For this introduction, I need to use the words of a client of mine who once told me “I don’t do the homework you set me because I don’t want to turn into some sort of hairy Fairy!” and I kind of get where he was coming from. He considered himself as an “alpha male” and a club bouncer by job and didn’t want to come across as some sort of hippy-like wellness practitioner. The problem is he suffers from many of the symptoms of BPD which means he does need to gain some life control at the same time. His problem is he believes practising wellness will turn him into someone he is not, but that is not the point in wellness teachings…
Wellness and thoughtfulness is a big part of DBT, but you can just be what is called “DBT informed” this means you use elements of DBT in your everyday life, but in a non-adherent way. This is especially true with BPD as you can prevent some of the more intrusive thoughts and actions from happening in your life without suddenly needing to do some Yoga or breathing exercises on the spur of the moment. Talk based therapy is not about trying to turn the patient into a “hairy Fairy!” it is about giving you the power of control over your thoughts and actions. When you have the knowledge you need you can then implement it in any way you want.
Much like last week, needing to lose some weight doesn’t mean you have to be a fitness fanatic and getting better with DBT doesn’t mean you have to implement it fully into your life. Much like the ability to swim you only need to have the knowledge to swim in order to use it when you want. You don’t walk down the street doing the backstroke, and likewise, you won’t walk down the street after 52 weeks of therapy thinking about your every word and action for the rest of your days. By learning your trigger points and knowing the ways to prevent yourself from having a major meltdown is what will make you better. Talk based therapy and these self-help pages are not here to change who you are, they are here to give you the power of control and nothing more. You can be that “alpha male” you can be that strong, dependant friend. You can be who you want to be!
The point is to not be afraid to implement the suggestions and practising I am trying to teach you here. It is not going to change who you are if you don’t want it to. At the end of the day, you will be reading these pages because you are struggling in life and want to get better. Once all physical illnesses are checked off all that is left are issues with the mind of which you are fully in control. Talk therapy is all about teaching you to take that control and use it, not change your life and who you are.
This Week’s Homework: This week I want you to try and shake some of your negative thoughts and energies out of your body. You should do this in a locked room with the curtains drawn or maybe in a car in the middle of nowhere so no one can see you. Simply listen to some loud music of your choosing and sing and dance your heart out to a single song. Even if it’s a sad, haunting song it doesn’t matter. Try it just this once then go about your normal life. You will notice your feel more awake, more alert and much more able to handle the day ahead. This works especially well with those of you with BPD as it can give you more control and shake out some of the built-up anger all those intrusive thoughts bring to you. What I like about doing this (yes, I do this myself) is that you can do it anywhere and at any time. Personally, I am a Limp Bizkit fan so I get to shake out a LOT of anger. Try it yourself and let me know how you get on with it in the comments below (as well as what music you listen to).