Class 12. Distress Tolerance. STOP skills. Notes and thoughts etc.
This week's Monday sesh on STOP skills useful.
The initial conversation about finding tools to utilise when in or entering a fraught situation that has or may trigger a dreaded borderline episode was or is familiar territory. Tools like:
Visual cues, signs and propmts.
Literal signs with stop written on it.
Sign language prompts such as the time out gesture.
Frozen state of being. Complete stop. Just literally freeze in the moment. Freeze when provoked, stop, stay still, stay there, still. Pick up any conversation or debate later or the next day when calm and level.
The obvious go to but very important skill is to breath slowly, deeply, mindfully and correctly in meditational terms. Vital. Go to. Works.
TIPP skill; the cold water and ice trick. Cold water and ice to the face and wrists helps shock you out of a meltdown moment on physical as well as mental level. The physical shock changes your physical chemistry and helps to apply the breaks pretty hard and therefore helps one to slow down, stop and think forward in an emergency. Have ice ready in freezer! This works. Cage the rage!
Imagery, mindful meditative go to imagery. This will need some practice and building on. But a go to imagery state of being, ready, available, is a good call.
It's all about stopping in our tracks, freezing before boiling over and surfing the urge to kick off and letting the wave ride and die out, without actually kicking off, if that makes, sense! Does to me.
All of the tools above discussed in details were very useful to cover and gave me a better in depth understanding of how to implement these tools with loved ones involved and everyonr understanding of the need for such techniques and all on the same songsheet and how not to abuse these tools.
These tools are much like tools one may use in autism care environments. Indeed these techniques are all aimed at bringing the brain out of intense amygdala activity as quick as possible. The brain chemistry broken bits are the same, almost.
It's all about broken brains!
Discussing these tools and techniques and how and why they work in demanding situation us EUPD brain damaged bunch (and that's no joke) can not handle has been pivitol in understanding some of my own past (and current) disterous, maladaptive, destructive, fucking hell inducing behaviours and quite frankly abusive wrongs I have inflicted on others, especially the German. This fills me with shame. But I have to move forward. I can't fix that one. Of course though, all of those insane fucking mad hellish behaviours and feelings and all of the rest of it were in me, with me, eating me up and put me in a hell prison inside my head that was never ever my fault. Cunts did this to me. Cunts. Abusive cunts nurtured this beast inside.
Having a greater understanding of the prevention tools to such horrid traits has really really shed light on why I was what I was like and try not be at all costs now.
I now know also, that I was desperately trying my absolute best not to be the horrible abusive shit bag I was and potentially can be.
I was asking for help to STOP and slow down. I asked for things (techniques) to be put into place to help me escape my madness and not just for me but for the German too. I felt so guilty all the time. But she became an enemy. She wouldn't or couldn't help. Now I'm getting it. Now I'm seeing it from her side of the fence. In short, she was right to leave me. Just not how she did it. Lots of issues to work on there yet!
This lesson has tapped deep into those things. I'm learning then!
I digress. I needed too. Anyway ....
So, yep, once we have the stopping bit down, the next phase needs to happen.
Time and Space.
I'll get more concise now. With time and space we have the opportunity to:
Choose our next step in wise mind.
Step back in our minds, in our thoughts and feelings and detach, defuse. Step back!
Take back some energy and power. Pull back. Recover.
Take time to surf the urge. Let the wave die down and peter out before reacting. Don't be reactionary.
Observe the situation. Not everything needs to be resolved right away. Some things, some aspects can wait. Is it really urgent anyway? Step back. Take time.
Wait for a calm wisemind state of thinking and emotion before continuing with the subject. Get it all in perspective first. Wait. Then go ahead.
Remember, what is hysterical is historical. Hysterical behaviours are learned maladaptive ill behaviours. Challenge those hysterical behaviours by taking time instead of going bananas!
Again, all of the above, as obvious as they seem to anyone who is well adjusted in life, has been really useful to have discussed, explained and put into DBT shape and perspective.
I'll be practicing and building on these key skills.
Observe. After stepping back, it's time to observe, take note. Data collection time!
Notice what's going on around you. Observe. Really look and listen. Take note.
Check out your environment.
What's going on inside? Internal senses, emotions. Be mindful of how you feel. Accept it. Note the emotion.
What thought patterns do you recognise or spot going on in your mind? Note it.
Bring in the wise mind. Welcome it in. Tap into some calm wise mind head space.
Evaluate. Take note.
It's a good comparison to use the word Zen I think without sounding cliché or twattish when considering the above.
Stepping back and observing and evaluating is a Zen state of wisemind. This is not smug or special or elite or hippy or any other labels some people might attach to Zen models of wisemind. It's just healthy. Wise. Logical. These are aspirations I hold dear to help how ever much time I have on this planet be happier and constructive. And Kinder. Goals. Life goals.
Proceed mindfully. Move forward not backwards and not stuck. Proceed without causing damage to people or things. Take back control:
What do I want, need, desire, goals?
What might make this situation worse or better?
What are the available sensible options?
Have I surfed the urge entirely?
Do I need to pacify until a latter point before debating any points I feel need to be debated? Is it better to pacify to keep the peace even if temporary until the dust settles?
Sometimes it's better to go to bed angry, not broken. Stop.
If only I had the help when I was begging for it. If only I had been mindful of this last point as well as all the rest way back when. If I had been, things would have been very different.
I know now though.
I'll come back to this tomorrow! I'm tired. Thursdays entry then. And another big one Friday. Busy week.
For now though until tomorrow ...
She did say.
I fucked it.
Now I get it.
Lesson 12 was all an eye opener!
(apart from therapy peeps, does anyone read this honest stuff? I cringe a bit. But it's honesty, put out there, to hold myself accountable).