As much as I complain about my group therapy, I know the mindfulness stuff works. It's one of those skills that you really need to practice, after 2 years in private therapy (I wasn't the best student), it's finally becoming automatic.
In group therapy we were taught a new mindfulness technique. List three things you see, hear, smell, taste and touch at that moment and observe them. The first time I tried it I thought, hmmm not bad.
I work a little too much, commute a little too much and too far. I get super pissed when people waste my time, because I have so little of it for myself. I missed my train because I couldn't get past a bunch of people on the stairs, so I had to wait about an hour for the next one.
I was livid. I really wanted to kick something, or scream, (I didn't. I was a little hard on the lock to a bathroom door) I kept quietly whispering 'fuck, fuck, fuck." and cursing all the slow walkers that got in my way. This kinda of stuff will usually piss me off endlessly. I will go over every possible scenario, scolding myself for not saying "MOVE!" or "Seriously people do you all have to walk in a line blocking everything?" or for assuming I could make it. Sometimes it doesn't make me angry, but I almost start crying instead because I'm so tired and hungry. It hasn't happened in a while. Like over 6 months. I've been really good at letting go of that shit. So, I was kinda shocked at my reaction. Immediately I knew I was stressed out.
(The talking to various versions of myself comes from my work with my private therapist. The sensible one has become more vocal lately.)
My more sensible self saying "It's happened before, let's get an ice cream, read our book and make a funny tweet about it. It sucks, but there's nothing we can do about."
My more delusional / angry self: "NO. I WANTED TO BE HOME. I'm so sick of this shit. I'm so sick slow ass people. I hate the fact I have too many jobs. I hate living in different places. I hate this world. I hate the economy. I hate that I have no free time. I hate it!"
Sensible self "Okay, yes we are totally stressed. But that will be over in a week or two. What we can do is some of the work on the train home. Get an ice cream or a healthier option and accept that shit happens. You like your jobs, you just hate time sensitive issues."
delusional / angry self: "Fine we can be fat and poor now. I'm tired. I hate people. They always touch you, and get in the way, and they don't even mean too, they just fucking suck."
Sensible self "Well, let's do our group therapy homework and get something out of that while we wait. No one is gonna be in this section because it's too late in the evening. Let's go up there away from the crowd."
I found a quiet section of the train station and decided to try the 3 things technique.
It started out a little nasty "I SEE A PERSON I WANT TO STAB. No we don't, because that will cause more problems than it will solve and it isn't that person's fault and we hate when innocent people suffer for no reason. I SEE A PERSON WHO MADE ME LATE, YOU SLOW WALKING TEXTING FUCKER! They aren't even going to the same direction as us. Leave them alone. Moving on, what else do you see that isn't you projecting your anger on someone."
I kept reeling it in. I ended on "I see a brick, I see a ceiling, I see the names of cities, I hear my heartbeat etc."
It was really calming. And in 10- 15 minutes I was done. I was okay. Things were back in perspective. I felt like myself again. There's was a bit of sadness, because I'm not in control of my feels as I thought I was. I got a small smoothie and even chatted up a nice lady who was lost in the train station and had also missed her train and the previous day got on the wrong train. I helped get to her correct train and made her feel better about getting lost in the station. She made me feel better about missing my train.
We joked about missing trains and how impressively frustrating it is, especially because it added another hour onto what was already 3 hour trip, and I still had another hour of commuting. It ended up a good night. I got some work done, and relaxed a bit.
As I sat on the train, I felt good about the way I handled it. I had my meltdown, and I handled it.
And even though I dislike some aspects of my group, and I disagree with some of the diagnosis. I think it will ultimately do me a lot of good.