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Friday, April 2, 2010

Self-Destruct Sequence

Several days ago, my next entry seemed clear. I had it all mapped out in my mind - at least, in vague terms, I did. I knew what paths I needed to follow in telling about the last few days (eventful) and those to come (hopefully full of pleasant event scheduling). My best friend suggested "just write"; I had a tantrum and did, then deleted it all bar this section and started again with a topic in mind.

I've been making a lot of questionable choices again, the sort of choices that are too consistent, too frequent to be labelled as mere "slips". Those have their own consequences that I'm facing -- one of which was my GP's reaction. You might recall that he wasn't happy about Mental Health discharging me - he was even more unhappy when I turned up two days later requiring care for more new (and somewhat serious) wounds. He was, in fact, so unhappy that while I was still in with the nurse, he got on the phone to Mental Health. In no uncertain terms he was told what I knew he'd be told - they're happy for me to be discharged, there's nothing more they can/are interested in doing for me.

I took this information with me when I saw my CASV counsellor, and I spoke about my interpretation that "I'm less worthy than my DBT peers who have been retained/referred on to other services". Interestingly, my counsellor was angry on my behalf about the way things have gone in regard to that. She suggested I write a letter to the state head of health, and when I explained that I didn't feel there was any point -- I'm all too aware of the fact that this was only my perception of events, that I was choosing to see it that way, and that that meant it didn't really matter. At that point, she called me, straight up, on minimising. Yes, it is my perspective -- but that doesn't mean I don't have the right to feel upset about what transpired. I think we're going to work very well together.

The discussion with my counsellor lead us through a variety of paths and on to what I call my self-destruct sequence. There are lots of things that set it off, and lots of ways that being self-destructive comes into play, for me, but at the moment I'm talking about a rather specific sequence of events (which, incidentally, ties rather nicely in with my entry about self value).

It starts easily enough. Things will be going along - good, bad, indifferent. Obviously if things are going poorly, the likelihood of falling into this pothole is higher, but it often happens no matter how 'well' things are going.

The triggering event is generally a comment or an internal realisation. Somebody will offer a compliment, or tell me I'm doing well: things that are meant to reassure. Even if I at the time appear to react well, somehow it gets twisted inside me. Suddenly this good thing is not good: such begins sabotage and self-destruct.

Coming from a strengths based perspective, my counsellor admitted she'll find it interesting to work around this -- but it seems that it's a challenge that we're both up for. We're going to call it my gentle adventure to WISEness, and one of the things we're going to do is to look at me giving myself credit for decisions I'm making out of my WISE mind.

Since I'm very creatively focused, and do well with set homework, my task until our next session is twofold:
1) Begin gathering together materials on what my adventure to WISEness means to me; and
2) Try to make note of times when I have wanted to give in to self destructive behaviours and haven't.

Today's thought challenges/cheer-leading statements:
It's okay to look after me.
I'm not a bad person.
I can be there for my friends and look after my own needs as well.
I'm doing the best I can with the knowledge and skills that I have available to me at the moment.
Choosing positive coping skills doesn't have to mean denying that things are difficult at the moment.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.


  1. I'm not sure how the mental health system works in the area where you are. Sounds like you, and some others working with you, were hoping you'd be referred into a more intensive program than DBT. Maybe an inpatient or day patient program? Not sure how it works there. I've heard others refer to being "dischanged from Mental Health". Does that mean discharged from the hospital as an inpatient/overnight kind of place?

    That is so cool that you're seeing the sequence of events that leads to your self destructive thoughts. And that you can see that you have choices about how you respond and act. I'm still working on those things myself as well. Is that something you learned to do in DBT? My DBT therapist has suggested working through a "sequence of events" worksheet with me but we haven't gotten to it yet.

    I can certainly relate to your mixed feelings when someone suggests that you seem to be doing better. There is that little sense of lose or abondonment when they don't see you're still struggling. I'm trying to work through that as well.

    As always, I love your cheerleading statements! Kind of like postitive affirmations. I'm thinking of starting to include those some way in my blog as well.
    Take care,

  2. Hey Stacy,

    Mental Health is a Government run clinic where you generally have/see a psychiatrist and a Case Manager.
    Here the way it works is that you get put under Mental Health care for a period of time until you're placed in DBT. During DBT you have your DBT therapist & group, as well as (if needed), your psychiatrist. After doing DBT, I was discharged with no CM and no psychiatrist, and referred on to be solely under my GP's care. We were told this would be happening to everybody, but of the three of us who finished, I'm the only one to whom it actually did.

    For me, being discharged means I no longer have access to several programs and activities that could have been otherwise really good for me. It also means that there's a lot less support, and that there is no nobody with the power to help facilitate inpatient for me if I should require it.

    I think DBT can be really good to help you see chain reactions and sequences that are repeated as patterns, but I was actually not too bad at seeing them before DBT.

    I hope you do start including something similar to cheerleading statements in your post! I've found including them to be helpful, both in cementing these new 'beliefs' and sayings, and in giving myself accountability to ensure I'm using some. It can be hard, sometimes, to remember to use them at all, so being able to think, "hey, that ties in with this thing I wanted to blog about, I wonder if I can turn that around to something more positive/helpful," can be really good for me.

  3. :o I am your best friend? :-D

    No, you are not a bad person, you are correct.

    Do the cheer-leading statements help?

  4. Of course you are.

    Do they help? Hmm. I believe they will, eventually. At the moment I still have a lot of trouble believing them, but I'm choosing to trust in what Kelly used to say: if you keep saying them, eventually you will believe them.