bpd recovery

how about a shout out to the people who have the “ugly” symptoms like obsessing over others, having fits of rage, idolizing people, debating their validity constantly, crying over the tiniest things, depending on others for validation. shout out to the people who are frustrated with not being able to control their own mind. you guys rock! i understand that feeling and i’m here for you!

5

DBT Self-Help Resources: Emotions List

Using an Emotions List to help Label an Emotion

Some people are more adept at labelling their emotions than others. Some people just can’t seem to name what they are currently feeling. They might say that they felt bad or upset, but pinning down what that actually means for them is more challenging. Many people walk around in this kind of emotional fog.

Unfortunately, if you don’t know what you are feeling, you can’t do much to change it. People who can name their emotions are more capable of managing them, so it is important to become more familiar with your emotions and learn to identify them.

Once you are more capable of naming your emotions, you’ll have more choices in terms of what to do with an emotion if it makes you feel uncomfortable and you would prefer to at least reduce its intensity. Many people with emotion dysregulation grow up without learning this important information, so for some people it takes a lot of time to get the hang of naming their emotions. Be patient. If you get frustrated, reframe this process as if you are learning a new language. In fact, that’s exactly what is happening: you are learning the language of emotion.

Anytime you are unable to identify the emotion you are experiencing refer to the Emotions List. Reading through it, you should be able to find a word that closely describes the emotion that you are experiencing.

Grounding

WHAT IS GROUNDING?

Grounding is a set of simple strategies to  detach from emotional pain for example (cravings, self harm urges, emotional eating behaviour etc.) Grounding can also be a way of returning your attention to the outside world and away from yourself. In the case of dissociation.

WHY PRACTICE GROUNDING TECHNIQUES?

When you are overwhelmed with emotional pain, you need a way to detach so that you can gain control over your feelings and stay safe. As long as you are grounding, you are more likely to be able to overcome urges. Grounding ‘anchors’ you to reality.

Many people with PTSD and dissociative disorders struggle with either feeling too much (overwhelming emotions and memories) or too little (numbing and dissociation). In grounding, you attain balance between the two—conscious of reality and ability to tolerate it.

GUIDELINES:

§ Grounding can be done any time, anywhere and no one has to know.

·       §  Use grounding when you are: faced with a trigger, having a flashback or dissociating.

·       §  Keep your eyes open, look around the room, and make sure the light is good to stay in touch with the present.

·       §  Rate your mood before and after to test whether it worked. Before grounding, rate your level of

·       §  emotional pain, or your level of dissociation. Then re-rate it afterwards. Has it gone down?

·       Try not to make judgements or think negatively. The idea is to distract from the negatives.

·       §  Stay neutral—no judgments of good or bad.

·       §  Focus on the present, not the past or future.

·       §  Grounding is much more active than relaxation exercises and focuses your attention.

Grounding is deemed to be a better way of coping with PTSD and dissociative disorders than relaxation practice. As during relaxation the focus is too much within the body, which at the worst may bring on flashbacks.

WAYS TO GROUND

MENTAL GROUNDING

o    Describe to yourself in detail your surroundings: For example “The walls are white, there are three pink chairs and a blue sofa. There is a picture of a brown border collie on the wall with a gold frame around it.” You can do this out loud if appropriate, or in your head if you are in public.

o    Play a game like “Scattergories” in your head or with a friend or family member. Choose a letter of the alphabet and try and come up with as many examples of a category you choose as you can. For example C … Boys names: Christopher, Curtis, Carl, Charles etc.

o    Do an age progression. IThis can be particularly useful if you have dissociated or regressed to a younger alter or state. For example in my experiences I have an alter who is three. So I might say… Now I am four, I am at home with Mummy and Daddy and I can do (an example of an age appropriate activity) alone. Work your way up until you are back to your current age. This may not always work for little alters, but can help.

o    Describe an everyday activity in great detail. For example if you like gardening “I open the shed door and pull out the lawn mower, I connect it to a power supply and climb on. I turn the key and put it into drive….”

o    Imagine. For example make up a nice little story in your head, or out loud. “I am putting some roller skates on, and I am slowly gliding away from all my emotional suffering down a beautiful smooth lane, having fun listening to my favourite music LOUD!”

o    Say a safety statement. ‘My name is _________; I am safe right now. I am in the present, not the past. I am in _____________ the date is _____________.

·        Read something, saying each word to yourself. Or read each letter backwards so that you focus or the letters and not on the meaning of words.

·        Use humour: For example have a “Funny Memory Bank” where you store up your favourite witty moments for those detached, rainy days.  

·        Count to 100 or say the alphabet very slowly or very fast.

·        Repeat something meaningful to yourself, such as a prayer or quote. For example you could use the Serenity Prayer.

PHYSICAL GROUNDING

û Run cool or warm water over your hands.

û  Grab tightly onto your chair as hard as you can.

·       û  Touch various objects around you: a pen. keys, your clothing, the table, the walls. Pay close attention to colours, weights, textures etc.

·       û  Firmly stamp your feet on the floor, literally grounding yourself. Feel the tension of your feet against the pressure of the floor.

·       û  Carry a ground object in your pocket—a small object such as a rock, stone, crystal, bead, piece of string or cloth, or a stress ball that you can touch whenever you feel triggered.

·       û  Jump up and down.

·       û  Stretch reach upwards and pull yourself tall. Extend your arms, legs, fingers and toes.

·       û  Walk slowly, noticing each footstep.

·       û  Eat something yummy. Notice the flavours, textures and feelings that come up for you.

SOOTHING GROUNDING

·        Use Cheerleading statements, as if you were talking to a small child. For example “You are having a difficult time adjusting to these chanes, but you are doing so well. You should be proud of yourself.”

·        Think of favorites. Think of your favorite color, animal, season, food, time of day, TV show.

·        Picture people you care about. Even get a photobook made of positive pictures or pictures of people you love! Such a simple nice way to ground, and you can get A4 photo books at the moment from GroupOn for under £7!! (I in no way endorse them I just thought it was a good offer!)

·        Remember the words to an inspiring song, quotation or poem that you like or feel positively about. Maybe write out the words and decorate it for your wall.

·        Remember a safe place. Describe a place that you find very soothing it could be when you went on holiday to the beach, or walking in the woods. Or just a time you felt safe and peaceful at home in your living room or in bed.

·        Plan out a safe treat for yourself, such as a trip to a coffee shop with a friend, making a nice dinner or a bath with some nice toiletries or candles if you feel safe to use them

·        Think of things you are looking forward to in the next week. Perhaps schedule your time so you build some structure for chores and pleasurable activities. It can help to know what you are doing and also not just sit at home with nothing to do. This can cause difficulties.

WHAT IF GROUNDING DOESN’T WORK?

Practice as often as possible. Even when you don’t feel overwhelmed or dissociative. This way it will come more naturally to you when you are struggling.

Practice faster. Speeding up the pace gets you focused on the outside world quickly.
Try grounding for a Ioooong time 20 mins at least, and then repeat !!
Try to notice whether you do better with physical or mental or soothing grounding.

Create your own methods of grounding. Any method you make up may be worth much more than those you read here because it is yours.

Start grounding early in a negative mood cycle. Start when you begin to feel the early warning signs of dissociation or when you have just started having a flashback.

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DBT Self-Help Resources: Ways to Describe Emotions

To be used with Emotion Regulation Worksheets 4, 4a

Also look at: Emotions List -  Using an Emotions List to help Label an Emotion

Search results for Emotion Dysregulation - Definition of Emotion Dysregulation

Source: Marsha M. Linehan (2015) DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition The Guilford Press

Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan.

  • person: "you're obsessed with your mental illness"
  • me: i know right? its like it impacts every part of my life.
  • person: "it's all in your head"
  • me: i know right? it's almost like it's a MENTAL illness.
  • person: "why do you let it affect you and stop you from being able to do things?"
  • me: i know right? it's almost like it's an ACTUAL ILLNESS
Depersonalisation and Derealisation Information

We get a lot of questions on DPDR, so I thought I’d pull a little information together on the topic. 

Hope this helps someone and everyone is OK.

Depersonalisation and derealisation are often difficult for people who experience these states to describe.

In general people experience a sense of detachment from reality and a detachment form their sense of self. In most cases these two symptoms co-occur.

Symptoms are often triggered by stressors in life, severe anxiety and commonly also drug use. Symptoms can be transient and last only a few weeks, if this is the case generally no treatment is required. If symptoms are persistent or have a large impact on functioning, then it is the best course of action to seek some professional guidance from a psychiatrist or psychologist who has experience with dissociative disorders.

Depersonalisation is not just detachment from the body “That isn’t my leg” but it can further into thoughts as well such as “That thought isn’t my own” or “My head is filled with cotton wool” etc. Also a person may detach form their basic needs such as hunger, thirst etc.

Derealisation means a person may feel like they are in a bubble, or a dream or like they are detached from what is going on around them in some way. Some people may experience viewing things in 2D or they may lose colour or seem flatter than they otherwise would be.

I want to talk
about what happened
without mentioning
how much it hurt.
There has to be a way.
To care for the wounds
Without reopening them.
To name the pain
without inviting it back
into me
—  If there is a way, I’ll take it.
Characteristics & Traits of Borderline Personality Disorder

Alienation - The act of cutting off or interfering with an individual’s relationships with others.

“Always” and “Never” Statements - “Always” and “Never” Statements are declarations containing the words “always” or “never”. They are commonly used but rarely true.

Anger - People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.

Baiting - A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.

Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Bullying - Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.

Catastrophizing - The habit of automatically assuming a “worst case scenario” and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.

Chaos Manufacture - Unnecessarily creating or maintaining an environment of risk, destruction, confusion or mess.

Cheating - Sharing a romantic or intimate relationship with somebody when you are already committed to a monogamous relationship with someone else.

Circular Conversations - Arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no resolution.

Cognitive Dissonance - A psychological term for the discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values. People who suffer from personality disorders often experience cognitive dissonance when they are confronted with evidence that their actions have hurt others or have contradicted their stated morals.

“Control-Me” Syndrome - This describes a tendency which some people have to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or “acting-out” nature.

Denial - Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.

Dependency - An inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being.

Depression - When you feel sadder than you think you should, for longer than you think you should - but still can’t seem to break out of it - that’s depression. People who suffer from personality disorders are often also diagnosed with depression resulting from mistreatment at the hands of others, low self-worth and the results of their own poor choices.

Dissociation - Dissociation is a psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.

Domestic Theft - Consuming or taking control of a resource or asset belonging to (or shared with) a family member, partner or spouse without first obtaining their approval.

Emotional Blackmail - A system of threats and punishments used in an attempt to control someone’s behaviors.

Engulfment - An unhealthy and overwhelming level of attention and dependency on another person, which comes from imagining or believing one exists only within the context of that relationship.

Sense of Entitlement - An unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.

False Accusations - Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else.

Favoritism - Favoritism is the practice of systematically giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a family or group of peers.

Fear of Abandonment - An irrational belief that one is imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded or replaced.

Harassment - Any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior by one individual towards another.

High and Low-Functioning - A High-Functioning Personality-Disordered Individual is one who is able to conceal their dysfunctional behavior in certain public settings and maintain a positive public or professional profile while exposing their negative traits to family members behind closed doors. A Low-Functioning Personality-Disordered Individual is one who is unable to conceal their dysfunctional behavior from public view or maintain a positive public or professional profile.

Hoovers & Hoovering - A Hoover is a metaphor taken from the popular brand of vacuum cleaners, to describe how an abuse victim trying to assert their own rights by leaving or limiting contact in a dysfunctional relationship, gets “sucked back in” when the perpetrator temporarily exhibits improved or desirable behavior.

Hysteria - An inappropriate over-reaction to bad news or disappointments, which diverts attention away from the real problem and towards the person who is having the reaction.

Identity Disturbance - A psychological term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view

Impulsiveness - The tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.

Infantilization - Treating a child as if they are much younger than their actual age.

Invalidation - The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.

Lack of Object Constancy - An inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision.

Learned Helplessness - Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do.

Magical Thinking - Looking for supernatural connections between external events and one’s own thoughts, words and actions.

Moments of Clarity - Spontaneous periods when a person with a Personality Disorder becomes more objective and tries to make amends.

Mood Swings - Unpredictable, rapid, dramatic emotional cycles which cannot be readily explained by changes in external circumstances.

Neglect - A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.

Normalizing - Normalizing is a tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive or inappropriate behaviors. In essence, normalizing is the manipulation of another human being to get them to agree to, or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms or their own basic code of behavior.

No-Win Scenarios - When you are manipulated into choosing between two bad options

Panic Attacks - Short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as hyperventilating, shaking, sweating and chills.

Parentification - A form of role reversal, in which a child is inappropriately given the role of meeting the emotional or physical needs of the parent or of the family’s other children.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior - Expressing negative feelings in an unassertive, passive way.

Pathological Lying - Persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.

Projection - The act of attributing one’s own feelings or traits to another person and imagining or believing that the other person has those same feelings or traits.

Push-Pull - A chronic pattern of sabotaging and re-establishing closeness in a relationship without appropriate cause or reason.

Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression - Explosive verbal, physical or emotional elevations of a dispute. Rages threaten the security or safety of another individual and violate their personal boundaries.

Sabotage - The spontaneous disruption of calm or status quo in order to serve a personal interest, provoke a conflict or draw attention.

Scapegoating - Singling out an individual or group for unmerited negative treatment or blame.

Selective Competence - The practice of demonstrating different levels of intelligence or ability depending on the situation or environment.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia - The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.

Self-Harm - Self Harm, also known as self-mutilation, self-injury or self-abuse is any form of deliberate, premeditated injury inflicted on oneself, common among adolescents and among people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. The most common forms are cutting and poisoning/overdosing.

Self-Loathing - An extreme hatred of one’s own self, actions or one’s ethnic or demographic background.

Self-Victimization - Self-Victimization or “playing the victim” is the act of casting oneself as a victim in order to control others by soliciting a sympathetic response from them or diverting their attention away from abusive behavior.

Shaming - The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.

Situational Ethics - A philosophy which promotes the idea that, when dealing with a crisis, the end justifies the means and that a rigid interpretation of rules and laws can be set aside if a greater good or lesser evil is served by doing so.

Splitting - The practice of regarding people and situations as either completely “good” or completely “bad”.

Thought Policing - A process of interrogation or attempt to control another individual’s thoughts or feelings.

Threats - Inappropriate, intentional warnings of destructive actions or consequences.

Triangulation - Gaining an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other.

Triggering - Small, insignificant or minor actions, statements or events that produce a dramatic or inappropriate response.

Tunnel Vision - A tendency to focus on a single concern, while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.