Taking It Day By Day
As the country is challenged by border closures and Victorians have been in strict lockdown for my small part of the world it has been relatively peaceful. For me living with or in the world of a person with mental health challenges makes your world quite small. It is all about each day and the few things you manage to achieve, how you travel with the ups and downs.
I found a course that I thought would help my daughter and then thought it would help if I understood what she was learning. I embarked on my own studies and enrolled in a Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) course. It has been one of the best things I’ve done on a personal level and from the perspective of understanding my daughters process. I see myself, my reactions, emotions and thoughts in a way I hadn’t been able to before. For those of you that aren’t aware of what DBT is or how it works, simplistically it looks at your mind like this.
In a nutshell we are trying to spend the majority of our time in wise mind and it is extremely interesting when you realise how little time you actually spend there. As kids we learn to write a pro’s and con’s list to help us work out what to do, if only we had been asked to write a list of what our rational/reasoning mind and our emotional mind would do. We then could have worked out what the wise choice was, the answer lies between the two. I feel like for the first time in my life I am thinking about things and understanding how my emotions effect those thoughts.
So, I have started on my own journey, which was timely after years of living in survival mode rolling with each day as it came. It has also been reassuring to see the pleasure in my daughters face as she talks about what it means that I am doing the course to understand her process better. To be honest it has been a great thing to do for myself.
My daughter has gone from strength to strength after participating in a DBT based three weeks in hospital program. She completed the program twice and after the second time we were able to find a one-year DBT program outside of the hospital which offers extensive support. The change in her and the ability to sit with her distress has already increased immeasurably. For the first time in years I can see that although she still struggles daily, she has systems in place to help her manage these times. I am sure that age is also a contributing factor, but it is such a relief to have found a practical course that offers regular support for an extended period of time.
We now enjoy evening walks with the dog (Buddy), where we can chat about the day, marvel at the moon and sometimes lie on the grass to feel more grounded. We have met a community of dog lovers and Buddy has many new four-legged friends although I would have to say that Gripper, name after Marcus Agrippa a Roman General is his favourite. Life is good, we take it day by day and that is working for us.