I have a very, very, very philosophical theory about recovering and getting better – it starts with “I’ll get better” followed by “then I’ll try therapy.” A little contradictory, no? You don’t start biking without a helmet, bump your head, and say, “I’ll consider wearing a helmet.” You very well will wear a damn helmet if you think you really care about your own safety and well being!
Make dialectical behavioural therapy a priority this year, which is a self-loving action instead of a knee-jerk reaction when you begin to feel that you’ve hit rock bottom, anxious, depressed, and suicidal.
Practicing DBT is not a sign of failure but instead, a badge of success, that you have overcome your fear of dipping into the unknown! Hey, maybe you don’t see it as a failure, but if you’re not doing it then why aren’t you? Is it because you feel like you’ll get better on your own, with some time, and it’ll just pass… and when it does, maybe you’ll look into it then?
Waiting to see if your anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts will “go away” on its own might actually go away on its own, but only temporarily.
If you’ve ever hurt any part of your muscle or joints, you’ve probably iced it and waited to see if it would “go away” on its own at some point. Maybe you took some Tylenol and Advil, then the pain and swelling went away. However, there are usually little flare ups here and there as time goes by. So what? Physio(therapy) might just help to resolve the painful symptoms that comes with those twisted muscles and joints.
I know I’m being cheeky but DBT really works because it helps you learn that your mind and body are connected, and sometimes you need to start working with your body first before tackling the mind.
Bipolar disorder is related to your mental health but the healing doesn’t stop at the mind, and I know you know this because you’ve heard of the benefits of exercise and blah blah blah. Great, all very great news! But you’re not always going to jump out of bed or take a break from work to get your sweat on at the gym. And you might not have the time or energy to always prepare nutritious meals and feed your body healthy with good food.
Learning distress tolerance skills (DBT techniques) can help you manage your suicidal thoughts; kick those harmful addictive behaviours to the curb; and most importantly, move forward from feeling like living with bipolar disorder is stopping you from being like everyone else.
DBT hasn’t eliminated all my medications or stopped me from feeling crappy, but it has made the voices and hallucinations tolerable and my anxiety a little calmer. Nobody ever got anywhere by doing nothing, and waiting to see if it’ll “go away” is like doing nothing. Make it a goal this new year to give DBT a chance to change your life. Living with bipolar disorder doesn’t always have to suck and feel like, “This is it and all there is to my life.”