Practicing Distress Tolerance


I haven’t written much this week and I have mixed feelings about it. 

On one hand I seem to write after I’ve had a session, weather it be in my weekly group session or in my new one on one therapy sessions. I know my thoughts have been scattered and I’ve been really working on focusing on my emotions, especially my anger. 

I’d like to talk a little about today’s tragedy in Connecticut. 

I won’t go into graphic detail, I don’t need to rehash what has been scene on social media sites or on television and radio. What I do want to talk about is how I am feeling and the correlation of my emotions and reactions. 

When I first heard what happened today, I was in disbelief and confusion, obviously like so many of us, grasping at the information that began pouring out of our televisions, radios or social media sites. 

As I started to grasp the events unfolding, I found my heart beating faster and the pit of my stomach feeling sick.  I realized I wasn’t going to be able to listen or watch the various channels on television. I muted my television for a while. I just couldn’t handle the chatter of the various media outlets. I felt all the sensationalism growing by the second and it started to make my head hurt inside. The voices in my head began to get really busy, mixing with the nattering that I had heard on the television. I went to my computer, not hoping for anything in particular other than perhaps being able to get lost in an online game. 

I decided to go and work on my current puzzle, usually that occupies my mind and helps me regain focus.  Unfortunately, not only was my head busy with the traffic, it was competing with the tree fallers outside, who were taking down a very large tree which was a house down and the company truck and chipper were parked right in front of my place. 

So, now my head is busy, my surroundings are loud and my dogs are anxious. This is not helping me to regain balance. In fact, things are getting worse. I say to my boyfriend, maybe if I find a comedy or classic movie on television, I will feel better.  No such luck! 

I referred to my DBT book and where I was working on homework wise.  I was working on Distress Tolerance and going over situations on how to distract myself during stressful times. I admit reading the sections seemed to help. Seeing suggestions and owning which ones I would commit to, helped me realize that I will be able to cope better. It may be slow, but it can happen. 

After a few minutes, I put my DBT book down, no longer able to focus on the task in front of me. I’m tired and drained. I had to focus my energy on my dogs, who were all out of sorts. I put on their thunder jackets, hoping to settle them down. I’m wanting to be the best parent I can be, because I have to. Having a mental illness, doesn’t give me permission to be lacks in my duties. 

I think tonight, I’m going to have a warm shower or bath, continue with my lit candle and light some incense. Today is also the 1 year anniversary of my beloved Rizzo’s death. I sent a prayer to Rizzo earlier today, not only to honor him but to ask him to help the new lost souls from today’s tragedy. See, Rizzo absolutely loves children and adults. I can guarantee that he would have greeted everyone with a big stick, a wagging of his tail and a happy bark. 

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