Accentuate the Positive
Posted by AEJ1967
8th Feb 2014

I've been preparing for my DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) Graduate Group which meets on Tuesday. We are at the stage where we are preparing for discharge from service, a usually painful process and especially so, for those of us with BPD. As part of that process members of the group have been trying to decide how we want to move forward, not only with our recovery from BPD, but with our lives. This will be critical for most of us as we have been involved in cycles of admission and discharge from service which has been so unhelpful in the past.

The exercise I'm hoping to present to the group is to draw what is called the DBT House. It is a very positive exercise, because it forces us to focus on what structures we have in place rather than on what will be missing when we finish our treatment and are finally discharged. Amazing leap forward for a group of people who have been used to all or nothing thinking, lack of personal identity and absolute fear of rejection/abandonment. The exercise asks us to list our values as the 'foundation' to the house. Then to consider what or who supports us as the walls. The roof causes us to consider what or who protects us. As the house is built up as a picture it allows us to consider the very real positives we have built into our lives and to recognise where there are gaps that prevent us from reaching our ultimate goal of 'living a life worth living'.

As I have gone through the preparation process this morning, I have amazed myself by just how far I have come in even a year. From someone who frequently thought and said 'I am not made for this world' or 'I'm inside my own head, screaming and no one can hear me', I can now see myself as someone with the basics to allow me to build a more stable life. It is uplifting and encouraging, but I recall the painful steps towards this point.

It has not been a sprint - which was a long learning curve for me, I have always lived my life at 100 mph by putting 110% into everything, including my breakdowns! So I have had to learn the process of living actively through each moment and accepting myself as I am in each moment. Not great for someone lacking in patience and stubbornly refusing to see that it took me a lifetime of suffering and trauma to become ill and therefore my recovery will be slow. More than anything I am grateful that I have now reached a point where I can see the ups and downs as being less extreme, and moving towards what is able to be managed within the framework I have been building for myself.

If you are in the process of recovery - give yourself a break when you have a dip - accentuate the positive and don't despair when life goes down as well as its up. You have made it this far, you have chosen life and you can find the energy for the next moment. That's all you need.

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