Hi there. So, it’s taken me a few days to actually get started because WordPress apparently doesn’t like Firefox, and I don’t understand computers.
Al right. So, last thursday.
Last thursday I went to pick up my car, that had been sitting unused in an outside lot for a few months. During that time the window had been broken and replaced, and the car had (supposedly) been cleaned up. Everything *should* have been fine. Ha! Well, I have no idea what happened to the car exactly, and have no way of finding out. All I know is that when I got into the car it stank of wet-clothes-left-in-a-bag-for-too-long, and literally had hundreds and hundreds of tufts of bile-colored mold over all the fabric surfaces. The seats, of course, were covered, as was the floor. Even the seatbelts had become biology experiments. I felt angry, but a bit numb, as the parking lot owner said “yes, he had seen the mold”, and offered nothing else. What to do? I didn’t know what to do, but was feeling so dysregulated that getting my SUDS down seemed like the most important thing to do. If I wanted to use other skills later, to try to get money back, or an apology…well, I could do that later.
First I needed to do ‘mindfulness of current emotion’. I was panicking, pissed off, and feeling victimized. My SUDS were around 70, so I did some deep breathing exercises. In for 4, hold for 8, out for 10. 5 times. What was I feeling then? My eyes were stinging from being teary, my stomach had a heavy log in it that was rolling, rolling. My arms and legs were tingling, my throat felt constricted, and my face felt numb. Okay, time to look outside myself and get grounded in reality. Sight: Blue car, red car, tow truck, cement, gravel, rock. Describe rock: Dark grey with light grey lines. Smooth. Cold. What do I hear? Rumbling, honking, barking. What do I feel? Wetness of raindrops, constriction of jeans around belly, cold and hard where my body connects with the ground. Smelling coffee.
Okay, that took 30 seconds. Now how am I feeling? Stomach is still rolling, but I feel `present’. I feel generally okay.
What am I going to do? I could go and talk to the guy who owns the lot. He’s drinking beer and smoking. What do I want from him? Well, an apology would be nice, and money to get the car cleaned would be nicer. Do I think I’ll get either? Of course, I don’t know unless I try. I have no control over what he’ll do. However, I really don’t want to try to reason with someone who’s been drinking. Maybe I’ll do it another time. Right now, I’m gonna get back in my car and leave. This takes some Radical Acceptance, because I am pretty hung up on wanting things to be `fair’. It’s helpful for me to remember that things often aren’t fair. If I can’t make this situation turn out in a way that seems `fair’ (to me), then I need to accept it. So, Radical Acceptance is next in line. How to practice Radical Acceptance when I’m driving? For me, practicing Willing Hands is the quickest way for my brain and body to `get’ that I need to `accept things as they are’. I don’t have to like them. And I don’t. I think the situation sucks, And at the same time I need to accept it. So, while I’m driving I visualize Willing Hands. It might sound weird, but it works for me.
In the next hour, I find out that the blinkers and headlights no longer work. I’m on a bridge, and notice the thought, “)(*Y% this! I’m going to drive off this (*#$^-ing bridge”….followed quickly by, “Oh, that’s just a thought. I don’t have to believe it.” I’m both frustrated that I still have thoughts of self-injury, And I am grateful that I can just notice them.
It wasn’t a great day. But I did okay. I handled it much, much more gracefully than I would have a couple of years ago. If I had more energy, I might even be grateful for the opportunity to practice so many skills. But I’m exhausted, so I take a hot bath and get my `Self-Soothe’ on.
Wherever I go, the skills follow. I don’t really trust it yet…but maybe if I keep writing the blog, I’ll be able to check-the-facts and start having some confidence!
PS: I don’t have time to edit the entry, so I apologize for all the inconsistent grammar, and the rambling. Please let me know if you get something out of it at all. Thanks!