News for the ‘Emotional Regulation’ Category

TW: My Recent Mindset

Trigger Warning: Most of my posts for the near future will contain a trigger warning since they will reflect my current mindset and feelings. Both of which are filled with pain, anger and helplessness. When I start the articles I do not know how they will turn out so I place a warning on them.

Lately pain, anger, helplessness and uselessness continue to consume me. I watch my wife’s health seemingly decline and cannot do a thing about it. A recent blood test showed she had low levels of red blood cells and platelets and a high level of carbon dioxide.

Today they took a urine culture. You could tell just by looking at it that she has an infection, again. This is the second one she developed since being at this facility. A few hours later I got a call from the CNA on duty that my wife was projectile vomiting. We thought we might need to take her to the ER it was so bad for a while.

Then there are the dreams she is having. The other night she called me in the middle of the night freaked out. She saw five people in Bears uniforms saying they were there to help her.

Her leg and arm muscles seem to be getting weaker as well.

All this is ripping me apart. I am falling back into the self harm mode. It is still infrequent, but it exists again. My anxiety level is through the roof. I had to get my doctor to prescribe me Xanax because the panic attacks were starting to interfere with my daily functioning.

My ability to regulate my mood is deteriorating. Little things are causing me to have intense reactions.

Even seeing others happy fills me with rage and hatred towards them at times. I feel like they are mocking me, throwing their joy in my face. I resent them for it. Why should everyone else get to be happy when my wife and I have to keep suffering. When do we get our turn to be happy and have a good life. It seems like we start to see it and then life pulls it away from us again. No matter what we do it is the same thing.

I just want us to have our turn at being happy. I want us to have a normal life that we can enjoy together. Were we such horrible people in our life that we are being tortured like this?

I only wanted one thing for Christmas, and even that was denied me. All I wanted was to have her back home with me where she belongs.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Edited: January 5th, 2014

“Helpful” People and Ethical Dilemmas

Sometimes people can cause problems for us by solving problems for other people. Usually this is not the person’s intent; however, by trying to help someone else their solution winds up shifting the problem to another person or creating a new problem for someone else.

This brings about its own challenges. If the person that the problem is being shifted from is someone you care about, how do you handle it? It introduces an ethical dilemma. It is right to take care of yourself and push back on the solution, but it is also right to help other people.

There is no formula that you can plug a few variables into and get an answer. You do not want always to choose yourself at the expense of others, but it is equally unhealthy to always put the other person first.

If you choose the latter and are always self-sacrificing, you will never take care of your needs and cause harm to your own health and damage or even prevent yourself from recovering. If you always choose the former at worst you risk bringing harm to others, at best you come across as not really caring about the other person and damaging your relationship. You need to evaluate each situation as they occur and try to find a middle ground when possible.

If we look at Dr. Kidder’s book, How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living, he provides nine steps for dealing with ethical issues. These steps are meant as a guide to help in making ethical decisions and not necessarily a step-by-step instruction manual.

  1. Recognize that there is a moral issue.
  2. Determine the actor.
  3. Gather the relevant facts.
  4. Test for right-versus-wrong issues.
  5. Test for right-versus-right paradigms.
  6. Apply the resolution principles.
  7. Investigate the “trilemma” options.
  8. Make the decision.
  9. Revisit and reflect on the decision.

Like the skills we learn through DBT, the process of resolving ethical dilemmas require practice and commitment. The value and benefit we gain from the practice and commitment are worth it. It is worth it because the more we are able to live in moral alignment, studying true to our values, the more ethical we live the more we improve the quality of our life, the lives of those around us and reduce our stress.

Edited: February 19th, 2013

Withdraw or Open Up?

Many times we are faced with an important and difficult decision. Do we open up about something that bothers us or do we shut down and lock out our loved ones and friends?

There is no one right answer. Sometimes we need to open up and other times we need to shut down. Ultimately, we do need to open up and be honest with people; however, sometimes we need a little time to process things and figure out how to explain them.

Right now, that is where I am. I want to open up to my wife about how I am feeling, but I am afraid to open up at the same time. I am afraid because it was something she said and did that had caused this emotional storm within me.

She knows that she hurt me and she knows what hurt me. She wants me to tell her what I am thinking, but I am worried that anything I say will only hurt her or make things worse.

I am torn between opening up and shutting down. Even though she hurt me, I have no desire to hurt her back. For now, I have told her I need to process things before I open up about what I am thinking.

If we shut down it can make things worse, but so can opening up and saying the wrong thing. It is very difficult to know which route to take at times; especially, if you are emotionally dysregulated. My opinion is of you are dysregulated, bite your tongue until you are state of ‘wise mind’, the state where your logical and emotional minds overlap.

If you cannot get to a state of wise mind, you want to at least get to a point where your emotional state no longer dominates your thoughts. If you act, in words or deeds, from a highly emotional state, you are almost guaranteed to make the situation worse.

Edited: September 27th, 2012

Experiencing an Episode from the Other Side

We typically experience episodes from the side of being the ones going through the episode and what it feels like. However there are two sides to each episode, the side of the person going through the episode (self-harming, whose emotions are dysregulated, etc) and the person(s) observing the episode.

Last night, I got an opportunity to be the person on the other side of the episode. My wife had a severe episode composed of intense dysregulation and splitting. I will not go into the specifics of the episode, only that it occurred, that it was directed mostly at me and what components I observed.

You might be thinking that someone who is themselves a different thinker would be at a disadvantage and bad position in a case like this.
In some ways, being a different thinker can be an asset, in others a hindrance. Part of it depends where along the path you are and what you have learned. The more you have learned and mastered the more it can become an asset.

As a different thinker, I have had to learn several ‘tricks’ to deal with my own episodes. The same tricks, I have had to learn to cope with my episodes, work just as well in coping with another person’s episodes.

One way it can help is that when you have been through episodes yourself, it becomes easier to empathize. You may not have been through the exact same thing, but you can understand what it feels like to be dysregulated. If you can keep a hold of that knowledge, you can also use it to stay regulated.

Some of these tricks can also be applied to other people as well. For example, you can easily use something like Opposite to Emotion Action with another person.
Last night when my wife was full of anger and depression, I put on a few sitcoms and Caddyshack, a movie she likes and is funny as hell to counter the current negative emotions. At the same time that it helped her it helped me from becoming dysregulated myself.

While it is never pleasant to be on the receiving side of someone’s episode, there is another positive aspect to come out of it. The episode gives you another opportunity to practice and develop your coping skills.

Today was challenging at times. I was trying to cope with the backlash from yesterday. While my wife was in her episode, I did not have an opportunity to ‘break down. I needed to remain as regulated as possible; however, this put a strain on me. This is where being a different thinker can be a bit of a hindrance. While someone who is not a different thinker may find it ‘easy’ to let things just roll off, the barrage from yesterday threatened to overwhelm me today.
In order to counter it I had to use several skills at once. As I explained to a friend of mine, this afternoon, I was doing the following things to prevent myself from being overwhelmed.

  • understanding that how she feels does not accurately reflect the facts
  • understanding that there are things that need to change based on how she is feeling #things I can do better#
  • accepting that her feelings are legitimate feelings and not ‘wrong’
  • any number of coping techniques to prevent things from overwhelming me (e.g. distracting myself with work as much as possible for now, going outside and relaxing at lunch time, etc.)

Edited: August 28th, 2012

Twinned Emotions

This entry is “inspired” by the way I felt the other day. At the time I had twin emotions racing through me. One emotion was a rage that burned inside me like an uncontrolled wildfire. The other emotion was a deep emotional hurt that ran as deep as the Grand Canyon.

The two emotions fed on each other, screaming one thing at me “DESTROY”. They were screaming at me to destroy anything and everything around me. They wanted me to hurt myself. Thankfully, I was able to keep enough control of my rational mind to avoid giving into these emotions.

It is hard enough to keep control of myself when one emotion goes off the rails, but when they twin up like this it is that much harder. It starts to create a ‘perfect storm’ inside me. Two powerful negative emotions entwine and dance within me at these times, trying to mate to create an even more sinister emotion. They feed off and build on each other, threatening to consume me.

Edited: June 21st, 2012

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