Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 7th - 14th, 2010

Now that we have established a plan for a crisis plan and re-acquainted ourselves with our body awareness, let's go forward with our purpose. Why are we doing all of this work? Sure, we say for a life worth living, but exactly what is a life worth living? Only you have the answer to that. It is your life, and it has to be your worth. What is worth to you? Do you feel as though you are living a fulfilling life by your career advancement? Is all of this worth it to you if you have strong family ties? Maybe a life worth living is something definable entirely different. You may measure the worth in your life by the days going by without crisis, effective choice making, positive self-talk, participation in daily activities. Whatever it is for you is what we are trying to capture. Without knowing what your goal is, how can you possibly aim properly? You can't.

Gathering data about yourself is going to come in handy for this exercise too. No matter how often you have done this practice over the past year, 5-years, etc. you need to keep doing it. Not every day of course, but often enough that you are making adjustments for every piece of you that changes. You are changing, if your goals and purposes of building a life worth living isn't changing with you then you are setting yourself up for a crash. No need to steal tools from yourself, you already have the chips stacked against you with a mental illness, let's not make it harder for ourselves. The other way to view this, try and see it as a vacation. We know all too well how the only person that does not get a break from the reality of you, is you. There is a vacation of sorts for you too. You work hard day-in and day-out. Working the skills, making your meetings, groups, therapy, homework, mindfulness... you go through the thought processing for what is effective in this situation, what isn't? Well guess what? You get to take a break from all of that! No, you don't get to go out and start behaving badly, but you do get to say, "alright self, I have been working really hard. I will take the next few days and reassess. I will 'shelve' anything that I need to make decisions about or worry about until after my vacation. I will just observe. Make sure my goals are the same, make sure my purpose is still meaningful" 

Can you even imagine it? Seriously, let's say you have had an amazing 5 month stretch. Things have gone fabulous. Not many complaints of effective choices, no crisis' ... vacation time comes up, and now you reassess. How many areas will you now realize you have reason for celebration? What if you hadn't stopped to reassess, would you have noticed your accomplishment? Would it have gone unnoticed? What a tragic thing if it had. Of course the other side to this, is take those same 5 months, let's now say they have gone absolutely wretched. It feels as though you have one failure after another and you still cannot even grasp the idea of life ever being worth  living. Clearly something isn't working and it certainly isn't YOU. You work hard every day, every minute. To breath is work, and hard work at that. There is no need for you to be beating your head against the same wall. Reassess. If your purpose isn't meaningful you will not build a life worth living.

A life that is worth living is full of meaning. Naturally your purpose must then be meaningful. What is your mission? Your fuel? What makes you do this? And yes, if right now it is your husband threatening hospitalization that is making you do this, or a partner threatening a terminated relationship that is driving you into this fight for your life right now, then that is your mission. Trust me, that will change. I won't kid you, if that stays your mission, you will not get up over that mountain. But if it is what is driving you right now, then embrace that reason, move forward and at a future assessment of your mission or purpose you will see your growth from that mission to another one. One that is more for you. You will only get through this if it is ultimately for you, but there is no shame in that road starting out with it being for another person. 

Take some time with yourself and figure it out. What makes you move on this? Why DBT? Why recovery? Why not suicide? Why not a constant dysphoric state fueled by alcohol or drugs? Give yourself a bit to grasp this, remember this will be the fuel that you gets you through the next few months. When you have something in mind that makes butterflies come up inside. That makes you smile, motivated and encourage...celebrate. Celebrate it - that is quite an accomplishment. If after much consideration you are unable to come up with something that just grabs you, don't worry. You have some default purposes. They may not get you going as well or effective as something deeply meaningful, however they will work until you can find something else. Of course what that means is you don't stop looking for meaning or purpose in everything that you come in contact with. This may be necessary anyways, maybe you don't know enough about the positives that make you anyways. There certainly isn't any harm in getting to know the "right" things about yourself! So, you ask: "What is my default purpose or mission"? I am going to use a word that should be considered a "bad" word when referring to DBTwith myself if I don't make recovery #1 on my list." .... and off you go. Learning the skills, working them, and when reassessment comes along I promise you that you will know more about yourself and you may be able to find something more meaningful. Another good default is this: most of us out there have at least one person that we consider to be a valuable person. We value their opinion and as such, if they are rooting for you to make these changes, then that can be your purpose or mission until you gain more confidence in yourself. 

This confidence will be key. That is what will make the switch from your purpose being for someone else, to being for you

OK, I will dismount my soap box and send you to it. Report back on the purpose statements that you come up with. We would love to hear about them, share them, and exchange ideas! 


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