• IdiotTheWise

Check The FACTS ...... II, revisited.




 

Rambling:

Straight into it then, I skipped the mediation bit as I was already mellow and it would have sent me to sleep! I have done this mindfulness practice before anyway and I use it still to a fashion, in my own way.

This week we discussed and looked at in some depth the life skills, the emotional skills needed to get facts right when in an emotionally challenging state of mind. As in triggered. The idea is to not get to that dreaded, hellish melt down point. Something I've not been good at. Very bad at in fact when unwell. I've been an awful human being. Broken amygdala's and things or not, it's had (has) to be addressed.

I wrote a huge long intro about this session and how it resonated with me. One big ahha moment in DBT speak, as the lesson turned out to be. But scrapped the ramble as it was boring and badly executed. But the point is this session was important the first time around and even more important on revisiting this session for the second time.

It highlighted for me, once again and it feels very close to the knuckle, just how ill I had become and in error I've been about so many things and how I've done people wrong, largely due to the fact that I had lost insight and lost touch. I really dropped some clangers.


The fact that those who were "responsible" and were meant to teach me these most basic of human social skills didn't and did the exact opposite, still really needles me and this session bought up some of that red hot messy anger despite the progress and leaps forward I have made in these areas over the last two years particularly. Some very specific anger that needs addressing deeper and more directly, soon, in some one to one DBT sessions. I'll make that happen. It's these session though that highlight this for me and point me in the right direction.

I'm angry but forgiving at the same time. it's very confusing. I am still but looking for those missing jig saw puzzle pieces in order to find peace. Not answers or people being "sorry" but things that I can't place on my own. Things inside of me. Some pennies are yet to drop.

Now, at the age of 40 something years old and having battled to get this far, I really want to find some peace and forgiveness and healing. Take actual adult accountability and responsibility. I was never taught how to be a "good" adult. I've been quite immature. I need to implement some adult changes and practice more damage limitation in my life. For myself and for others who I come I to contact with in my life. If I can squeeze another 30 years out of this life (being optimistic) that seems to go far to fast and be happier and not be the cunt I can potentially be to other people, then I will die content with that. That's all I need.

I owe this to people and I owe it to myself. Morally, if nothing else.


Anyway, these are just some thoughts.




Into the session then.....







We did the conveyor belt mindfulness exercise thing, well, they did, i didn't. However I listened in and it's a exercise that helps us to practice the correct observation of thoughts and the art of identifying the correct corresponding emotion. It's all about identification of thoughts, feelings (including physical) and assigning them to the correct corresponding emotion. 


This particular exercise isn't for me at the moment. Another one is though that does the same thing.

To the well emotionally rounded and adapted people out there (the lucky ones) this all seems a bit silly looking in from the outside but I can tell them that these exercises are essential practices and really are a gateway to mindful thinking. So ignore the dickheads who sneer at this stuff. I've come across one or two lately and they really are very blinkered. This is good stuff.


To the likes of me, sometimes with a head full of war and unwanted noise, having these skills taught to me in order to quieten the internal hellish din is almost quite literally a life saver. I wish someone had pointed me this direction 20 years ago or more.

These skill practices and mindfulness sessions are a god (there are 500 Gods or more, take your pick) send. I kid you not. 

I'll be practising these mindfulness skills more and more as I move forward.

It's all about the rewiring. These skills are all about rewiring the neural pathways, literally. Really quite amazing.  






Anyway .....



The next bit of the session was as relatable and poignant as ever and on point. Always hits those nerves. Stings a bit.



Discussions:

(and slides other notes 'n' stuff)




Note to self: I need to get this book Debbie spoke about ⬆⬆ 🛑


We spoke about ......


Trauma

How trauma creates negative patterns of thinking and forming patterns of unhealthy emotional and physical responses, otherwise know as schemas. Theses schemas present themselves in our triggers and that's where the shit show begins, right after a trigger. The skewed thoughts. The manifestations and horrid sometimes damn right abusive to others, kick offs, verbal and physical and sometimes very violent, all of which I am guilty of. Trauma is the root of these horrid traits. Trauma damaged my neural network. That IS a medically confirmed fact. Not an excuse.




Thoughts vs Facts. 







Why Check The Facts?



Check the Facts is a DBT skill that helps you change your emotional response and make healthier decisions as a result. ... Check the Facts encourages you to think before you react on your emotions. It allows you to step back, assess the situation, and determine if what you're feeling is appropriate given the context.



Check the facts.


It is quite literally what the name is, checking the facts is taking the time to check the facts of the situation you are trying to digest and/or cope with. This can come in handy especially if you struggle with those mind-reading traits. People with BPD tend to focus on one fact of a situation and throw out all the others, this is because of our tendency to make everything into a black or white situation. By taking the time to check the facts we can learn the entirety of the situation without making rash decisions or harsh judgements and kicking off and its all going to shit. We want to avoid this. I want to avoid this.

Our need to discern between perceived emotional "fact" ( which quite often are not facts at all, they are just feelings) and actual stone cold hard real fact, reality is at the core of DBT and what we need to get better at, good at.



Reactions




Our reactions to emotionally stressful situations colour our life. I has mine and I feel ashamed.


If we react appropriately our lives will be far less dark and bleak and far more colourful and hopeful. We can reduce suffering in our lives by choosing the right type of pain to cope with to a large degree.


Right type of pain you say?

A simple distinction between clean pain and dirty pain.


Clean pain is pain caused by circumstances or events. Life. This type of pain can be very powerful and exquisitely painful but more often than not there will be a silver lining when you come out the other end. Growth. Opportunity. Etc.


Dirty pain is pain brought on by our stuck minds, over thinking, by our thoughts that surround, distort, or disguise our clean pain. That’s where true suffering lies- where the desire to escape or prevent our feelings of pain rises up. resistance to pain only causes horrid dirty soul destroying pain with no silver lings, or rarely at least. My head and heart know all about this.



Pain and resistance = suffering 





Reacting to inaccurate skewed thought patterns and the accompanying physical manifestations keep you stuck in loop of pain, triggers, bad interpretations and well, just, suffering. The loop just perpetuates. Spirals. You get stuck in a rut I call hell. It reinforces it's self. The loop, the suffering, needs breaking and the work towards a healthier "clean pain" way of life can begin. Acceptance, in a nut shell.  

Those things are largely avoidable if situations are dealt with in wise mind, mindfully.  

Pain = ordinary pain. Less suffering.  

Critical acceptance = far less suffering 


#Wisemind. Zen mind. In the middle mind. 





Coloured Thinking or more like Black and White Thinking



People with BPD have a tendency to think in extremes, a phenomenon called "dichotomous" or “black-or-white” thinking. People with BPD often struggle to see the complexity in people and situations and are unable to recognise that things are often not either perfect or horrible, but are something in between.







The 6 Steps:



Slide screenshots from the session as we discussed the six steps in fact checking as covered above up there somewhere and more down below somewhere too ⬆⬇ :
























www.themighty.com says:


The pattern of black-or-white thinking is quite common in those with Borderline Personality Disorder. Things tend to be "all or nothing", "black or white", "all good, or all bad." This way of viewing the world can create a lot of emotional suffering and is particularly devastating in relationships. Other people are seen as either "all good" meaning they are perfectly loving and available to meet their needs at all times, or they are "all bad" meaning they are malicious and hateful, with no shades of grey in between. Sometimes, their view of another person can shift in just a few seconds from "that person is completely wonderful" to "that person is horrible." Take the example of a woman thinking that her partner is the most caring and loving person in the world. Of course, no one can achieve such a perfect ideal all the time so when her partner does one unloving or thoughtless act, such as forgetting their anniversary, the immediate conclusion becomes "He doesn't love me. He is so mean and horrible." Sometimes, it doesn't stop there, because "If he doesn't love me, he must hate me." It is easy to understand that this pattern of interpreting relationships creates great distress and will provoke an intense emotional reaction in people who think like this. Subsequently, their partners may be quite baffled and distressed by these extreme ways of thinking.  In such cases, conflict is likely to be frequent.


It is important to note that even healthy, well-adjusted people without a personality disorder can also occasionally fall prey to some of the distorted thinking that we just described as characteristic of personality disorders. In fact, distorted thinking is quite common when people are feeling very distressed, depressed, or anxious. Again, recall that personality disorders are a variant form of normal, healthy personality so the difference is in the frequency, degree, and persistence of the distortion. For people with personality disorders the degree of their distortion is more extreme and occurs with greater frequency than for those people without a personality disorder. Additionally, people with personality disorders find it much more difficult to become aware of, and to challenge their distorted thinking.






So....... some more ramblings:

Some things can colour the way we might be thinking and feeling in the moment can be everyday things like lack of sleep which I know all about - horrid insomnia, poor diet, head aches, tooth ache - which I have right now which is fun, and all the other things life throws up, just bad day shit in general. We need to check in with those things to keep mindful of our potential skewed thinking, our black and white thinking. Check the facts and note them mentally or even literally on paper. Note those things down to help to really be mindful of them and it will help change your perception for the better, a bit or even a lot. It all counts. Every real fact counts!  


Check in, be mindful.


I am okay with these skills until my mental health takes a tumble. When it does, my reality skews and then fact checking is really essential.


I'm a horrible cunt when I get reality wrong. Really grim. Abusive when in a hellish melt down. I never want to go into that head space again unprepared, leaving my behaviour unchecked.


Automatic thoughts and judgements

Fact check! Be mindful of jumping the gun, making rash and harsh judgements. Be mindful of those destructive patterns of thought and automatic negative thoughts and feelings.


Challenge them with stone cold light of day fact checking skills! Keep checking your self. Keep on top of this, keep practising, fill in sheets, make notes, ask close friends. family, whatever, to gently remind you about the importance of fact checking when things are coming of the tracks a bit before you reach the more emotional zones. I have reminders and post it notes and regular sheets to fill out and check in on my thoughts and conflicts set up now. Since my first visit to this session way back when I have really put a lot of work in to putting a system into place. I'm on this.





Here are some meme because memes are good:













Feeling worthless

Challenge those intruding automatic thoughts with facts. It's all the same mantra. Check the facts. Stop and consciously fact check, clinically.


The whole self perception picture can change with practice and factual positive reinforcement and affirmation.  


And remember, when we do fuck up, it happens. It is what it is. No one is perfect. Shit happens.  


Fact check! Avoid the over reactions and catastrophising and kick offs by CHECKING THE FACTS using DBT skills. The STOP skills. Slow down, fact check.




This second visit to this fact checking session has been a super useful reminder and skills refresher and my session discussion ramblings and research above really help me to be mindful in challenging my maladaptive coping skills (being less fucked up).


Pennies continue to drop. Bits of the jig saw keep coming together.





And to realise that I am not in this battle alone, that goes along way. It's lonely condition but having people who "get it" on the DBT_path course, even the more hideous behaviours, and having empathic support to change, is amazing.




Some more about ........

(really ramming this down your (my) throats because its so vital)



6 steps in fact checking:

  • What is the emotion I want to change?


  • What is the event prompting my emotion?


  • What are my interpretations and assumptions about the event? Do they fit the facts?


  • Am I assuming a threat? Will it actually occur?


  • What's the disaster? How can I cope well with it?


  • Does my emotion and/or its intensity fit the facts?



We then went on to further discuss checking the FACTS in even more depth and how to actually get those skills nailed down and nailed down the best we can when in moments of emotional distress.


We discussed some exercises to assist us in learning what needs to be fact checked and how to mindfully check for those facts and keep skewed "emotional mind" out of it as much as possible and when to do it.


I made notes that I posted up in first blog entry on this session, first time 'round, way back when but I have deleted them as they made cringe. I was over sharing. They are now on my private DBT_path blog thing. Oversharing is another thing I am learning not do. Not before checking the facts! My notes were quite angry. Triggered. So, case in point right there.


I'm also learning that don't need to be pleasant to people out and about, on the streets, I don't need to be liked or popular. I'm learning this. But that's another thing.


Um......

I'm waffling, again.


So... where was I? Dunno 🤷‍♂️







Worksheet example stuff:




DBT Worksheet:

Emotion Regulation Worksheet 5 – How to Check the Facts

(I’ll do my best to give as close a guideline to the Worksheet as possible.)








Name the Emotion

What emotion are you looking to change or problem solve?


What happened that brought up the emotion?

Describe the situation that brought up the emotion. What is it about the situation that troubles you?


Stop…and Check the Facts

Here’s the first point where you’re going to check the facts. When describing the situation are there any interpretations, assumptions, or judgements in the description? Are you using the words ‘always’ or ‘never’?

Rewrite the description without the extremes and just the facts.


If there are any interpretations and assumptions, what are they?


Stop…and Check the Facts

Is it there are other interpretations to the situation?

Rewrite your interpretation again with the facts that there could be other reason or interpretations of the situation.

Are there any threats concerning you regarding the outcome of this situation?


Stop…and Check the Facts.


Is it possible there could be other outcomes to this situation? Do you have certain expectations to the outcome?

Rewrite the other probable outcomes to the situation.

Are your expectations realistic?


What is the worst case scenario you can think of?

Stop…and Check the Facts.


Describe your worst case scenario for this situation, and what can you do to prepare for this.

Finally, go over all the facts, and check, does the emotion fit the situation? Does the intensity?

Whatever the situation and emotion, you can stop and check the facts as often as you need to.


Stripping away the assumptions, interpretations, and expectations, and working with just the facts allows the emotion to be stripped of all the additional baggage to manage the situation and the emotion more effectively.


Stop…and Check the Facts


Here’s the first point where you’re going to check the facts.