We are finding it challenging to use skills to cope with depression and panic. In addition to three times per week therapy sessions, we are in a weekly skills group that focuses on psychoeducation regarding trauma's effects on the brain and on DBT skills to change behavior. We have a history of unsuccessful DBT applications, … Continue reading Take our time
Hypervigilance, as most experiences, has shades, gradations. Many people feel a heightened sense of fear in times of high stress. If you have experienced Trauma, that increase can push you out of your window of tolerance. We are finding our baseline is now out of the window of tolerance. Practices to get back into our … Continue reading Practices to calm frazzled nerves
Until we were a young adult, we could not solve the mystery of realistic paintings hanging in art museums. People would stand in front of a painting that depicted throngs of people frozen in time, and the observers would study the painting and talk about details in specific, knowing ways, as though they were watching … Continue reading Our original stories
Older Child returned to college this week. This house is filled with people grieving. When our body and mind experience pain, Punisher--one of our protectors--begins a long-establishes process of self-harm. Punisher ranges from a newborn to age 3. Punisher often initiates chaos and then becomes an infant, with whom you cannot plead, bargain, reason. Punisher's … Continue reading Changing Established Patterns of Behavior
You’re not doing it wrong. It takes practice. When you find yourself in the same thoughts, circling the same carcass like a Turkey Vulture, look at the carcass—study it. What can you call that pile of roadkill? If you're worry is, "Will I succeed or fail?", that sounds like "attachment to outcomes.” Outcomes are what … Continue reading If you’re stressed about outcomes
Seeking pleasure ignores whatever is happening now. If we do experience pleasure, we try to cling to it. It ends anyway, and then we mourn it. Avoiding pain ignores whatever is happening now, especially when it's pain. Avoiding what is actually happening causes suffering because we want pleasure and have its opposite. We crave pleasure. … Continue reading What is the “Middle Way”?
You practice a fire drill when there is no fire. The goal is to know what to do in case of a fire. So it goes with mental health coping skills and crisis planning: practice when you are relatively calm so that you know what to do when you are panicked. We are panicked. We … Continue reading This is why we practice
We react differently to mistakes we make when we are alone versus when other people witness our errors.
The time we spend together as a family--Spouse, Younger Child, Older Child, and Us--in nature is literally the only time we feel truly rich. No phones, no politics, no materialism. Just us and trees or prairies or mountains or snow--and animals, almost always birds.
I was getting annoyed that family member was starting to re-ask the same questions and was getting stuck in "analysis paralysis." I tried to look inside myselves to see how I could survive this
I'm in a challenging spot. I'm low on energy and my therapist says I'm low on resources because I've pushed away the parts of me that know how to cope in new, healthy ways. So we're using old ways: OCD, anger and self-punishment. OCD sees the out-of-control world (our spouse is sick and we're stepping … Continue reading Back to basics
Every other Monday I set my phone to remind me of specific events in my life that I consider miracles. I'm not religious, and I'm very spiritual. Many of the miracles were signs delivered by nature, some by people, some by what could otherwise be considered unbelievable coincidence. Some saved my life. Some saved the … Continue reading Miracle Monday
Shame doesn't have to be permanent. There is a "cure":
One of the primary difficulties with incorporating new coping skills is that when you need them, you are in crisis, which often means you don't know that you need them or can't remember them! This is why it is important to practice coping skills when you're not in crisis. The barrier to practicing when you're … Continue reading Practice coping skills when you’re calm
I am practicing the noticing and naming of (1) my body sensations (throbs, tingles, rumbles, hot/cold, etc.) and (2) my feelings (anxious, excited, masterful, etc.). I am practicing naming them because somehow I missed this body of information (pun intended) when I was growing up. Until recently, I could name mostly feelings of fear, dread, … Continue reading Not everything needs fixing
When we were little and acted contrary to someone's expectations, we were usually chided with, "Don't ____." Don't hit. Don't swear. Don't drink grape juice in the living room. As adults, when we're trying to change a habit or practice, we often default to the same thinking: Don't judge. Don't yell. Don't eat that. We … Continue reading What are you doing? Why “Not pooping” is an insufficient response
Are you re-enacting the victim-perpetrator-rescuer triangle? If so, you are in good company (we do it). Here is why and how to stop.
Put these items on our "to do" list along with our tasks and we will be better organized, prioritized, and reminded to experience life in the now.
Which pursuit is worth our life’s energy? It’s not the one you think. Yes, this post will really reveal the meaning of life.
When we judge, we label, reduce, and remove context. When we observe with specificity, we provide richness and still allow ourselves to express our values.