Monday, March 15, 2010

March 15th - 21st, 2010

Wow! This last week came and went in a flash, so I am a day late on this weeks post.

Last week we tried a different approach to discussing DBT skills and unfortunately I don't feel it went all that well. We did get a great response from Stacey and the challenges to last weeks myths were clearly DBT skills based! Thank you Stacey! However, outside of that, there were no other comments.

Definition of Crisis: Along with Stacey's definition, I have also been asking that question with those of you in the immediate area and are not using the internet solely for their participation, and one of the most commonly left out part of the definition is that a crisis is temporary. A crsis is a crisis because it does not last forever. It is also all of the other things that many have said, "a time when you engage in target behavior", "intense heightened emotional state of being", etc. But we cannot leave out that this Crisis is temporary.

The temporary part is what can anchor us to a skill. Going forward with our recovery we can assure ourselves that when a crisis occurs, it will pass. Therefore, logically then, it is only a matter of finding a way to tolerate while we are waiting for it to pass.

Sometimes tolerating is what fails us. What I have noticed working in this field and going through my own personal recovery is that we can go to a class, group, therapy and learn a new skill to prevent a crisis and feel totally jazzed about it. We can put in place and wait. . . what if though for some reason, the prevention skill did not work? What then? Naturally I am speaking of after we have set up many antecedents, we can keep building this wall of prevention skills, but life is life and nothing is 100%. What happens when those prevention skills falls flat? This is when a crisis becomes even more intense. Now we have a crisis, we have engaged in target behavior after we have learned skills, so now failure is on board. Before we agreed to the recovery process many of us were in denial, or perhaps we knew and understood what we were doing but felt so hopeless that we just didn't care anymore. All that changed as soon as we agreed to recovery. We started educating ourselves, we started being prepared, we started reducing vulnerabilities where we could. That first crisis that was prevented was a victory so sweet. Yet, when that first crisis hits that we were not able to prevent, hurts with more intensity than the crisis' before.

This failure is what blinds us to the reality that the crisis is temporary. First of all, as Marsha says: "FAIL WELL" next week we will discuss a little more in-depth what that might look like for each one of us individually. Secondly, funny enough we are going to talk a bit about a prevention skill that will help us, if our prevention skills fail us!

P.L.E.A.S.E.  S.I.R.  Yes, the first word is exactly what Marsha outlined it to be:

PL ~ Physical illness - care for any physical illnesses you might have, headache etc.

E ~ Exercise

A ~ avoid mood altering drugs or alcohol.

S ~ Sleep, proper sleep hygiene.

E ~ Eating, be sure to be having regular meals and eat them mindfully.

This is the part that is different:

Structures In Routine.

S ~ Structure, Structure, Structure. Your life needs to have structure. We learn we need a schedule, a plan for the day. Being aimless is unhealthy and ineffective for our mental health. In order to have a schedule or a routine, we need structure.

In ~ try to have a routine without structure, doesn't work.

R ~ routine. We all know exactly what a routine is. It is something consistent, something you can count on.

If you place this entire concept together you will reduce your vulnerabilities to your environment, in an effort to stave off a crisis, but in the event of a crisis anyways, you will have a structured routine to fall on. What does that mean?

It means that in your preventing skill you have built in your first line of defense against the debilitating shame that may be mounting in connection to a failed attempt to avoid a crisis, by giving yourself an exact action to do immediately following your crisis.

Write out your desired schedule. Structure it to your life, try it out. Figure out what does work and what doesn't. Tailor it until you can make it a routine, keep a written format of this structured routine. Be sure and practice mindfulness each step along your routine. You want to train your body to be comfortable with this routine. Your teaching yourself repetition. Then, what happens when this crisis hits? You fall on your routine, you can rely on your routine to carry you through. You can be on auto-pilot so-to-speak. Of course, this prevention skill naturally sets you up for next weeks topic of Failing Well. Any comments on this or what is to come next week, please offer them. We love to hear from you all, and we benefit so much when we have others comments.

TRY THIS: Write out your preferred routine, practice it. Start small, perhaps each day before bed you could reflect on the day and write down how you would like to see your next monday go and so on. At the end of the week you would have a potential routine, the next week try it out. Write down your success with it and plot a way to handle your failures with it.

Talk to you all next week! Hope to hear from you!

MJ