DBT#8: Boiling Point

I left it until the absolute last minute to leave for DBT today. I was an unpleasant mixture of completely flat with exhaustion and absolutely wired with anxiety. Cycled to DBT. It was freezing but I didn’t wear a coat to try and minimise the venlafaxine sweats. Didn’t work. I still stank of B.O. despite a liberal spraying of deodorant. Good times.

I was still shaking with anxiety when we went in. I felt like I wanted to puke and pass out. I’ve been feeling like this a lot recently but I can usually try and manage it with some kind of control over what I’m doing. Not so in a two and a half hour group therapy session. 

Normally we all sit in the same seats around a table but some people moved place just randomly. WTF?! Sally led us in the starting mindfulness exercise. I really thought I was going to pass out. I couldn’t close my eyes as I felt terror. Instead I stared at my mug of tea on the table. Everything looked weird – like a dream or something. In the feedback I said this. No one nodded in agreement. Errrr just me then? Sally checked I’d eaten, which I had. Ummm…ok that was embarrassing. So I mumbled about being fine in 5 minutes and withdrew into my pit of panic. I listened to the others feedback about their half-smiling, willing hands homework. I found myself feeling quite in awe of the others. Each has gargantuan struggles. They are so honest about how hard they find things. The box of tissues was passed back and forth. There were four individuals that I would dearly have loved to have gone over and comforted. Life is shit to people, it really is.

I refuse to feedback until I can avoid it no longer. I’m last. That’s good though as we’re over running so I can be quick. I say I tried it a lot. I found it fine although it’s a bit weird as it reminds me of the religious statues from growing up. Anyway…yeah…just me again.

Break!!!! I am out of the room before most people have even stood up. I jitter about. Make another tea. I talk to the others but I feel like I’m too much; like I’m belching words out without any control. Excuse me! Pardon me! I don’t say it though as I don’t want to bring attention to myself. I can tell I smell bad too. Ugh.

Back in and Amy the psychologist is doing a session on mindfulness of current thoughts. I engage as best I can. I’m genuinely interested in this stuff but there’s the de-tuned radio chorus in my head. I feel my palms get sweaty again. We watch a YouTube clip about how we are not our thoughts. It pokes and prods at my core belief that I am wrong, a blip. The video goes like this:

I have hands, but I am not my hands.

I am nothing I think.

I have legs, but I am not my legs.

I am nothing.

I have eyes, but I am not my eyes.

I am nothing.

Every time the narrator makes one these “I am not…” statements I think “I am nothing”. Even worse it stars the Shadow Man! Not the actual real-life guy of course but an animation. Fucking hell. I internally congratulated myself on not walking out. Anyway the point was that we are not our thoughts and thoughts are not facts. This confuses the life out of me so I decide to speak up – not to be difficult or wilful but because I want to understand.

Just because something is a thought does not make it untrue. Some thoughts are facts. (Amy has an ‘oh shit’ look on her face. I continue). So I have this core belief, these thoughts, and people keep trying to tell me that it’s not true; it’s just thoughts. The thing is though how do they know it’s not true? I’ve got evidence to back up my thought and I should know: I’m with me all the time but they’re not. They hardly know me at all. So this is an idea that I can’t get my head around because some thoughts are true. In fact, to be honest, I feel like it’s everyone else being wilful because they won’t consider that what I’m saying might be right. They should at least consider it. That’s all.

Amy’s face was flushed. She didn’t know what to say really so she breezed over it and moved on. See? They won’t even enter into a dialogue about not entertaining the idea! Wilful much?!

We did some more stuff about thoughts but it wasn’t working for me. When I visualised my thoughts removed from my head and placed on a leaf to float downstream the picture was of a bizarre floating horror show really. I didn’t admit that though. The things I had admitted in the session hadn’t been worth it.

When the session ended I darted out of the room again. I never knew I could move so fast! I went to wash my cup up. There is a boiler thing on the wall because the hot tap isn’t! I looked around. I was alone. I put some boiling water in my empty mug and then stuck my fingers in. Ouch! I was chicken though and didn’t commit. I dipped them in and out. Then I threw out the water and replaced it with more fresh boiling liquid. I quickly tipped this over the back of my hand. Fuck! That’s sore! Perfect. I washed the cup up and left. I couldn’t decide if I was pleased or ashamed at my behaviour. I could decide that I didn’t care so that is what I’m doing – not caring.

I cycled home in the freezing cold pouring rain. Tomorrow I have to go back and see Monica. No doubt I can look forward to having all my wrong thoughts and actions gone over. Oh joy. 

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