I did something really thoughtless today, which would have needlessly hurt someone. As a result, I felt furious and disappointed in myself and could see no way to redress the situation without making it worse. So easily this could have resulted in a total meltdown, which would impact on Gracie, but I decided to turn to Marsha M. Linehan. I realised I was talking from emotion mind. The opposite of reasonable mind. I’m not sure what reasonable mind would be. Perhaps that I ticked off something on my to-do-list that I’d been forgetting about?
Wise mind would be a synthesis. I was thoughtless but I meant no harm. On the loving kindness side of wise mind, I can see that I speak harshly to myself when I act with much less than perfection. The horror for how I feel should not be similar as if I had killed someone in cold blood.
Yes, far less than perfect, but this exercise made me realise I can see myself lovingly, despite even, how others view me. Have I reconciled the difference between loving acceptance of myself and the need to change that Linehan raises? Far from it. But I’m working on it. I also believe that I am feeling much more resilient because of the help I’m getting through NDIA.
What I want to touch on now is a couple of positive things I’ve done recently:
- Gracie said she wanted to make her doll’s hair look neat. So we YouTubed some instructions about how to detangle and curl dolls’ hair.
The photos show during and after hair treatment. The result may not look like the instructional video, but we were proud of our attempts.
- I made a really tasty choko relish with stacks of dried fruit and 3 cups of malted cider. Gracie had fun cutting the fruit with her safety knife and stirring the ingredients together.
I gave a jar to my generous neighbour Ivan who gifted us the chokos. He regularly gives us his produce – basil, coriander, parsley, strawberries, bananas, potatoes, zucchini for which we are very grateful!
- I’m starting to organise pictures drawn and painted by Gracie – over the last 5 years! Or at least taking photos of them and making cards out of them and finally gaining the courage to throw them out.
Gracie had a great day despite me feeling low and I’m having a better evening with myself as company than I thought possible due to Linehan’s help. It was useful for me to consider what I am achieving: quality time with Little One, contributing to neighbourliness, and starting to organise the house.
Of course, there are some things you can’t take back. But hopefully, the changes I’m implementing in my life will encourage mindfulness to become something like second nature.
What is your experience of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy? What helps you to stay well? What challenges do you face when trying to stay well? You also may like to answer as a carer for someone who experiences mental health.