DBT coping skills class

I recently undertook a 14 week DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy ) group put on by my local mental health organisation. I waited a good 7 months to get in, the demand is so great. DBT is especially effective for people with borderline personality disorder, like  me, but there are other types of people in my group too. The brochure states it’s for those who

have a personality disorder, have chronic adjustment difficulties, have a mood and/or anxiety disorder along with emotion regulation difficulties

It’s  was a nice small group of around 10 people with three excellent instructors. There is a psychologist, a clinical social worker and a mental health clinician.

We met once a week. Every week we start with a guided meditation. Then we shared our “homework “, then moved on to the day’s lesson. The first weeks lesson  was all about mindfulness and how to use it in our daily lives to help centre ourselves. I’ll post next about the second week.

DESCRIPTION: This is a 14 Week Coping Skills Group that uses a DBT skills training protocol with demonstrated effectiveness in increasing use of emotion regulaion skills and decreasing anxiety and depression symptoms in adults.  Using a classroom model, the goal of the group is to teach and increase practice  of skills in four domains:  1) core mindfulness, 2) distress tolerance, 3) emotion regulation, and 4) interpersonal effectiveness.

Cautionary letter to my young cousin using drugs/booze

Hi_____! So you’re 14 now! That’s excellent.  I hear you’ve been getting into the party scene heavily though, and because of my experience with that (a LOT of experience) I just have to say a few words. Just read and consider them, that’s all I’m asking. Then, at least, I’ll know I tried to save you some pain.

Drinking and drugs seem like great fun when you’re young, a way to hang out with your friends and feel happy and included, but in the long run it leads to a lot of pain, shame, guilt and a host of other problems.

I started drinking and drugging at 14 too, and by 25 it had left me pretty much badly broken, mentally and physically, and with a huge amount of baggage I’m still trying to deal with.

I was arrested 3x before I hit 18 from doing crazy things while drunk or/and on drugs. I had to go before a judge, do community service (a lot), and was on probation each time. I nearly got sent to reform school and nearly had a permanent record.

Because of drinking/drugs I ended up sleeping with a lot of men who were just using me (drunk girls are easy prey), so I ended up with no self esteem and had no self worth. I exposed myself to disease, and dangerous situations with strangers.  Getting over the results took 100’s of hours of intense therapy.

I ended up with unwanted pregnancy twice, both which ended in horrible miscarriages that nearly killed me mentally and physically (nearly bled to death). The more I drank and did drugs the more fucked up stuff I got involved in. I ended up in an abusive relationship, getting beat on for a year, which has left me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I ended up getting held against my will 3x by very drunk/high men with weapons, also contributing to my PTSD. I have constant nightmares and panic attacks  and can’t let myself trust men much at all.

The more I drank the more I needed to drink, to bury all the horrible emotions that came from all the things that happened because I was drunk or stoned. I lost a lot of good friends in the long run and did horribly embarrassing things. I had blackouts from binge drinking where I’d end up in some man’s bed, who I didn’t know, with no remembrance how I got there. I fell down stairs, smashed teeth, broke bones, and got concussions from drunkenly smashing into things. I hit people and was hit.

All this made my already present depression and anxiety worsen. It fed my Borderline Personality Disorder.  I ended up in detox twice, trying to get clean and the hospital several times, with nervous breakdowns.

So, please, save yourself all the pain. I know it’s hard when that’s what your friends are doing, I know it’s so easy and tempting to just go along and have the ‘fun’, but it often turns bad in the end, very bad, and you’re the one that’s left suffering. I just want to try and save you from all the things I went through, and how I ended up.

Do ANYTHING else instead. Get new friends who don’t party, or get a job, or throw yourself into something you love, or try to find something you love. Try painting or photography or writing or sports. Anything that will keep you focused on doing something you are really passionate about and away from drugs and drinking. Cause it’s a long, crazy, painful, traumatic road it will lead you down and you will end up feeling one way in the end…..like shit about yourself and fucked up.

I could go on and on about tons of other things that happened to me when I was drinking/drugging, but I won’t.  I hope you read this and think about it. I care about you and really want you to have a good life in the future, but you won’t find it in alcohol/ drugs of any kind. So do yourself a HUGE favour, get away from it, far, far away, and you’ll have a better chance at a decent life. Take it from one who knows and loves you.

How I Experience Depression 

​ When I’m becoming  depressed I usually start off eating a lot of junk food, staring at the TV for hours, avoiding all phone calls, people and situations. I sleep 15-20 hours a day and don’t care. I don’t take care of my hygiene or eat or drink enough. I self medicate with benzodiazepines. And I obsess about everything in my past and worry constantly about the future. I get extremely irritable and anxious and sometimes quite agitated. I often think of overdosing several times a day.

 I do see a physiatrist but we can not seem to find the right meds since last year when my Paxil stopped working.  My depression always gets worse in the winter from having S.A.D, but I also suffer from bipolar depression, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder mood swings, plus have a chronic illness. It all adds up!!  How does your depression affect you? 

Adrenal insufficiency 

​It seems a lot of my current symptoms turned out to be related to my Addison’s, not my CFS or depression alone. I increased my hydrocortisone from 20 mg to 40 mg and feel completely different. Normally this is the ‘stress’ dose used when the body has an infection, Injury etc., but I’m staying on it for awhile, until my adrenals recover. 

When my cortisol is too low, it means my adrenals are not producing enough. The most common symptoms are severe fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, irritability, and depression. These are the exact things I’ve been having but I just thought it was my CFS acting up, an infection, seasonal depression and a stomach flu. Now all my symptoms are gone.

I’ll be seeing my endocrinologist in March. We need to get my dose straightened out so this doesn’t happen again. What a waste I didn’t realize sooner.

Guilt and Shame

A good, concise piece from a fellow blogger, who suffers from CFS and depression, about the feelings of guilt and shame many of us live with.

 

The Fight Against Myself

Having an invisible illness brings a lot of judgement and opinions from others and a lot of time it’s negative and hurtful.  Living with Depression and Chronic Fatigue is hard enough as it is without other people making me feel worse about something I cannot change.

Before my Fiancé met me, he had never met someone affected by depression and anxiety and I think it shocked him to see how much it affected me.  He didn’t understand Depression and it took a while for him to get used to the condition but he made the effort to learn about it and support me as much as possible.  The anxiety was hard for him to deal with because he is such an outgoing person who loves to socialise and it caused a lot of stress in the relationship but we both eventually learned how to compromise and he learned my boundaries and…

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So discouraged

I’m not having an easy time lately. My mental health is iffy with a lot of anxiety, for months now, and depression setting in pretty hard this week. I’m in constant pain because of my back and something is going on with my CFS/ME. I’m completely drained and mostly bedridden. Because of this I missed three physiotherapy sessions, plus one of my DBT coping skills classes.

I’m so very, very frustrated .  I have no answers. I just have to try to hold on, rest, get to physiotherapy and class when I’m able, and wait till January 10th to see my psychiatrist for possible solutions to lessen this gnawing anxiety and boost my mood a bit. Having my paxil poop out on me after 10 years has created a real disruption in my mood and trying all these new drugs has been a year long, not to successful trial.

My suicidal idealisation is becoming stronger each day as I feel I’m just too worn out to keep trying. If the thoughts get too strong I’ll have to go to the hospital, but I really don’t even have the motivation to deal with all that shit. Hours and hours waiting and I’m usually told there is no space, so they just increase my meds and tell me to go home. I’m just so tired of it all. I only keep going for my family. I’ll end this on a note of gratitude for them, the support they give me, the love and understanding .

Struggling 

I have not been well the last 2 weeks and only managed 3 walks  (6 min) per week. I feel completely drained.  I think it’s from the very busy days I have on Thursdays. I go to physiotherapy, have a 2 hour class and drive 1 1/2 hours plus usually run an errand, like picking up my mail, after weeks unattended.

Anyway, I am bedridden 3 day’s after, not able to cook or even get enough fluids down me. I feel extremely weak. I don’t know if the severe fatigue is from having such a busy day on Thursday or the core building exercises the physiotherapist gave me, or a combination of both.

I HAVE to do the exercises though. My back has been so bad since January, and the pain is not helping my fatigue or overall mood. They would be easy exercises for most, but they are difficult and tiring for me because of my severe deconditioning. I do still do them almost every day, even if it’s the only thing I can do.

I’m really worried about this week as I have physiotherapy tomorrow and Thursday plus class. Wish me luck.

Update: missed Tuesday physiotherapy session as too exhausted.  Am becoming increasingly depressed, agitated and anxious.  I have no motivation and barely care about anything. I don’t see my psychiatrist till mid January. I don’t know if this is S.A.D, my my dad’s recent death or medication related. Sucks.