Konbanwa, my friends! I had just a spectacular day. Do you know how many strawberries I’ve gotten to eat? The answer is a lot. I fucking love strawberries. I also went to the market to get more strawberries. So now I have all the strawberries. I’m going to be so sick of strawberries, just like I got so sick of grapes. I love fruits and vegetables. They are so nice and tasty.
Moving on. Today was Wednesday, and if you have figured out my pattern, that means it was group day. Which means I got to learn more skills to use toward a Life More Worth Living. Quick blurb: I’m not sure I’ve been doing the homework right. I stick very much to what the pages say, although I will go off on little tangents. I look at it from a very rational viewpoint and so I don’t think I’m getting as much out of it as I could.
I digress. I remember either reading or hearing at one point, the saying “A wise man stops the hand, not the sword”. I recalled that yesterday while I was watching Fairy Tail. It made me stop and think. Right now, it’s like I am crossing swords with someone. Every time I avoid a problem or ignore it, it’s like I’m dodging the attacks. If I use my emotional regulation skills, I am defending. If I am using my distress tolerance skills, I am attacking. However, I need to defeat my opponent and I can’t defeat my opponent if I don’t know who he is.
So I thought upon this. I meditated on it on my journey to group. The only answer I could come up with is that my opponent is my negative self. I guess that is what my therapist, Charon, meant by Shadow Self. I can’t just parry or slash with my sword. To beat my Shadow Self, I need to get to the heart of it. Which means I have to ‘get curious’, as Charon always says. I have to question it.
I was told that Acceptance is a very hard part of DBT. You know what I mean, dear reader. The ability to recognise and accept reality as what it is. Personally, I have a very hard time accepting what I can do and what I can’t do and that the world does not put itself into neat little boxes. The world is full of shades of grey. I am capable of more than I think and there’s things that I can’t do no matter how much I try. Those are the hard truths I’m trying to actively accept.
Okay, maybe not so actively. I’m acknowledging them, though, and that’s a start. One of the things we discussed today, however, was that our thoughts don’t necessary equate the truth. I can say a rose is a tulip all I want, but that doesn’t make it a tulip. It is still a rose.
I suppose another way of saying it is that we are not defined by our thoughts, but by our actions. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself at the end of a particularly bad train of thought. Normally, those thoughts are along the lines of anxiety and depression and the bad things I’ve done and the bad things others have done to me. On most occassions I ignore them and push them away and try really hard not to think about them.
But I do think them. And the more I push them away and deny their existence, the more the invade my mind and my heart and my soul, like a song that gets stuck in your head. A long time ago, I discovered that listening to a song that was caught in my head often gets rid of it. That’s kind of what we learned today in group.
Our DBT book likens thoughts to waves, but I always found it more helpful to think of thoughts as leaves in the wind. You can reach out and grab them or you can let them float by. You can’t ignore the fact that there are leaves, but you can choose which ones you want to focus on. And there are always a lot of leaves.
One thing I’ve notice that I’ve been doing lately is brooding on certain thoughts and ideas. I have been grabbing and obsessing over all these yucky old leaves that have weird little bugs on them while eyeing the pretty golden and red leaves that shine prettily in the sunshine. My hands are full of the gross leaves and yet I want to grab more. I can’t unless I let go of the yuck.
People often say to forgive and forget, and I think that’s nifty to say, not so nifty in theory. Accept and move on, is what it should be. I need to accept the reality of my personal faults and flaws and that I need help and I need to stop being so goddamned stubborn. Yes, it’s really hard. It’s always hard. But I want to choose THIS hard. This is the path that will lead me to a Life More Worth Living.
I often want to ask people why they do things. Why do they act or say what they do? What is their pattern? Which box should I be putting them in? I like putting labels on everything. It’s how I process information and how I go about doing anything. It’s all labels. I’m Autistic and Non-Binary and a Bibliophile. Neat little box for me.
I also put Chick-fil-A in the box of “assholes” because of their stance on gay marriage. But when they opened their stores on a Sunday to give free food and drink to people donating blood for the Orlando victims, I no longer could call them assholes. Their beliefs are their thoughts and a person cannot be defined by what goes on in their head. Only by actions. And I need to accept this sort of thing most of all.
The world is not black and white. There are no good people and bad people, only good actions and bad actions. My hands are full of my preconceptions that everything fits into categories and that everything will act the way I expect it too. I need to accept that and let it go, to move on so I can allow myself to obtain new leaves, new ideas, new conceptions about life.
I need to let go of the yuck. I need to get curious as to why I do the things I do, why I think the thoughts I think. Or I can never grow as a person, never have a Life Worth Living. That’s the whole point of me doing DBT.
The only thing holding me back is my Willfulness and Stubbornness. I can overcome those with my skills, and I think I’ve made great strides doing so. I have come a long way, and I still have a ways to go.
All I can do is to keep on fighting my Shadow Self and to keep at it. I can Progress past this. I believe in me.
I can do this.
-The Sarcastic Autist