The title comes from one of my favorite self-confidence quotes. I try my hardest not to only reflect, but to find a way to apply it in my daily life.
It is not an easy task. My life like many other parents, runs by a busy schedule while trying to manage work and life in general. This past week I have found myself battling periods of hyperactivity ending in depression. I know exactly what’s going on and action must be taken before I end up on a vicious cycle of mania and self-harming. This is when therapy comes into place. DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) involves a lot of mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness that helps me to manage my symptoms of anxiety and low self-esteem. The coping skills must be practice every single day to learn how to of apply these principles before a crisis emerges, and if it does, I’ll know what is require of me to battle depression. I’d like to share what has work for me so far in a very simple manner.
Being sexually molested at a young age and suffering from domestic violence changed my view of the world radically. I was very shy and suspicious of everyone; at the same time I craved the attention from my peers since my parents were divorced because of the tumultuous relationship.
I became a “people pleaser” always concern about other’s feelings rather than mine, and being taken advantage of. It’s been a long process to break from this cycle, but coping skills help me to balance all negative thinking out. Especially the distress tolerance module it consist of using the crisis survival: distraction with wise mind accepts.
- A Activities
- C Contributing
- C Comparisons
- E Emotions – use opposite
- P Pushing Away
- T Thoughts
- S Sensations
I set my mind in a non-judgmental state where I repeat to myself “I am not a bad person, “I am not weak” “I can do this” “I deserve to be loved” “no one is conspiring against me” I’m a big crier, so I give myself “butterfly hugs” “I can go to the mall without experiencing a panic attack” while the tears wash away all the emotional emptiness I feel. Any short positive statement that provides comfort and solace helps tremendously.
The abuse left a deep scar in my life. It defined many of my relationships that prompt me to dig my own hole of misery and melancholia. When this afflictions and flashbacks want to add some volume to my depression, It’s important to remember these steps:
- I Imagery
- M Meaning
- P Prayer
- R Relaxation
- O One thing at a time
- V Vacation
- E Encouragement
It doesn’t mean it always works! but it means I’m working hard to restore life to consciousness and energize my disease into something positive. Being an advocate gives meaning and a sense of purpose. My work gives me the encouragement I need instead of staying on my bed all day, plus my position allows me to be engaged on the education of many students around the world. Planning a fun vacation with family to an exotic place, reading a book relaxes me. There are so many things I could add on this list, but the important thing is to be “Mindful” of these moments, trying not so hard to make them perfect instead, turning my mind into acceptance and willingness to build a positive environment and experiences.
Taking a vacation doesn’t necessarily means traveling to a remote place, but removing yourself from a situation you are in. What relaxes you? What makes you feel like a super star? What are your self soothe activities? let’s observe, describe, and participate on what makes us feel important in a healthy way. I love Netflix, one of my favorite activities is to watch romantic comedies (Sleepless in Seattle, Dirty Dancing, anyone?) watching movies gives me a 2 hour vacation from stress once the kids go to sleep.
Using Self Soothe with five senses:
Every single time I heard the word mindfulness, images of rainbows and lucky charms popped in my head. How do you practice mindfulness during depression spells? I wouldn’t hear a word of it until one morning I woke up feeling like Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, trying to inflict my misery to others because things were not going my way. I made the coffee, and almost instantly while feeling and tasting the essence of caffeine in my body, I decided to give this “being in the moment” concept a chance.
“I like the heating experience while holding my favorite mug, the sweet bitterness of the coffee, and finally feeling awake, I’m here, at peace, I’m going to be OK” **breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then release the air slowly as if you are blowing a straw or blowing out a candle. Repeat.
I don’t know if the whole episode was one of those “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry” moments, but I was able to re-direct my thoughts into self-soothing using my five senses at the same time. It was a small incident compare to the deep intensity depression brings; but practice is key. A 5 minute meditation, maybe 3 minutes? hey, we have to start somewhere right? The idea is about being pro active and to advocate for ourselves in the midst of depression.
I am not perfect, but I can create real moment that pull me back from the suffering of being a victim of abuse. Because I no longer feel like a victim, I conquered the situation and the abuser is the one who should feel ashamed and guilty.