Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 3

#WorkForHappy

This is a series in which I talk about my experience with DBT. I am not naming any names or institutions that the therapy is associated with. I am not a professional in this field, this is all purely based on my experience and impressions. If you are interested in DBT or other therapies, please talk about it to a medical professional. 

I was not doing well at all.

In recent weeks I have been telling you guys about my experience going to DBT, as it happens, honest and raw (Find Part 1 and Part 2 here), and I’m not going to sugar coat anything. I feel terrible, I feel flat, and I feel depressed. Is that because of DBT? I don’t know, if I’m honest.

Actually, if I’m honest? I feel like I came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now.

Here’s Part 3, week 4. Continue reading

How Having Plants Has Helped My Mental Health

#WorkForHappy

People tell me several things about adulthood, but the idea that I would look forward to coming home just to see my plants was an unforeseen adult thing. No one told me about this part. I’m… shook.

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Meet my plants! They’re my best friends ❤

Since getting plants, I’ve started to not only care for them, but for myself as well. I put so much time and effort into my plants – researching their optimal conditions, evaluating their watering needs, making sure they’re potted comfortably, giving them more or less light… in tandem I’ve started hydrating myself, getting fresh air, and even meditating, in a way, as I stroke their leaves and say affirming things to them. I feel connected to them, as well as with my environment, and (wait for it)… the universe.

Is that a hippy thing to say? Welp, I guess I’m a hippy now.

The Origin Story

The reason I got plants in the first place was because I was having a good day. Continue reading

Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 2

#WorkForHappy

This is a series in which I talk about my experience with DBT. I am not naming any names or institutions that the therapy is associated with. I am not a professional in this field, this is all purely based on my experience and impressions. If you are interested in DBT or other therapies, please talk about it to a medical professional. 

Last week I told you guys all about my first session of DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I’ve had two more sessions since then. I have some… thoughts.

I have not felt this amount of anxiety in so long and I honestly don’t know if it’s happening just by chance or if I’m suddenly very aware of how I’m feeling 100% of the time because of DBT. The tools they give us are useful, to be sure. But I’m having moments where I question if it’s even worth it.

Here’s what happened in my second and third session of DBT.

When Common Sense Is Forgotten

Week 2 of DBT started a little differently. Continue reading

Securing the Love of Your Life: It’s Not Me, It’s You

#WorkForHappy

When I met my current boyfriend – my soulmate, my rock, the absolute love of my life – I wasn’t too impressed. At that point of my life I had dated pretty much every kind of guy on the spectrum (sorry, mom and dad) and my standard had been set pretty high already. Meeting him was the beginning of my happily ever after, I just didn’t know it yet. For the time being he was just another dude among a pool of people without anything really setting them apart except my level of indifference.

What changed is a whole bunch of little things that are necessary for a successful relationship, which hit me all at once. Now, looking back, all of this amalgamated into a cluster of requirements I wasn’t aware of until hindsight came in, 20/20. Almost two years of dating later, I am happily settled with the choice I’ve made, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

This is why love exists, why it’s good for you, and how to make it permanent. My name is Sanam, I’m 20, and I’m about to give you some ~love advice~. Continue reading

Does DBT Work For Me? So Far, Part 1

#WorkForHappy

This is a series in which I talk about my experience with DBT. I am not naming any names or institutions that the therapy is associated with. I am not a professional in this field, this is all purely based on my experience and impressions. If you are interested in DBT or other therapies, please talk about it to a medical professional. 

So… I’ve been put into a therapy group. I know, I can’t believe it either.

I was told by my psychiatrist that DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, would probably benefit me more than medication could. I was skeptical. I’d been a part of group therapy before, and I hated it. Absolutely detested it. In fact, not even a month after I finished my first group therapy course with flying colors at 16, I ended up getting hospitalized. It didn’t help whatsoever.

Expressing these concerns earned me a chuckle from my psychiatrist.

“Maybe you just weren’t ready to be a part of group therapy. Do you think you’re in a different place than you were when you were 16?”

…Yes.

“Do you think you still have trouble handling intense emotions and distress?”

I mean… I do.

“Are you trying your hardest to develop the ability to deal with those emotions?”

I am.

“Then why not give it a go? It can’t hurt to try.”

I guess not. Maybe the difference between me and the person I was five years ago is that I am actually willing to get better. Back then, I found those sessions insulting to my intelligence. I had certain ideas of grandeur back then, that I knew everything and that therapists were just over-qualified life coaches. I couldn’t be fixed, I thought.

Now I’m an adult… I guess? It’s hard to say.

Nonetheless, I agreed. I applied, and I got in.

Turns out, DBT is nothing like I thought it would be. I’m going to be completely frank and absolutely transparent as I journal MY experience with DBT, my highs and lows, and whether or not it might be right for you.

This is my first week in DBT. Spoiler, it wasn’t what I was expecting..

Continue reading

How Forgiving Myself Is A Favor To Others

#WorkForHappy

  • What Love Has To Do With Forgiveness
  • Forgiving Yourself Is Only The First Step
  • The Favor: What You Give Back By Forgiving Yourself

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Artwork by Lukas Frischknecht

Love, they say, is the meaning life. Others say it is a mere distraction from real life. I’m 20 years old and I am trying to come to terms with the fact that loving someone is not the same as caring for them.

Ask anyone and they will tell you that love is a choice. Love can run out when the one with holding it is unwilling, and it can multiply when the giver is generous. I, unfortunately, had become dangerously generous.

Guess what? I’ve reclaimed my love. I value it, because I’ve learned to value myself.

That came with a whole lot of work, and it started with forgiveness. Are you a fuck up? Welcome to my world!

This is the story of how I royally screwed up, forgave myself, and learned to value the love I gave away for the sake of the people around me. Continue reading

Bits and Pieces

The little bits and pieces of my body should be inconcievably insignificant. Consider the hundred million billion trillion little intricacies of my being and the curvature of my facial structure is laughably irrelevant. The way my fat sticks to my muscle is nothing compared to what makes it that way in the first place.

All the flesh or bone or fat that does or doesn’t occupy space is nothing. My body is reaching out away from its orbit of gravity to touch others. My eyes lead me to lily pads, my legs launch me to the stars. The scuffs here and there make me lived in. My body is used and exploited by myself for every inch of life it can give me.

Who am I to judge it for how it glimmers in someone else’s eyes? Their eyes are only throwing a glance anyway, as they search for the next breath, the next satisfaction, the next inspiration.

I am a whole, for all my hits and bits and glitz and pieces. I am mine.

And you are yours.

A Letter of Resentment for My Future

This is a letter to my Future.

This might sound bitter, but I just need to be real. I can’t bear the thought of a sour ending anymore. I need my happy ending, because I’d die without it.

To be frank, Future, there was a time I didn’t even care if you’d exist. I didn’t want you to exist because I had given up on you completely. Then, I accepted you’d exist but I didn’t care if it was in poverty. I didn’t care if you became dirty, bruised, cracked, or replaceable. I figured the universe doesn’t care about me, or you, my Future. I figured no one is going to remember me anyway, so why on earth should I even try?

It went to my head, okay? I thought not caring about you would give me a resolve to carry on, but it did the opposite.

Future, I met people who have changed my mind. I’ve been guided towards the universe like a child with her hand outstretched. I touched it for the first time. The fabric was there, it was material, and all the time I lost fretting seemed to replace itself with a new kind of power. I can’t say I don’t care, because I do. I care so much, and that’s the universe’s fault. The universe took me in her arms, so now I have to face you again. She made me promise. So here we are.

Future, I wish I could tell you to leave me alone like everything else in my life. I wish I could tell you how scared I am of you without my voice quavering. “Do me a favor. Go on a bender. Just leave me alone.” I can’t say that to you, not again. I was kidding myself when I did.

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Artwork by Masha Lifenova

Future, I want to take care of you, I just don’t know how. I’m trying, slowly. I’m picking up the pieces you left behind when you ran away, like a trail leading to your hiding place. Pick up the phone, call me back. I need you, even though I was too stupid to realize it before.

It went to my head, okay? I thought not caring about you would give me a resolve to carry on, but it did the opposite. Then I cared too much, I got too clingy, and you left me behind in a cloud of dust. Please, take me back. I promise to take care of you this time. I promise to protect you. I made that promise to the universe, and now I’m making it to you.

Future, I love you. As much as I hate it, I do. I want you to beam, to gleam, to glitter. I want you to be shiny and new. I want you to live fully, completely, healthy.

Come back, Future. Let’s make it work. I’m a different person now, and I think we can do it, together.

Hey, Future. I’m sorry shit turned out this way. I hope we can work it out.

Love,

My Past.

 

 

A Letter of Forgiveness to My Demons

First, shout out to my inability to keep a straight face. Whether I’m happy, sad, or mad, my face always gives me away. You are a sneak, you like to snitch on me, but that’s alright. Sometimes it makes for awkwardness, but other times you can make others laugh. I forgive you, lack of straight face, for making me completely transparent to both my friends and my enemies. It’s for the better, sometimes.

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Artwork by Masha Lifanova

Next on the list is my lack of focus. I can never get anything done with at least a little pressure, and I totally blame you. The irony of your existence is that I am eager to perfect every detail, but how can I if you are distracting me? Nonetheless, I have spit diamonds out when I am under pressure, even if the diamonds do end up a little bloody. You are what puts me under pressure, for better or worse, and I guess I can forgive you for that.

Third is my self doubt. I could find a cure to cancer, you would make me worry about the color of the bottle. Placing one word out of place feels like my undoing, and sometimes it can be so crippling I give up before I try. It’s not okay, definitely not, but perhaps, self-doubt, you just want me to the shoot for the stars. I forgive you for taking the wind out of my sails, because maybe I need to appreciate my journey more, not the destination.

Next is my mental illness. Continue reading

Thank You Letter To My Body

First, I want to thank my lungs. My lungs are small, kind of feminine. They are vindictive pranksters who take things too far. My lungs are Siamese twins, unsevered, heavenly. My lungs are sneaky. Thank you, lungs, for giving me strength.

Second, I want to thank my feet. My feet are brutes, but they like to jump high, and trek far with determination that might not be for the better. Delicate, blistered, skirmish. My feet are scared easily. Thank you, feet, for expanding my horizons.

“It’s an immense honor to have the body that I do. She keeps me alive, and the least I can do is appreciate her, cherish her, and love her for all her parts.”

Next, I want to thank my jaw line. My jaw line is a descendant of a dark ancestry, but she cuts like a knife. My jaw line likes to brood, because she sinks into the shadow of my profile. My jawline is a bad secret keeper. Thank you, jawline, for giving me an attitude.

Now I want to thank my pancreas. My pancreas has a sweet tooth. She likes to play with emotions, sometimes a little too cruelly, but always with misplaced passion. My pancreas is picky. Thank you, pancreas, for keeping me on my toes.

Fifth, I want to thank my nose. My nose is an attention seeker. My nose also hates mirrors. She is an heirloom, but her “unique” appearance makes her more of a warrior. My nose is controversial. Thank you, nose, for making me interesting to look at.

Who else to thank? My eyes. My eyes are curious. They like to stray a little too far from home and get lost. They play games with other eyes, and sometimes I wish they didn’t. My eyes are shameless flirts, but they are also incredibly sad. Thank you, eyes, for keeping me humble.

Finally, I want to thank my brain. My brain is a mysterious figure. I haven’t met her yet. I am told she can be fickle, but I’ve also heard rumors that she is incredibly powerful. I try to understand her, but I’m told that brains borrow atoms from stars. I don’t know who my brain is, but I’m sure she is breath taking. Thank you, brain, for taking care of me, even when I didn’t know it. I hope I can do the same for you, one day.

It’s an immense honor to have the body that I do. She keeps me alive, and the least I can do is appreciate her, cherish her, and love her for all her parts. This may sound dramatic, but I don’t think I would be alive if it wasn’t for my body. I am immensely grateful for the chance to have one.

Thank you, body, for carrying me. The least I can do is love you, and that’s what I endeavor to do.