I guess I have been depress all through my life but wasn't diagnosed until a few years ago. The depression was so overwhelming that I couldn't leave my bed. I have been through tons of therapy prior to this, but when this episode happened, I ran to a Psychiatrist. I was put on Lexapro, which works well, and assigned a therapist.
It was not until my therapist introduced me to Dialectical Behavior Therapy, that I started my journey to wellness.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan to help people manage overwhelming emotions. This is usually done in a group therapy setting or a one on one with a therapist trained in DBT.
There are four key components to this therapy that will teach you skills. To me, this is not a passive therapy, but an active one. If you find a group or a therapist that does this be ready for lots of homework. Skills don't just happen, you have to work on them and implement them in your life. But once you do, you will be fee again.
Here is an overview of the four basic skills you will learn in DBT.
1. Distress Tolerance: These are coping skills you will learn when a painful event rises.
2. Mindfulness: You will learn how to stay in the present moment. It will help you to overcome negative judgements about yourself. This is my favorite part of it all. When applied, it works so effectively.
3. Emotion Regulation: These skills that you will learn will help you "recognize" what you are feeling and observe that emotion without getting overwhelmed. You will learn how to regulate those emotions without reacting in a negative way to yourself or others.
4. Interpersonal Effectiveness: The tools you will learn will help you express yourself clearly, set boundries, and learn how to create a solution to problems that arise.
I know this is a very short overview of the many modalities of DBT. But this is what helped me.
I am stronger, can now express my emotions in a positive way instead of bottling them inside. I can now face a situation that might be intense and handle it in a calm way. When I'm "cornered" by someone that triggers a frightening emotion, I can now see the facts, understand my emotions, and deal with a situation effectively by communicating with my "wise mind."
I have been in DBT therapy for a full year now and am still in a group. This is something that works for me and retraining myself takes a lot of action. Like I said before, it is not something you simply talk about, but rather it is a therapy that you apply to your life.
We all need a toolbox when it comes to something that stops us in our path. We may not have those tools inside of us, so we need to go out there and get them.
I enjoy passing on my story because when I first realized I was depressed, I felt the sense of loneliness and despair. I felt hopeless and helpless. The medication and therapy were working too slow for me.
I am the type of person that needs to go on with my life. DBT has helped me with that.
If you cannot find a group or therapist in your area, there is a book you can purchase and try to do this on your own. But I must say through my experience a group or therapist will give you accountability and explain the activities to you. But here is the book if you are interested:
"The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook" - practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotional Regulation & Distress Tolerance -
by Matthew McKay PH.D. Jeffrey C. Wood, PSY.D. Jeffrey Brantley, MD
If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to contact me to pick my brain :)
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