Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.”Last week in DBT we were asked to go through a worksheet full of emotion myths and to write down ways of challenging them. The worksheet also had some answers in case one got stuck. I did not do all of the myths but just the ones that really resonated with me. I thought I would share my own challenges and the included challenges that really moved me.
― T.K. Coleman,
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Sunday, May 15, 2016
I am the only Guinea pig I have. ~ R. Buckminster FullerHere is my latest roundup of Facebook writings: Periodically, I try getting off my meds and always get back on and at this point, that's actually good, I think. I'm very self-aware and am determined to never be hospitalized again. So as long as I am self-aware, why not give it a try? I'm back on my meds, mainly for my depression, pain and anxiety. I've finally found a good combination for me and I do think I will always be on my antidepressant, as I use it for physical symptoms, as much as mental. I would like to be off my antipsychotic one day, the whole cost being higher than my rent being enough of a reason on its own, I think. (Don't worry too much, I am able to get free samples from my doc, but still, the knowledge hurts my heart and soul.}. But as it also helps with anxiety, that might not happen. (I got disability for my schizo affective disorder but we all know my main issue is anxiety. I mean, really.}. I'm tired of the stigma against and for medications. I'm tired of people not knowing that psych meds, including antipsychotics are used for many uses, including chronic pain, IBS, and many other less stigmatized things. (I'm actually going to up my antidepressant to help with those two things! Keep your fingers crossed.}. So hey! Less meds over the long haul I think should be the goal but even better there should be less pushing by other people for more or less medications. No one knows what works best for a person than the person taking them and every person is different.
Friday, May 13, 2016
He has shown you, O [wo]man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8When I give a tour of the place where I work, I tell people that every staff has taken a training called Intentional Peer Support. So now we are actually having the training. It had been a while since the last time. I'm really enjoying it. Sometimes the videos we watch or the topics we talk about are a little intense but in the end, the premise is simple - to learn how to better intentionally support our peers. I thought I would share my notes, just like I did for the DBT class. This is the first week out of two. (Unfortunately, I lost my notes from the first night of training. I am heartbroken.]
- Remember LOVE - Listen, Ask Open Ended Questions, Validate, Empathize
- Listen from a position of not knowing - Approach each call as if it is the first time speaking with the caller.
- It's not about our perception - It's about their reality.
- Listen for the person's own worldview - to each person, what they are saying makes sense.
- Don't ask "why" but think of Grease: "Tell me more..."
- Find comfort in the discomfort - it is not our job to fill up space or to entertain.
- Have no agenda - Our job is not to fix people but to walk with them in their journey.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Return to the Lord your God, for [S]he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and [S]he relents from doing harm. Joel 2:13I've returned to taking dialectical behavioral therapy class - I guess you could say that it's one of the ways I return to God. I mean, it is the way that I stop living in chaos and trying to be perfect. It is the way that most helps me reach my goals and feel successful. I like feeling that way and I was still struggling with too much intense anxiety, even though I had made some changes.
Yesterday I started the class and I love the new, to me, teacher. I love the feeling of validation that pervades the room and how she will not let us focus on what we did wrong, but on the progress, however small, we have made. In my experience, people who are validated in what they do well will feel stronger and more capable and empowered. As we say where I work, focus on what's strong, not what's wrong.
I took notes as the facilitater was talking and I had many a-ha moments and I am sure I will have them during the other classes, so I have decided to share my notes after each session. I really think it is great how I learn something new each time I take the course. Each time adds another layer of depth and meaning to the way I approach life.
DBT has four themes: mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. Yesterday was the first day of learning about emotion regulation, which was exactly what I wanted!
Emotion Regulation: Week 1
- Regulating our emotions is a learned skill that we are normally not taught growing up.
- Emotions are data points, bits of information, that tell us things we need to know.
- All emotions are a request for action, either to keep going or to change.
- Emotions are a messenger that knocks at our door. We might not want to obey the messenger, but we do want to listen.
- There is a difference between one's affect, or current emotion, and one's mood, which is one's general theme of emotions over an extended period of time. It can be good to look at what emotional theme is playing most often in one's general background. Do you want that theme to continue or change?
- There is more than one right way to see things. Emotions are not right or wrong; they just are.
- You can have a perception without judgement. You cannot have a judgement without a perception. The more nonjudgemental a person can be, the better. Judgements can fuck us up. (That last sentence is all me.}
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The Lord God is my strength; [S]he will make my feet like deer's feet, and [S]he will make me walk on my high hills. Do not fear, Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; [S]he will rejoice over you with gladness, [S]he will quiet you with His[Her] love. [S]he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:18Hooray! I really am beginning finally to feeling like my old, good self again. Today, my mom helped me clean and I signed for DBT again. It's always helped with anxiety before, so I know that it will help this time too. I am ridiculously excited-I feel like I am taking back my life. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott was the book my feminist book club read a few months ago and it was great! It was also a bit too long and could have really used some editing. It is the telling of four women's lives as spies during the civil war, two for the South and two for the North. I wish that she hadn't jumped around from woman to woman-it made it hard to remember who was who. However, the book was utterly fascinating!
rebels slashed throats from ear to ear. They sliced off heads and dropkicked them across the field. They carved off noses and ears and testicles and kept them as souvenirs. They propped the limp bodies of wounded soldiers against trees and practiced aiming for the heart. They wrested muskets and swords from the clenched hands of corpses. They plunged bayonets deep into the backsides of the maimed and the dead. They burned the bodies, collecting “Yankee shin-bones” to whittle into drumsticks, and skulls to use as steins. (One arithmetic book posed the problem: “If one Confederate soldier kills 90 Yankees, how many Yankees can 10 Confederate soldiers kill?”)2. It made me understand that the civil war really WAS about slavery. The Southern states wanted to keep their slaves. Say all you want about preserving heritage or being against big government but just remember that that heritage and that desire was to keep people as property. Saying that is not good would be the understatement of the year. (Nowadays, unfortunately, Republicans seem to think that women are property as they try to control our bodies and make it clear that all we are to them are baby-making machines.)
In Maryland, the Lincoln ticket received less than 3 percent of votes cast; in Virginia, barely 1 percent. Nearly every member of the Confederate government had once been a Federal official and, as such, possessed intimate knowledge of government operations. Jefferson Davis himself had served as secretary of war4. It broke the stereotype of the damsel in distress and that women long ago were all just helpless, boring creatures:
Young girls carried daggers and pistols in their crochet purses and fired at marks in the street.5. It made me see that many more women were soldiers and spies than I had originally thought. Even more so than today, women were underestimated-they were able to use that to their advantage and get access to places not granted to men:
For now, at least, her social position and gender served as her most convincing disguise. No one would believe that a frail, pampered spinster was capable of plotting treasonous acts, let alone carrying them out right under the government’s nose. pondered how to contend with female traitors, a situation that had seemed unthinkable before the war began. War, like politics, was men’s work, and women were supposed to be among its victims, not its perpetrators. Women’s loyalty was expected, and even considered a defining characteristic of femininity itself, but now there was a question—one that would persist throughout the war—of what to do with what one Lincoln official called “fashionable women spies.” Their gender provided them with both a psychological and a physical disguise; while hiding behind social mores about women’s proper roles, they could hide evidence of their treason on their very person, tucked beneath hoop skirts or tied up in their hair. Women, it seemed, were capable not only of significant acts of treason, but of executing them more deftly than men.6. It affirmed that women have always led exciting and interesting, fascinating lives. Maybe not all of them, BUT not every woman was waiting around for a husband, even in the 1860s. My two favorite characters were Emma, a young woman who joined the army dressed as a man, so that she would not have to marry. (BTW, there were over 400 women in the civil war posing as men!) :
“In our family the women were not sheltered but enslaved,” she wrote. “If occasionally I met [a man] who seemed a little better than others, I set him down in my mind as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and probably less worthy of trust than the rest.” After Emma turned fifteen, her father announced she would marry next, promising her to a lecherous neighbor, a farmer dozens of years her senior. When the time came she would invert Fanny’s plan, becoming a man in order to avoid one.And Mary Jane, a slave with an eidetic memory who spied on Jefferon Davis:
No one, not even sister-in-law Mary, knew that Mary Jane was highly educated and gifted with an eidetic memory, capable of memorizing images in a glance and recalling entire conversations word for word.7. It made me proud to be a woman, for traditional femininity can equal strength and resourcefulness, as women would hide letters in their hair or dresses. They would sew morse code into blankets:
She devised a system of communicating by needlework, knitting tapestries in specific patterns based on the Morse code, a precise vocabulary of stitches and colors.
Monday, May 2, 2016
I offer the radical nature of honesty and the intense humanity that is found in seeking truth freely apart from the authoritative pronouncements of yesterday. (spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, 21)I won't be able to attend children's mental health day at the Atlanta Capitol but as its for a good cause, I thought I would let y'all know about it. Host: Rheba Smith 404-758-4500 Thursday, May 5 9am-12:30pm The GA Freight Depot (65 Martin Luther King Dr. NW, Atlanta 30303)
MESSAGE FROM HOST
Join Georgia Parent Support Network, Inc. as we bring the community together to raise awareness about children's mental health. This is a free event, but we ask that you please register to ensure we have enough seating. Also, don't forget to live tweet Finding Help, Finding Hope using #FHx2
- Registration & Breakfast at The Freight Depot.
- Cast your vote, in the Blue Room, for the winner of theFinding Help, Finding Hope art and poetry contest. Remember to tweet # FHx2
- Walk to the Capitol for presentation in the south wing
- Peers from Georgia Parent Support Network, Inc. Welcome
- Frank Berry, Commissioner, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Master of Ceremony
- Dante McKay, Director, office of Children, Young Adults & Families
- Return to The Freight Depot
- Last chance to cast your vote for Finding Help, Finding Hope art and poetry contest. #FHx2
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
- Brief Overview by Erica Fenner Sitkoff, Ph.D. Policy Director, Voices for Georgia's Children
- "By the Numbers" Presentation by Garry W. McGiboney, Ph.D. Assistant Superintendent, Georgia Department of Education
Sunday, April 17, 2016
The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and [S]he will make me walk on my high hills. Do not fear, Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; [S]he will rejoice over you with gladness, [S]he will quiet you with His[Her] love. [S]he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:18Facebook Collected Writings: Responding to a friend who read an article that said talking about illness online is "attention-seeking." Just ugh Articles like those are ableist. Sometimes illnesses really do need attention. Problems don't go away if we stop talking about them. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Those articles just reenforce the status quo. And the status quo is only good if you're a healthy white rich educated straight cisgender Christian male and then it's still an illusion. :) Debbie Corso is a blogger I enjoy and she shares her story that after being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, she took DBT and was able to have her diagnosis removed. Knowing that she did that inspired me to give it a try and within two years, I didn't qualify anymore either. I used to think about suicide every day for 20 years but then I finally got tired of hospitals and I really started looking at if I could change my thinking. (That, along with a good therapist, the right med, and support but it all started with me being willing to examine myself.). I don't think about suicide on a daily basis anymore. What I have noticed is that change always happens - life is change but often times it is a slow slow process instead of the instant gratification that we long for. Looking for the little ways that my life has begun to change has been really helpful.