Last Year I finished my ERPS (Emotional Regulation Interpersonal Skills) group and wrote about it on groupthink. I started the 6 month DBT program this week. I had some mixed feelings about it.
I'll start with the dislikes, then go mixed, and then positive.
I really dislike the new room. It's very small and the lighting is so clinical. They do change the lights for mindfulness, but it's not much better. It's just a room. But it's small and the furniture is a little too big for it. I'm not looking forward to having the entire group in there, we were missing a few people and room felt full already. It's also that the room is too hospital-ly. It sets me off into a lesser trauma mode. I did explain that briefly, and that I'll find it distracting for a little while. I know in about a month or so, I'll be use to it.
I was not pleased that a member of the group who I didn't particularly like is also in the same group as me. When I was told we were put together I could not play my poker face. They remind me of my ex, controlling and emotionally manipulative. I tried to be open and not judge-y, but at times I wanted to say "maybe if you focused on you and what you can control in yourself and not how you can control others or how others should change for you, you might be better off." I can't think of a way to say it in tone that doesn't sound like I am projecting my ex on to them. And I'm not sure if I am projecting. But they rub me the wrong way.
I also felt kinda bad for them today because they seemed unusually emotionally injured and maybe disconnected. So, I just didn't say anything and tried to be compassionate, without compromising myself. I'm gonna have to say something at some point, because I won't do six months of them trying to tell me what to do or pretending like the care about me. There was an incident in ERPS where they advised me not to do something because of their concern for me, I was annoyed because A) you don't know me, I only do what I can and I am not reckless B) that's the shit my ex always pulled on me (e.g Don't walk at night because I'm so concerned that because you'll talk to anyone that you'll get sold into human trafficking and I'll have to deal with it. e.g Do you really think you should be eating that? Because I'm worried about your health and you said you wanted to loose weight. See I'm just trying to help you.)
Stuff like that angers me, like when people say "You're a little broken." I'm not fucking broken, I am bloody survivor and I am healing, so fuck off. I'm not a child, I am doing the best I can to take care of myself and don't patronize me.
I'm mixed about the group leaders, but I always have mixed feelings about new things. Also, there seems to be a bit of 'teaching through the experience of others.' So it seems like content taken from our lives will be used as teaching moments and more experienced members will take on a teaching role. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's relatable, which is good but I'm not always in agreement about the content of the lesson or co-opting another person's life to teach something. It can be problematic, but it can be useful as long as the voice of the speaker is respected.
We started with distress tolerance. How to manage how your feelings in moments of distress to either tolerate it or get out of the situation. Yes, there are situations that you should not tolerate but get the fuck out. The example was anxious driving. This you should tolerate (excluding in reckless icy death storm conditions). I totally related to this example because I am scared of driving. I've always been anxious, but I got my license and will drive when necessary, but I don't like it. I think of everything: Is that dick gonna move into my lane, You didn't signal you ass! I'm gonna kill someone with this machine! Why is everyone so stupid? I hate you all. I am so terrible at this. I should have done this. I am terrible driver. OH FUCK SNOW!!!!!! etc etc.
When I overcame my fear of driving with the help of my family, my ex (a non-driver), helped undo all that work by constantly critiquing my driving. Telling me how awful I was at it, and that I was dangerous. My sister got so angry at him and argued with him constantly, and he just said "well I don't feel safe in a car with you either." He was mad because during a snow storm, we slid and I corrected it so we went into the ditch a little instead of all the way, but quickly got back onto the road. I did the right thing, but I am apparently deadly.
I'm not a reckless driver. I like speed on dry roads, I'm not great at 4 way stops when there are 4 people there. I know it's who ever got there first, but who do you yield to again? I'm overly cautious when turning because I don't always gage distance very well. Highway driving is easy. I hate town driving and parking.
When I drove over the holidays it had been over 6 months. I tried to keep myself in the present, check your mirror, check your speed, check, check check. I tried to reassure myself that despite one accident, I was still good at this. I know this road. I know this car. I know how to be safe.
That's what we talked about. Looking at facts, self validation and staying in the present. Know that you've done this before and it was fine. Assure yourself that you are good at this. And instead of thinking of all the possibilities, stay in the present.
I'm gonna challenge myself to drive again. Small steps. Just to the local store and then work bigger like I did last time. I will of course get into an accident at sometime, but it doesn't mean I should stop living.