DBT#2: I am a zen master

I approached the 2nd DBT sesh with an open mind after being pulled up on my shitty/wilful attitude by therapist Monica. I’m glad I did. I started learning stuff today.

We started as always with mindfulness. I liked this one as it was about sounds and that’s my thing (how I ground myself). Cool. Good start. Not for someone else though, for them it was triggering. I was impressed with the determination of the triggered person though. She was going to overcome it and I could see that she was a strong person. It struck me – everyone around that table had experienced trauma. Essentially every single one of us had been fucked over by someone and then, as a result, by life. Not fair.

Anyway after the mindfulness it was on to homework feedback. As a collective we shrivelled up. The homework feedback was mixed in success. It was certainly intense. Anger, embarrassment, confusion, anxiety, relief, confidence and probably more were all displayed by us. There were tears but they weren’t mine. I can’t say much more because I want to respect confidentiality. It became clear that some people were really committed to the process whereas others were yet to be convinced. Someone stormed out saying it was a waste of time. That was pretty intense too.

Despite the intensity and range of emotions shown all the talk of mindfulness practice was actually quite calming. I felt all zen. All this talk of meditation! In fact the facilitators use these little chimes to signal the start and end of each mindfulness exercise – ding!

We had a break and it was nice to escape the intensity. We sat chatting and started learning about one another. I began to feel a bit of camaraderie for my fellow group members. We are all so varied in age and from different walks of life but we all have this personality disorder and it ties us together. We all know the chronic emptiness, the distrust, the distress and the feeling of just not fitting in the world. Any time someone tells a little anecdote we can all relate – yes, I’ve been there too. It’s comforting. Yes we have something ‘wrong’ with us but we’re not alone. We’re the same (in that respect anyway).

We go back in and Sally leads with a session on the why skills of mindfulness:

  • Non-judgementally
  • One mindedness 
  • Effectiveness

Each point on its own doesn’t make much sense but they are expanded upon. I recognise myself. I know that these are negative behaviours I display. I’d like to be better but, just for a moment, I feel a little bit of doubt; isn’t this who I am? If I change this stuff about me will I still be me? No time to worry about that there’s more mindfulness to be done. This time we’re playing with pipe cleaners and it goes down well – ding! Yeah we’re definitely getting more comfortable doing this.

Then the homework is set – fill in diary card, work on and log examples of using the why skills. Ok. That doesn’t seem too bad. I feel more confident. I know these are things I need to work on and I can see how focusing on these skills will help. I leave feeling much more upbeat. In fact there had been some pretty funny stuff happen in the session and I wish I could share it!

But no, today was ok. Heck it was positively zen – ding! 


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