When I hit my peak of depression in July of 2012, I began a partial hospitalization program in Sacramento. For the first two weeks, I was there from 8am to 3 pm, 5 days a week. It lessened from that point until 2 months had passed and I “graduated” (got kicked out). Like almost everyone there, I would have never left if they didn’t make you graduate from it. The real world without group was scary. I became really dependent on the group and my main therapist, Josh for support. In future blogs, I know I will definitely get more into this stuff because it was a HUGE part of my progress to where I am now. I might not be depression free or anxiety free. I might still think about death and hold onto my core beliefs, but who knows what could have happened without that program.
The program (which will remain nameless because that is always how I refer to it in real life, as group or the program. It has this weird ambiguity in my head) at its core used DBT to help its patients. There were about 80 of us there at a time. People were always shuffling in and out. Anyways, DBT stands for dialectical behavior therapy. I pretty much know everything about it because they drill it (not that aggressively) into your head at the program. Marsha Linehan who has borderline personality disorder created it 30 something years ago. It’s like cognitive therapy on steroids. I’ve seen a cognitive therapist, and DBT is a lot more effective for me. DBT has 4 main sections: mindfulness, emotional regulation, effective communication and distress tolerance. The one I want to talk about today is mindfulness.
Now mindfulness is the bit that’s taken from eastern philosophy about being in the moment, being present, taking in everything you are experiencing right this second. It’s part of meditation and yoga practices, religious practices and a healthy life. Sometimes being mindful is incredibly hard. You want to get sucked into the past and stay there, but that causes depression. And other times you want to get wrapped up in the “what ifs” of the future, but that causes anxiety. Swinging back and finding balance between the two in the present moment is ideal for a healthy, peaceful mind. One of my personal values is peace of mind, so mindfulness is a great tool for me.
I want to be more mindful. I want to be one of those hippy girls who have long skirts and sunglasses that stare out into the ocean and just breathe in the timing of the waves. I want that. I feel like that will be my peace of mind, embodying the mindful soul within me. Right now, it’s very challenging to do that. My external environment (school) loves getting me all raddled and anxious/depressed. I’m hoping a change in environment, leaving school after I graduate will help me. But for now, I am working on being a mindful, studying fool. I found this pizza box on my kitchen counter, assumably left by my roommate. Plays in perfectly to today’s blog topic *that weird girl who takes pictures of other people’s food*