Denial, DBT Skills, and the Onset of a Non-Typical Summer Vacation

dog happier

Without planning and without, really, even a second thought, I placed myself on summer vacation a few weeks ago.  I had been putting a lot of time and energy into DBT and using the skills, and I was getting frustrated with the other participants in my group.  It was (is) chock-full of people who don’t do their homework, who don’t complete their diary cards, and who are disruptive at any chance.

One of the women frequently gets angry and storms out, never to come back.  Why she is allowed to do that over and over and over, I do not know.  We DID all sign a contract that DID put some limitations on maladaptive behaviors (or therapy-avoiding behaviors, in this case).  While the storming out is, at best, quite disruptive and unsettling, it is mostly just annoying to me that this person walks out instead of using skills which she clearly should have something of a grasp on, one year into the program.  I mean, even a limited grasp, I would say.

But, don’tcha know, DBT is all about not being judgmental and meeting people where they are, and it is not I that am leading the group (although I have had enough DBT I could probably give a fairly good whack at it, and have already been told I have enough knowledge and experience to be a peer leader).  I decided that, while I have  mostly been focusing on distress tolerance and floating with emotion (rather than fighting), and doing urge surfing, I need now to focus on nonjudgemental stance.  That means focusing on not being judgmental of other people and, even trickier, not being judgmental of MYSELF.  Let’s just say it has not been an easy row to hoe.

My life outside of DBT has offered up plenty of opportunities for me to be harsh and critical and judgmental, as well as plenty of opportunities to leave me in complete hysterics for days on end.  I am happy to say that I have not succumed (much) to said hysterics, and am only indulging myself in small amounts of FTFO (otherwise known as “freaking the fuck out”).

I am allowing myself to ask LarBear and my dad for help, and I have been using interpersonal skills from DBT to get my needs met as far as setting boundaries and asking for what I want and need from pretty much any relationship I have at the moment.  It works, and if you don’t use it, you lose it, with the latter part of that being so very true, and the reason I always find myself back in formal DBT groups every few years.

Many a boulder of big news will roll down the proverbial hill in the next year or so, I would say.  Most of it is good, and the rest can best be classified as “unknown” for others, but neutral for me.  Because I have so many wonderful family members that read, I can’t go into too much detail at this very moment, but big changes are coming to my life, and so I find that I am using the start of my own “summer vacation” to just chill out a little bit.

You know, enjoy the good things in life and flat-out pretend that the bad are not happening.  Sometimes a little denial is all you need to get yourself through a day peacefully, and while it isn’t necessarily a coping skill that one should employ on an every-moment basis, it sure does make me more tolerable to be around and also keep me from hyperventilating about all of the stuff running around in my mind.

Ooey-Gooey Delicious Vacationess

That’s right, I am off work for the next FIVE days.  I would say that I hardly know what to do with all of that time, but you’d better believe, I’ve got big plans.  Today it’s the dentist, grooming for the Kizz, and haircut for me.  Add a trip to Sam’s for the shop and it’s a day.  Saturday is my nephew’s birthday party, and I’m gonna have to get out and buy that huge, super-powered water gun so I can follow the tradition of the marshmallow gun that I gave him for Christmas.  Bet his parents just LOVE me.

Things in RosieSmrtiePants-land have been getting steadily better.  It seems that my headaches are getting figured out.  Tooth pain = massive headaches.  I also think that all of the work stress makes it even worse, hence the vacation.  I need to recoup and relax for awhile.  I haven’t taken any time off for over a year, where I wasn’t either sick or going to the doctor.  It’s gonna be NICE.  Too bad the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to cooperate very well, but I have plenty of “inside” things to do.

I’m still taking Cymbalta regularly and I really think that makes a lot of the difference.  I have been able to steadily decrease my Klonopin dose and am now only taking 1mg at night.  There for awhile, I was having to take a little bit PRN, and I so HATE doing that.  Yes, it makes me feel better, but I don’t want to end up addicted.  Which is really altogether ridiculous, considering how little I take and how infrequently I take a PRN.  Sometimes it’s just the thought of…aghhh, one more pill to take.  Anyone who takes meds reguarly can relate to that, I do believe.

This past weekend was lovely, minus the severe weather.  We had QoB and Big Dog’s 25th anniversary party and it was a smashing success.  I think everyone had a great time and the best couple I have ever had the pleasure of knowing enjoyed themselves, as well.  It was really great to see people that we haven’t seen in quite some time, but was not so fun to drive 70mph trying to out-run a storm.  Let’s just say that I had such a hard time doing so, because I was taught to drive sloooowwwly out at the lake, that someone had to hop in my car at a stop sign and tell me to “put yer foot on it, girl!!”  Good times…I am probably going to be teased about that for the rest of my natural life.  Someone might even bring it up at my funeral 70 years from now…that’s how hilarious everyone thought it was, after the danger had passed, of course!

I went back to church last Sunday for the first time since the week before Easter.  I have been avoiding it like the plague, mostly due to headaches, social phobia, and my stalker.  I am really glad I went back, and realized that I had sooo missed it.  I just feel so clean and hopeful and fresh after I go.  Like maybe all my sins have been washed away (at least temporarily).  Hmmm…I think that is why a lot of people go to church…for the minty fresh feeling.  🙂

After church, I went and visited my Grandma for the first time since Christmas.  That is a relationship that I have historically had a really hard time with.  When Grandpa died, I spent a lot of time being angry that it wasn’t Grandma that died and my Grandpa was still here.  I held onto that idea, taking every misstep and bit of obnoxiousness from my Grandma as adding fuel to that particular fire.  I have really been praying for patience and forgiveness and understanding, and am hoping that I am getting over that hump.  Realizing that Grandma is in her last few months of life made me wake up.  We had a really good visit and it was like being around the Grandma that baked cookies with us, although I remember her more as related to Grandpa, as it seems like my sister was always with my Grandma and I was always with Grandpa.  But, she was like the old Grandma.  No, not down on her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor three times a day, but the Grandma that cared and wasn’t hateful.  Not like the Grandma that always said, “Your grandpa loves you,” without telling me that she loved me, too.  I am really coming to a point that I realized that she did the best she could with the emotional intelligence that she had gained (and lost) over her years.  I am grateful to God for giving me a good visit with Grandma, because she does have many bad days and I could have very easily come to her on one of those days where she wasn’t talking.  She has pretty much stopped eating and drinking, and hospice has been called in.  At least now I can say that I am making an effort to have her in my life, instead of really blocking her out.

On a more uplifting note, please do enjoy  Three Little Birds by Bob Marley.  This is my theme song for my vacation.  🙂