Getting There

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Yesterday was a better day.

This roller coaster I’ve been on seems to be slowing down. I’m not off the ride just yet, but the slower speed is a relief.

I’m proud of myself for one thing at least. Instead of doing what I would usually do, which is self-medicate with my benzo’s (more than what’s prescribed), I used the DBT Distress Tolerance skill of Urge Surfing and Riding The Wave. Just allowing myself to fully experience the urges for self-harm, medication, and alcohol, and feel the emotions that I so desperately wanted to numb.

I managed to cope with those intense feelings and urges by doing some physical activity right in my room, such as push ups. Something I find really soothing is lying stomach down on my fitness/exercise ball and slowly rolling back and forth, stopping for about 30 seconds every now and then to just breathe and feel the pressure and support against my stomach and upper body. It may sound weird, but it helps. I had to use a lot of my coping skills and tools, and I realized again just how important it is to have those.

Another urge I’ve had is to quit therapy (next session and the first of this year is next week Wednesday). Not because of my therapist, but because I’ve been wondering whether therapy in general is still worth it for me. Feeling like I’m sick of doing the work and still having these bad mental health days, to this extent. But I managed to avoid sending those emails and messages.

My main goal during times like these is to get through these moments in less destructive ways as far as possible. And I think I’ve managed that quite well so far.

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Daydreaming: My Saving Grace

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Growing up, daydreaming was my favourite escape. It was my way of coping. Of surviving.

In my daydreams I could enter a world where everything made sense. Where bad things didn’t happen, or even if they did, it was over quickly, I would be comforted, and everything turned out well.

I would sometimes daydream about a specific person. Most of the time it was a character on TV that would be my mother-figure or loving person in my life. It felt so safe. And you know why? Because in my fantasy world that person would never abandon me. They didn’t hurt me. If I saw a movie or read a book that involved a loving parental figure, I would play that story line out in my mind, inserting myself as the character that had that relationship with that person.

The downside of all of this was that sometimes when I would snap out of daydreaming mode, I would feel an incredible sadness because I knew it would/could never be real. But for me, the good side of daydreaming far outweighed the negative.

These days I don’t daydream nearly as much. Not because I’ve grown out of it (I don’t think we ever really do), but because I just don’t have the time anymore. Sometimes though the only way to calm myself down and stop feelings overwhelming me completely is to escape. Back into daydream mode. Where no one ever purposely hurts me. Where there’s plenty of love, genuine acceptance and affection. Where rejection and abandonment don’t exist. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been tuning into my own world a lot more often.

They say we need to be mindful. Be connected to reality. But sometimes, reality sucks, and the only way through it is to lose yourself in a world of your own making. Personally, I don’t think that being in a constant state of mindful awareness is even healthy. When I’m out in the world my nervous system is on high alert and I’m zoomed in on everything around me (unless I’m in a dissociative state) and it’s exhausting. So I see it as a form of self-care to allow myself to just drift a little bit when I’m at home and in need of some rest. Daydreaming helped me the most through my childhood and teen years, and it’s still a valuable coping tool today.