Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25th - August 1st, 2010



THIS WEEK:

The past two weeks we have discussed the need to have a purpose or mission statement, to assess on a regular basis where you are with that purpose and have suggested using a chart to keep track of your assessments. We have also discussed our values and the role they play in our purpose for recovery. We have learned how to make theses assessments or evaluations of where we currently are and decide where we desire to be, based on our values and what is important to us.

We have also discussed in posts previous what sort of things interfere with effective behavior. So this week, I wanted to give a brief overview of what some of those tendencies are, that might undermine effectiveness. As you carry on with your week, please consider the below list, and determine if there are some areas that you could target to increase the likelihood of effective behavior

  • Say 'yes' when you really want to say 'no'

  • Unconsciously generate & carry excess tension in your body - clenched jaw, furrowed brow and eyes, tight neck and shoulders

  • Stay sedentary

  • Stay too active

  • Not enough rest

  • Watch/read the news and believe it is an accurate representation of reality

  • Overbook yourself

  • Breathe shallowly

  • Unconsciously and unnecessarily tolerate minor physical discomfort - uncomfortable clothes/shoes, cold feet, hunger, irritating background noise, undesirable lighting, full bladder, poor posture

  • Make things harder or more complicated than necessary

  • Use more effort than is required for a task

  • Do too many things at once

  • Keep things bottled up inside

  • Procrastinate

  • Attempt difficult things without proper preparation or planning

  • Avoid being assertive

  • Engage in frustrating relationships

  • Become too far off-centered or balanced before attempting to correct yourself

  • Use ways of coping with stress that can potentially end up causing additional problems - drugs, alcohol, food, T.V., gambling, sex, shopping, etc.

  • Engage in self harm



Looking at this list, honestly assess yourself. When you are being ineffective, what tendencies do you notice? Do you return the call to that friend that is always gossiping, when you know you are off of base-line? Do you attempt to take back a book, when you have had very little sleep, and have been running around all day? Perhaps the book can wait? Or maybe, you can return the call to your friend, after a good night sleep?

TRY THIS: When you look at that list, in your mind's eye, think of what that scenario would look for you. Think of a "for instance" of something you have done in the past, recent or otherwise, that would fit each one of these tendencies. Become familiar with what they would look like in your life, then come up with a plan of what you would have done to not lean toward the tendency. This way the next time the scenario presents itself, you will be better able to identify it. Of course no two scenarios are the same, but this will give you an idea of what you are looking for.

A note of caution: Since you will be taking a trip down "memory" lane for this exercise, please be sure and remember, when you recall perhaps the last time you engaged in self-harm, and you ask yourself what plan you could have used to prevent the engagement, remind yourself that you are doing this recollection of the event, not to beat yourself up more, but rather to ensure relapse prevention. You are FAILING WELL; not reliving a failure. There is a difference! :)


GROUP:

This last Monday, July 19th, 2010 we developed our safe spaces. Understanding that these 'safe-spaces' are thought out in details of what we might, see, hear, taste, feel, and smell while there. We are practicing them this week, and we will touch bases on how that went; so if you join us in group on Monday, July 26th, 2010 at 2p.m. PDT please consider sharing yours! We will then introduce cue-controlled relaxation; which is an accessory skill to safe-space visualization. The short and fast of cue-controlled is this, we will develop clearly in our mind our safe-space and teach ourselves that through a single word, or a series of words, we will assess that safe-space and all the safe, positive body sensations that go along with it.

We are not endorsing some sort of hypnotic method here, but rather we will learn to tap into an effective use for how powerful our mind is. Most of us have felt the awesome power of our minds, but in an ineffective way. It is quite real to us how what would seem to be a  small event, can trigger all sorts of body memories, and when you are in the throes of that trigger, your mind cannot grasp a reality check. It cannot tell the difference between what is really happening in the now, or what has happened in the past, or what we have programmed ourselves to believe what will be the future. It feels real. We simply want to harness that power, and use it effectively. So that is what we will discuss on Monday, July 26th, 2010 @ 2p.m. PDT. Hope to see you all there! (For those you who are not yet a member, please join us here and sign-up. Then, come join the online group!)

MJ ~ mj@mydbtlife.com

*Click here to discuss this weeks post with the group*

Thank you for being an important part of My DBT Life . com!

To benefit fully from our online peer-support group please:

  1. Subscribe to our weekly blog – http://www.mydbtlife.com

  2. Follow us on Twitter for frequent mindfulness Tweets – @mydbtlife

  3. Join our forum for Peer-Support & discussions about the weekly post – Forum

  4. Join our Face Book page to increase awareness of our services – F.B. PAGE


If you would like to help in financially supporting our efforts please visit our Donations page to find out – How are my donations used?

If you can’t help financially at this time that’s OK! You can still help out:

  • Post a link to http://www.mydbtlife.com on any page that you own: Face Book, My Space, Twitter, Your BLOG or Your Website- Every link helps us reach the ones who need these services!

  • Volunteer some of your time as a moderator in our forum. If you are certified as a peer-support person or just a friendly listening ear with experience, all are welcome to donate their precious time to help others in similar situations. Please E-mail us for more information!


Thank you!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18th - 25th, 2010



THIS WEEK:

I wanted to piggy-back on from last week and talk a little about what we do in connection with our assessments and reassessments to our current position in life as it relates to our long-term goals. Review last weeks post if you need to be brought up to speed :) As last weeks posts makes note of, the #3 thing to do is to decide where we want to be on our scales of satisfaction. What does that entail? Is it is a simple as just thinking, "Hmmm... I would really be happier if my outbursts were closer to a 1, rather than a 5." Of course not, it takes mindful consideration of things before we can reasonable discern where we would like to be. And after-all, overtime, where we would like to be is going to change. Remember, if we do not make our goals obtainable, we are assigning ourselves failure without having even started.

One of the most important steps to getting started is to discover and/or clarify your deepest, core values. It may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked as a place to start. The first step toward developing healthy and effective ways of improving the way we feel and behave needs to start with understanding what influences the way we feel and behave, which are our values. The most effective way to develop a sense of control over your own life and to generate the necessary level of commitment and motivation to tackle life's challenges, is to get to know yourself and discover and prioritize your specific values. Once you have done so, you will find it exceedingly less difficult to identify what events and behaviors are productive in your life and which are non-productive. When our values are not clear, then neither are our best choices for action.

Our core values are essential for determining our individual purpose and direction in life. Making choices that are in line with these values not only enhances our self-respect and personal effectiveness, but ultimately reduces distress and leads us to the inner peace and fulfillment we all desire.

Throughout our life our values evolve. Failing to "check-in" with ourselves periodically often leaves us engaging in behaviors and making choices that no longer serve us.

Until we have taken the time to really get to know ourselves, we often live by second-hand values. So you can see the wisdom in identifying those values that are truly yours and not those that you think "should" be important. Trust yourself to consider from deep within what is most meaningful and important to you.

"The most important thing...is to remember the most important thing."  - Suzuki Roshi

So, decide where you want to be on your scales by what your values are.

Try this: List as many of your values as you can. Then after you have a complete list, list the top 5. Work with these to help you to decide where you would like to be.

Once you have your list, make a purpose statement. We have talked often about the importance of a purpose statement. To have a purpose or mission statement, is having a clearly defined, personally meaningful, vision of how you want to live your life. It is a way to prioritize and focus your energy, actions, and decisions toward the things that are most important to you in the long run. It is like a compass that helps you determine the right way to go. If you were to be lost in the woods, you would consult your compass; such as it is with when you are feeling lost, overwhelmed, or bogged down in life, you would consult your purpose statement. It helps you to regain your bearings and be able to stay on course by providing clarity, direction, and motivation.

A purpose statement answers the questions, "What is the point?", "Where am I going?", and  "What is this all about?"

Some tips in creating your purpose statement:

  • Keep it simple and clear, about 3 to 5 sentences.

  • It should touch on what you would like to focus on and who you want to become as a person, your character.

  • Include behaviors, character traits, and qualities that you consider particularly important and want to develop further.

  • Be sure and make your purpose statement positive. Instead of outlining what you don't want to do or don't want to be, say what you do want to do or do want to become. Find the positive alternatives to any negative statements.

  • Make it emotional. Including an emotional payoff in the purpose statement infuses it with passion and will make it even more compelling, inspiring and energizing.

  • It should make you feel good. If you know where you are going, you will live a life of eager anticipation, optimism, hope, and joy. It will also provide the satisfaction that you are clear about, and are acting in alignment with, what is most important to you, your values. (see how they work and-in-hand?)



Do not be afraid to reassess your purpose statement from time-to-time as well as your values. This is all part of the process, the journey.

Some things to consider and meditate on:

  • What brings you happiness?

  • What are you passionate about or what inspires you?

  • What brings you a sense of fulfillment?

  • What are some things you've always wanted to do/achieve?

  • How do you want to be remembered?

  • What do you stand for?

  • Whom do you admire or want to be like?

  • What do you want your life to be about?

  • How do you want to feel? be? approach life?

  • As you grow older and wiser, what advice would you give to a young person about what is most important?

  • What contributions do you want to make to: your family, your friends, your community, the world in general?


Your purpose statement is not cast in stone. It will continue to change and evolve as you gain insights about yourself and what you want out of your life. You get to build a life worth living, and you get to say what that life will look like.

"The things you think about the most become your reality!"  -anonymous

So write out your purpose: My mission or purpose in life is to....

Here is a miracle question to get the creative juices flowing:

Imagine that tonight before bed you were to take a very special pill. It is a magic pill and when you wake up tomorrow morning your life would be exactly the way you would like it to be. How would you be feeling? What would you be doing? Who would you be spending time with? Where would you be living? Would you be working, if so what kind of job would you have?

Have fun, try to be as detailed as you can, and don't be too concerned about being wholly "realistic"

FOR THIS WEEKS GROUP:

We had some technical difficulties with last weeks group. So we are going to use the material I posted last week here for group tomorrow, Monday, July 19th, 2010. Please see last weeks post for an overview.

For more details on that group click here. Please remember if you go to this page and the link to the chat is not yet posted, you will need to refresh your page periodically until the link is posted, as the changes will need to be reloaded onto your page.

If you are not yet a group member please click here and become one, then send me a private message and I will assist you to the group meeting. Or you may be able to locate the Category for: "Group meetings HERE" at the end of the list of categories under "START HERE"; which will also have the details on how to access the group.

Hope to see you in group tomorrow!


MJ ~ mj@mydbtlife.com

*Click here to discuss this weeks post with the group*

Thank you for being an important part of My DBT Life . com!

To benefit fully from our online peer-support group please:

  1. Subscribe to our weekly blog – http://www.mydbtlife.com

  2. Follow us on Twitter for frequent mindfulness Tweets – @mydbtlife

  3. Join our forum for Peer-Support & discussions about the weekly post – Forum

  4. Join our Face Book page to increase awareness of our services – F.B. PAGE


If you would like to help in financially supporting our efforts please visit our Donations page to find out – How are my donations used?

If you can’t help financially at this time that’s OK! You can still help out:

  • Post a link to http://www.mydbtlife.com on any page that you own: Face Book, My Space, Twitter, Your BLOG or Your Website- Every link helps us reach the ones who need these services!

  • Volunteer some of your time as a moderator in our forum. If you are certified as a peer-support person or just a friendly listening ear with experience, all are welcome to donate their precious time to help others in similar situations. Please E-mail us for more information!


Thank you!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11th - 18th, 2010

THIS WEEKS POST:

Each person struggling with metnal illness is at varying places in their own recovery. But there is something that no matter how advanced or how new you are to the world of mental illness, we all do. It is basic, and the only difference that a person who has been working for 10 years on recovery versus a person who began their journey last week, is how many times they have done it. But that advanced person still does it. What is it?

Assesses.

If we are to be effective with our life we will never stop assessing ourself. With mental illness we know that we have challenges that we will face. Whereas what would be termed the 'typical' person, may not have to assess where they are with how many times they were able to get out of the house this last month, typical people or any person that lives effectively, mental illness or no, has at some point assessed and reassessed their goals; and continues to do so. We may just need to be more diligent at this assessment and we may do it more frequently to be sure we are headed in the direction we want to be going.

Assessing our current position with our desired outcome on a regular basis brings a refining to our lives, but it does something else as well. It gives a marker for self-validation. Especially if you happen to be a person that keeps written records. When life has really it the fan, and you are struggling to breath, reviewing your past assessments can give you that much needed pat on the back. A way to say to yourself, "Look self, I have come a long way..." Because to tell you the truth, when you are working hard and have been doing so for a year, then when you fall flat on your face, your body memories are right there saying, "See! I told you that you always do that!" you easily believe it. Self-validation is where you will be able to stop that body memory and effectively say, "NOT TRUE, I haven't used that behavior for a long time, I am merely having a relapse, this is not a pattern for me, I can FAIL WELL, look!" and of course your record of assessments will give testimony to that very fact.

So what does one do in an assessment?

Step 1 - Identify barriers to obtaining and maintaining meaningful effective living that are within your control of influence, list as many as you can identify. (notice that it must be within your control of influence - there are some things that you cannot control, clearly you can't list them, however there are things that although they specifically cannot be controlled by you, you can influence them. Like, your mate, as we  have mentioned in posts past, that you cannot control your mate, but you can influence him/her. So if you list the barrier "conflict within my relationship" - that is something that is within your control, even if wise mind justified, it is your mate that has a lot of working on the relationship to do, because what you will be assessing is your contribution to that relationship conflict)

Step 2 - Select up to 3 (depending on your selection, you may only want to work on 1 at a time) Focus on these specifically, and leave the others there in your minds eye, you can 'back-burner' them, you are not ignoring them however.  Focus on your selection and rate your current level of satisfaction. Use a rating system that you are comfortable with, like 5 stars or 0-10, whatever works. Under each item you are focusing on, write next to it or below it what behaviors are associated with it when you are the most dissatisfied. So if I were to say I want to work at my conflict in my relationship, I would give it a 5 on a scale of 10, because I am not totally disatisfied, yet I really want to see some major improvement. The behaviors that I notice that I do when it is at its worst is, yelling, screaming, slamming doors, alcohol abuse, sarcastic cutting words.

Step 3 - Decide where you would like to be: on that same scale, realistically. Then list the behaviors that you would like to see if you were where you want to be on that scale, again be realistic.

"The Chances of actually hitting your target, dramaticaly improve if you aim at it." - unknown

Be sure and keep your expectations reasonable. These 3 chosen items are not meant to be the "bigger picture"; they are your baby steps. The bigger picture is the first list you made.

That should get you started ... have fun, and remember you are not perfect and we all will be assessing and reassessing, this is an endless skill.  But this will give you the outline so that you can start inserting the skills needed to get your two scales looking more alike.

THIS WEEKS GROUP TOPIC:

Safe-space visualization

Thinking of your favorite movie, I want you to think about all that was involved in making it what it is. Think about it in steps. Before they started filming they had to have rehearsed, learned lines, hired an entire hard working crew to get every wardrobe right, every set constructed, etc. then what did they have before that? OK, so before all of that, they must have had resources to tell them what wardrobes to use, what sets to make, where the characters were to be standing, etc. They get that from a story-board, right? (in most cases anyways) Well, where did the story-board get its information? The screen-play right? And then where did the screen-play come from? Someone's imagination. Whether it was based on a real experience or not, someone had to 'think' to make a movie out of the experience therefore, someone had to write out a screen-play. So is the case with your safe-space visualization.

It starts with your imagination. If you can embed a place that is serene, peaceful, relaxing and inviting into your imagination, then you can visit it anytime you like. It will become one of the most effective first line of defense to a crisis on the horizon. You will be able to take a 'trip' there, to your safe-space anytime you need it. Of course, for your mind to believe it, you have to train your body to elicit the sensations that will bring about relaxation and peace.

You will want to get the idea in your head of where you want to go when you need to get to a safe place, immediately; and as a screen-play you will want to write out as many details about this place as you can. Be specific, are there bright colors? are visitors allowed? is this place a real place or purely imaginative? what scents can I find there? Remember, a screen-play gives even the tiniest of details, as to whether a character will be entering stage right, or stage left. Where in the room the person will stop, etc. You cannot possibly get too many details. If your mind is working against you, and at every turn it comes up with a reason that your place won't be safe or relaxing, give it another detail to negate that reason. Make it the place you want it to be.

Once you have your safe-space in mind and you have given yourself as many details as you possibly can, then come meet with us tomorrow @ My DBT Life @ 2pm PST (really meet with us anyways :) ) What we will cover from there, once we have each had an opportunity to share a bit, is how we start training yourself to react to this safe-space positively, so that when you are in distress, you will be able to readily go there and begin feelings its peaceful affects.

If you choose to share with us tomorrow, we will be asking that you complete each of these sentences:

My safe place is ....

My safe place makes me feel ...

Time permitting we will talk a bit about cue-controlled relaxation. (for those of you who have The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, pages 31-35)

I look forward to hearing all about your safe space!



MJ ~ mj@mydbtlife.com

*Click here to discuss this weeks post with the group*




Thank you for being an important part of My DBT Life . com!

To benefit fully from our online peer-support group please:

  1. Subscribe to our weekly blog – http://www.mydbtlife.com

  2. Follow us on Twitter for frequent mindfulness Tweets – @mydbtlife

  3. Join our forum for Peer-Support & discussions about the weekly post – Forum

  4. Join our Face Book page to increase awareness of our services – F.B. PAGE


If you would like to help in financially supporting our efforts please visit our Donations page to find out – How are my donations used?

If you can’t help financially at this time that’s OK! You can still help out:

  • Post a link to http://www.mydbtlife.com on any page that you own: Face Book, My Space, Twitter, Your BLOG or Your Website- Every link helps us reach the ones who need these services!

  • Volunteer some of your time as a moderator in our forum. If you are certified as a peer-support person or just a friendly listening ear with experience, all are welcome to donate their precious time to help others in similar situations. Please E-mail us for more information!


Thank you!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th - July 11th, 2010

Sorry everyone! We will not be having a post for this week. We are preparing for our first live-on-line group meeting for tomorrow Monday, July 5th, 2010 @ 2 p.m. PST.

Please come join us... My DBT Life Forum

In the future the live-group meetings will not interfere with our weekly posts, right now I am just getting the feel of these changes. Thanks for your understanding!

*Click here to discuss this weeks post with the group*




Thank you for being an important part of My DBT Life . com!

To benefit fully from our online peer-support group please:

  1. Subscribe to our weekly blog – http://www.mydbtlife.com

  2. Follow us on Twitter for frequent mindfulness Tweets – @mydbtlife

  3. Join our forum for Peer-Support & discussions about the weekly post – Forum

  4. Join our Face Book page to increase awareness of our services – F.B. PAGE


If you would like to help in financially supporting our efforts please visit our Donations page to find out – How are my donations used?

If you can’t help financially at this time that’s OK! You can still help out:

  • Post a link to http://www.mydbtlife.com on any page that you own: Face Book, My Space, Twitter, Your BLOG or Your Website- Every link helps us reach the ones who need these services!

  • Volunteer some of your time as a moderator in our forum. If you are certified as a peer-support person or just a friendly listening ear with experience, all are welcome to donate their precious time to help others in similar situations. Please E-mail us for more information!


Thank you!

MJ ~ mj@mydbtlife.com