DBT is helpful for depression and anxiety (even non-BiPolar or BPD)

Bizzarebitrary

Bizzarebitrary

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
383
Location
California, US
#1
Hi all. I don't see DBT getting much love outside the BiPolar and BPD forum so I'm starting a conversation here.

DBT is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. "Dialectical" is sort of a Scrabble word and I want to demystify it. In this context it means that two things which are seemingly opposite can both be true or can be balanced. For example, I love my mother but I also hate my mother. I'll confide in you that's certainly true for me. Don't tell my mom. 🤫

There are four modules that comprise the program: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness. The program in it's entirety can take an astonishing 10-12 months to complete, with breaks between modules and holidays off.😱
I know! So help me, I know that's so impossibly long but you will receive a paper certificate at the end that may even be laminated, so there's that. Oh, and it teaches heaps of skills that are incredibly useful to people suffering from mental illness, in case that's relevant.

I'm not a mental health professional, I'm a mental health patient living with major depressive disorder (treatment resistant) and generalized anxiety disorder. Depression tells me I'm a piece of crap very nearly every day. Some days I'm a tragic mess but my symptoms are in remission for now.

I want to invite you to comment, question, criticize, complain or leave random, inscrutable emojis. 🐩

Yay for things,

Bizzarebitrary
 
Bizzarebitrary

Bizzarebitrary

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
383
Location
California, US
#4
Using emotion regulation skills to manage pressure during the holidays

Christmas and New Years are meant to be times of joyful celebration, happiness, togetherness and for many of us who struggle with mental illness they can deepen feelings like loneliness, grief and anxiety. When emotions are opposites yet true and exist at the same time - you've got a dialectic.

Let's tear open the box of DBT sweets, select a couple of tasty-looking skills to use and we'll run 'em up the flagpole and see who salutes them.

Coping Ahead
Perhaps you'll be alone for the holidays and are already dreading the incessant reminders everywhere you turn. It's times like these we need to take extra special care of ourselves so as not to fall back on problem behaviors.
Planning ahead can mean decorating your home for nobody but yourself, so feel completely free to be absurdly creative 🎈🎄🎏. It can mean preparing or purchasing a special meal and watching your favorite film. But it also can mean putting together a music playlist of heartrendingly sad songs and having an epic cry 😭(treat yourself to a box of the ultra soft tissues). It could mean lighting a candle, preparing a ritual, saying a prayer for a dear one sorely missed🧘*♀️⚰🐕. These examples are not intended to be either/or, the point is to allow ourselves to feel ALL our emotions without exclusion. Let no one tell you how you must feel.

What if you won't be alone for the holidays? Perhaps you're dreading the family supper table and sitting next to Aunt Gladys the Godzilla of insensitivity or enduring the kinds of conversations that trigger you. I'll confide that on one such occasion when I didn't plan ahead, a few coffee mugs, a serving platter and two plates paid the ultimate price when I went full-ogre 🤬. Pride does not follow the statement.😞
Taking a break from the pressure of a party or family gathering could mean excusing yourself for some alone time. It can mean stepping away from the throng, pulling out your phone to post/bang on about how you feel to the members of this very fine forum. Text or call a friend. Plan ahead by rewarding yourself later for your efforts.

Opposite Action
Overwhelming emotions often lead to actions we later regret. Use opposite action to skillfully deal with difficult emotions and the urges they generate. Super-easy example: the half-smile. 🙂 Use when you're experiencing an unsually strong negative emotion. This is not the rehearsed, fake-face smile you use for social media photos. Think Mona Lisa. The theory of the half-smile is based on the two-way relationship between facial muscles and the emotion center of the brain. Start your half-smile then begin un-tensing other muscles - your forehead, your shoulders (let them drop), open your hands. Slow your breathing and try to visualize something that calms you. This subtle skill can evoke a physiological response that reduces stress from intense emotions.

There are opposite action skills for very specific negative emotions. Let's pick sadness. The urges closely related to that emotion are withdrawal, isolate, avoidance and decreased activity. Instead, we'll try to do more activities to keep busy, leave our homes and attempt to socialize with others. Continue the opposite action until you notice a decrease in the intensity of the emotion. This skill works best if you commit fully to it in words, thoughts and actions.

If you'd like more examples of using opposite action, coping ahead or if you want to learn other emotion regulation skills, search the web or YouTube for DBT emotion regulation skills.

Whether your holiday season is happy, crappy, sappy or you plan to hide beneath your bed until it's over, may you have a bit of peace and rest and some relief from your symptoms.

- Bizzarebitrary
 
calypso

calypso

Well-known member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jan 5, 2011
Messages
40,172
Location
Lancashire
#5
I am diagnosed bipolar and did a whole course of DBT with one to one sessions and then group sessions every week. I find it absolutely brilliant and its helped me immensely over the yreas. I think it should be offered to all MH conditions personally including schizophrenia and other disorders which are commonly thought to not resond to talking therapies.