on others, and over-thinking. At this point, all I can really do is acknowledge what I’m doing wrong, be aware of problematic behavior, and seek to replace it with healthier moves by developing better, healthier habits. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but… I have the privilege of being surrounded by people who care enough to call me out on my bullshit when I miss it.

Go and love someone exactly as they are. Then watch how they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered. —Wes Angelozzi

The people around me… man oh man. I’m lucky, so incredibly lucky, to have such a strong network of people who care about me deeply enough to not only forgive me when I mess up, but support me in my journey to become a better person. I’m just so grateful that I now have the foresight of actually understanding the magnitude of how lucky I am. Privilege can be a lot of different things for different people, but for me, true privilege is having the support of people around you.

Like I said, this process is a blessing and a curse. You can feel hopeless sometimes, like you’re gonna be stuck being a bad person forever and that you’ll never be worthy of love – this is a common late-night thought that induces panic attacks for me – so I’ve learned to become aware of my good qualities too. I have a strong sense of maternal instinct. I am a compassionate person. I’m smart enough to succeed, when I put my mind to it. I can write, draw, sing, laugh. I even make other people smile, from time to time. I love others, and they love me. I repeat that last bit like its a mantra whenever my mood dips below the dark surface.

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Artwork by Mari Toh

Do I deserve love? That’s something I still grapple with, and honestly, it’s probably the main question that drives my mission for self-improvement. For a long time, I didn’t think I deserved the love I got from others, and that was because deep down, I knew that I was a fuck up.

But now, I want to deserve it.

I have an incredibly flawed personality. But flaws make the human, and the human can only work hard to rectify those flaws. And this is me doing that.

This is me. I’m the one with the problem.

And… I’m fixing it.