Knives scare the crap out of me. I don’t like having them around, or even seeing them out. Especially sharp ones.
Most people who are in dbt have experienced quite a bit of horrendous suicidal ideation. Some people have actually attempted suicide – but if not, there have at least been thoughts, or fantasties of `what’, `where’, `how’, ‘when’? I have spent probably hundreds of hours both fantasizing about suicide, and actually researching potential `outs’.
Please understand that I did not want to die. I am, in fact, terrified of death….to the same degree as Woody Allen. Totally neurotic. BUT, I was at the point that my primary motivation was to do anything, Anything, to stop the pain/anxiety/panic/overwhelm/dread/terror/add almost any negative emotion. And, I was afraid of `going crazy’. I didn’t know exactly what `going crazy’ meant, but it included my not having control over my actions – including actions related to my suicidal ideation. When I got to the point of `oh my god, I’m afraid of what I’m going to do…’, I would take myself to the ER, and really quite often have to force my way into the psych ward. I thought it was the only place I would be safe.
That was 2 years ago. Not a long time, really. Today, I still have some SI (suicidal ideation). Not much though. I have `triggers’, such as knives. They remind me of my previous thinking, which sometimes leads to, `oh my god, what if that thinking happens again?’, which sometimes even leads to, ‘oh shit, I’m going crazy’……until I remember that I don’t have to believe my thoughts. My thoughts, in themselves, are not real. I don’t like them, but they’re not dangerous. They cannot hurt me. Believing them, especially when they are happening when I am highly, highly emotionally aroused can be dangerous – but the thoughts themselves are just words. Blah, blah, blah, blah….blah blah.
It takes time, and taking some risks. And trusting yourself and that you have actually internalized the skills. And I needed to realize that creating a crisis and ending up in the hospital was absolutely the worst thing that I could do, for my own emotional well-being. My anxiety, panic and complete overwhelm had only ever become worse in a psych. ward setting. I was terrified as an inpatient, and was usually discharged, even more demoralized than when I went in, within 24 hours.
When you first start in dbt, you will make a Crisis Survival Plan, and go over Crisis Survival Skills. If you are someone who has SI, and/or ends up in the hospital when there is a crisis, keep this information with you whenever you can. Remind yourself over and over again what your plan is and what skills you are going to practice…and they will become automatic. Honestly, if going into crisis has become a `way of life’ or even `coping mechanism’ for you, this will be really scary at first. But it doesn’t stay that way. I promise. I did it.
So take care of yourself, and do get help if you need it. If you are in dbt with a dbt therapist, you should be able to call for coaching. But try the skills on your own first, and in time you will learn that you can do it on your own.
SI may not go away. Knives still scare me. But my thoughts related to them don’t scare me as much as they did. In turn, I have fewer of those scary thoughts.
Oh no, am I becoming positive? I’m kidding in a way, but I feel like all my posts end on an encouraging note – and I’m not an `encouraging note’ kind of girl. So, ummmmm, “your mother smells of elderberries”. Wait. That sounds wrong. Okay, time to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail AGAIN. Coz as much as I LOVE dbt, Monty Python actually IS the holy grail to me. Fortunately, I can have both.
Damnit. Again with the positive endings! *shaking fist in the air*.
PS: I’m writing these posts before I go to bed and I’m usually too tired to check them. So I apologize for all the commas and other crimes of grammar and spelling.