Tag Archives: Dialectical behavior therapy

The Damage of Mania



One of the biggest mistakes made…  no doubt in the throes of this disorder… is to end (and at times, begin) relationships while in the grips of mania.

The devastation brought on by this is insane. You lose people you love… hurt those around you… lose friends and family that you thought you could always count on… your reputation is dragged through the mud, over and over… and the worst, you just hurt yourself and the one you love most to a degree that may never be mended.

I am no stranger to this. And have, more times than I would like to admit, ruined relationships this ugly way. The last being the straw that broke the camels back. I no longer stayed in denial about my disorders and aggressively sought to treat them… but the damage was done, the relationship could not be revived, and we parted ways promising to be good co-parents to our two youngest children.

The damage was severe. The pain I caused astronomical. The domino affect of my actions led to my son being abused physically by someone I thought I could trust… this list goes on and on.

When I was in therapy, I was all eyes and ears… I recognized the feelings, emotions, actions, controlling factors, and etc… I had experienced them all before, 11 years previous when I left my first husband and lost custody of my children. Not for being a bad mom, but, well it is a long story… Can be read here- Time to get real- 1,  about the first go around and  Time to get real- 2 about the second. The point is, it was not foreign to me. I recognized having done this before and I was seriously ready to get to the bottom of this problem… ready to fix it, and to never fall victim to it again.

It has been a very long road since. I have been out of therapy for nearly two years and look forward to starting again in September when my medicare kicks in. My bouts of mania have ceased… and depression creeps up and ducks out. I feel like I am trapped in my body, just watching and waiting for the next attack on my life. I want to be well equipped, able to fight off any actions that I have not thoroughly thought out and planned for while in a normal frame of mind. I don’t want my world to buckle again… I don’t want to have to rebuild from rubble and tears… I don’t want to have to spend years saying “I am sorry” to myself and to others… I don’t want to want to die.

I want to live… and as I am learning, I want to live well. My goal is to serve as an open book for my children, so they can learn from me and see the devastation that can come from impulsive decisions. I want them to learn what it is to rebuild and be successful when all odds are against you. I want them to learn that we can all love again… especially to learn to love ourselves. And most of all… if any of them inherit my mental health issues, I want them to learn how to live and thrive even though our minds may try to get us to do otherwise. I will always fight for them… they have always been my beacon, now it is my turn to be theirs.

This disorder no doubt tore me down while making me believe I was all powerful and fully in charge. When I get thoughts like that swirling around my head now, I take a step back and start picking things apart… and I no doubt find that I am manic, rapid cycling, or in a mixed state… all damaging in their own right.

Being Bipolar 1 certainly takes over ones life… but I can honestly say that I have been taking it back.

I will flourish. I will continually work on forgiveness… not for others necessarily, but for myself. I will not stay silent, but speak openly about my disorders. I will help anyone struggling with mental disorders, teaching them my experiences and how I kept my head above water… and I will help to educate anyone and everyone who will listen.

I will learn to be proud of myself. I will always move forward… even if I have to take a couple steps back at times. I will keep this fire inside of me.

And most important…



Try Looking At It Through My Eyes ~ Day 6

Day Six – “The Support Group”  If you could start a support group specific to your mental illness what would it do, what activities, what purpose etc and what would you call it?

I would teach mindful based skills like Dialectical Behavior Therapy to teach others with these mental conditions how to cope with their emotions. I would give them material to read up on  when at home and have them create an “action plan” in the event they are not coping well. I would also give them exercises to practice at home, keeping the mindfulness present at all times.

Mood Regulation

Though I have been studying my DBT (mindfulness) workbook I still notice flip flops in my moods. I do use the skill that it is teaching me, but there are times when it just won’t work. I know that I am making progress though and with continued effort, the moods will not flip flop because of a trigger.

To give you and example… I had to drive to a certain side of town and it made me instantly sick physically and mentally. Why? Because that is where I lived when my son was abuse and it brought back horrid memories that I DO NOT want entering my head. I have been over in that area a couple time and it never fails. It is like a like a light switch… my moods will go from great to lethargic and on the verge of tears. Not to mention that my Man can notice something is wrong as well. It is quite disturbing and something I will have to live with for the rest of my life…but will it always be so terribly raw? I hate feeling like I am on a mood seesaw simply because I have gone to that ares of time. I need to take my life back and get rid of that train of thought.

In the meantime, I will continue working in my workbook and put the skills to use.

My Adventure To Med Free- DBT Skills Workbook

Cover of "Dialectical Behavior Therapy Sk...
Cover via Amazon

Well, I have begun my adventure to becoming med free. No, it will not happen anytime soon but I am aiming to wean off these meds (slowly, steadily, and under a Doctors care) in August 2013. To get me off on the right foot, I have begun a workbook called “The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook“. I am working in this workbook along with another one titled “Overcoming Bipolar Disorder“.

Sadly, I have had the Bipolar workbook almost three years and did not come anywhere close to completing it but I am now beginning to make a dent. I alternate between the two workbooks to ingrain the skills that each teach to help regulate emotions, learn mindfulness, pinpoint triggers, create crisis plans, and learn distraction and redirection. I am enjoying how well these two workbooks are fitting together to create a strong foundation for me to work off of.

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook is great. It gives distraction ideas for when you are home and distressing thoughts and emotions run over you like a freight train and also gives you distraction ideas for when you are away from home as well. There are 10 chapters- 1. Basic Distress Tolerance Skills, 2. Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment, 3. Basic Mindfulness Skills, 4. Advanced Mindfulness Skills, 5. Exploring Mindfulness Further, 6. Basic Emotion Regulation Skills, 7. Advanced Emotion Regulation Skills, 8. Basic Interpersonal Skills, 9. Advanced Interpersonal Skills, and 10. Putting It All Together.

I am currently beginning chapter 2. I am moving slowly, truly absorbing and processing the skills and techniques taught. If anyone is interested in DBT, this workbook is fantastic… I wish I had it when I was taking the DBT weekly group a year ago. It is great on its own or as a supplement to therapy.

My adventure is beginning!! I am excited and anxious all at once. I know that I can do this but if my mind tries to prove me wrong… I will still win because medication does not mean I am defeated…it simply means I had to win another way. ♥

*** Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been a proven affective method of therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and is becoming a great therapy choice for those with Bipolar Disorder (BD) as well…especially since a-lot of times these disorders co-exist. For myself personally, BPD is a co-morbid disorder to my BD.***

Mindfulness and DBT Exciting??


After much thought and talking things through with my wonderful man… we have devised a plan to safely help me to go off of my medication… not soon, but in about 9 months from now when we hit our 1 yr anniversary. (And yes, I have complete faith that he and I will have MANY anniversaries to come.)

Why wait that long?? Well, for one, to get more time with stability under my belt. You all have been on part of this journey with me and have watched the transformation with your own eyes… it is only smart to get some more time stable before making any changes. This is not only healthy but will help prevent this from being a spontaneous act that wasn’t thought through. Also, I will do it under physicians care that way I can be monitored and in the event things do not go as planned, I can always get back on my medication. One of the most important reasons for waiting though is so that my man and I have a stronger foundation as a couple before we rattle things up. He is very supportive though and actually came up with the idea to wait it out a little while before I attempt to go med free.

In my excitement over this, I have ordered 2 books to help me prepare these next 9 months. DBT and mindfulness have proven to be successful at treating emotional disorders. DBT is the most successful form of therapy for treating Borderline Personality Disorder (which I have) and has proven to work for Bipolar Disorder as well (which, of course, is my primary diagnosis).

DBT uses Four Skill Modules: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness (PsychCentral).

The 2 books that I am so eagerly awaiting are:

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, & Distress Tolerance (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, & Distress Tolerance (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
by Matthew McKay

Both of these books will take much effort and determination for me to “work” through, (workbook style), but I plan on using them to the fullest for the rest of my life to aid in my goal of being medication free.

I am beyond excited to get these books and begin this new adventure in my life. I have full confidence that with proper support, training, and guidance, that I will be successful. I don’t want to be unrealistic though…so I am fully aware that if I must, then I will most certainly be on meds to be healthy mentally rather than to live with the alternative. I have a wonderful man who will be able to help me keep a mood journal and will help to recognize when things have become “off”.

So, as the next 9 months pass and I am completing these workbooks, I will share my journey with you. Then I will continue to share my new journey without medication and using DBT and mindfulness to live a healthy, emotionally intelligent life. I will share my success and my failures… but know that either is success.  ♥

Strong Person Award

I want to thank Marci, Mm172001’s Blog, for nominating me for this award. Not only is it an honor to be thought of for these things but it also spreads a good message. Mental health is very important and it needs to be looked upon without sneers, fear, and side way glances. It is a real crisis that needs more attention and less stigmatism. Please check out Marci’s blog. She does many posts about mental health but has also began to evolve in her writings and adding more to it.


You heard me right! You are not weak, you are strong. You are not a failure, you are a fighter! This goes out to all mentalists. And it’s a gift from me (The Quiet Borderline) to you all – Please spread the love. Mental health is not something to be sneered at and it deserves much more respect. Stop the stigmatising. (I know that some of you that I have linked to at the bottom are not ‘mentalists’. You have just great blogs, so I wanted to award you as a strong person!)

So, this is a little something different than usual, lets start with the rules.

1. Make sure to add in the above text and image (below) to spread the love and add how little or how much you want!
2. Name your diagnoses – Stand loud and proud! You can tell us a little about them also if you’d like. How you’re affected by these diagnoses and how you are fighting your way out of them.
3. Add a photo of yourself, or some abstract picture that represents you, anything you like!
4. Send this on to as many, yes, as many, people that you like. It can be five, ten, fifty.

*I am diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder- A little info about bipolar, a little something I wrote while manic… Tingles. From a sensory point of view.

I have been on so many meds for this that it isn’t even funny. I have been on wellbutrin, serzone, celexa, lexapro, depakote, zoloft, trazedone, ambien, lunesta, lithium, respiridone, tegretol, Buspar, and now I am currently on Lamictal, Haldol, and Klonopin.

* I am also diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder… Borderline Personality Disorder Criteria and Me. This one is where therapy comes in the most (in particular DBT). My therapist said that our brains are wired to react a certain way to events… for regular Jane or Jon Doe, they can keep their emotions within a small range when dealing with emotions. Those with BPD cannot stay within those normal limits and surpass the cut off… that is why we have a hard time regulating our moods. But through lifelong therapy, we can retrain our brains to react within “normal” limits. Therapy has been a Godsend for me when it comes to this.

* Also diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)… this one pretty much explains itself.

These disorder affect my life greatly. I have to consider them in every decision that I must make… and I have to make the decision slowly to ensure that I am not making it while in the throes of an episode. It also affects my love life. I have to let the person I am dating know about it… have to make sure he is aware and explain certain things so that it is not a surprise or something to be kept “secret”. I was in denial long enough… I refuse to go back to that.

Everyday I fight. I wake up hating to swallow pills every single day, but I do it because I know that it is what I must do to remain mentally and physically healthy. I have also begun incorporating some exercise, and eating better, (at the suggestion of someone amazing)… to help my body help my brain. I won’t ever give up… I can’t.

Me… with my new luscious raspberry hair. ♥

There’s so many I would like to pass this on to… with how hectic life has been, I will pick a few that come off the top of my head.


 Mortal Hearts With Immortal Souls

Letters To Dom


Seasons Change and so have I


Melancholy~ Part 1

Over the years I have used many “self-help” books to “cure” me from my mood disorders. I have stated before that I was in denial for quite some time that my problem was deeper than I truly let on. I am going to give you a little more in depth timeline of how my mental health changed over time.


As a preteen/teenager I was the type of kid who had a few friends… more acquaintances than anything else. I was average looking… meek… yet I could be the class clown at the flip of a switch. I wore mostly dark clothes though I wouldn’t say that I was “gothic” or “emo”, as they call it these days. Black was simply my favorite color and I never realized that it was a reflection of my inner thoughts until I was approached by one of my Jr. High School teachers named Mrs. King. A woman I will never forget. She pulled me aside one day and asked me if I was OK because she was concerned about me. I was wearing more black clothing than previously and I seemed sullen to her. She was the only person in my entire life that looked at me and truly could “see” me. Of course, I broke down and cried to her about my troubles at home, and she shared with me that she was married to an alcoholic and had been for more than 30yrs. She told me that she understood and that I was not alone…and she let me know I could speak to her at any time…even offering her telephone number to me. She could see in me what others couldn’t or would not acknowledge. At that time in my life, my Mom and Step-Dad drank a-lot and it was normal for intense arguments and screaming to take place on a whim. Classic rock music would be playing, often too loud for my sister and I to fall asleep but we would often pretend to be sleeping so we were not included in the arguments that always took place. They were not happy drunks to say the least. When on a happy buzz, everything was fun and great…but as the day and night wore on, the buzz became evil and toxic. And more often than not, we would be brought into the middle of the insanity where words were like daggers and apologies would often come the next day when sobriety, embarrassment, and shame came together…where eye contact didn’t take place because if you looked into my eyes or my sisters eyes, the intense pain, anger, and resentment was too much for the parental figures to bare.

Depression came to me when I realized that I was a separate entity from my parents. When I realized that my childhood was not what it should have been. When I realized that people had no right to invade my personal space, yet did (sexual abuse). When I realized that I was a teenager that had to take care of weekend alcoholic parents. When I realized that the turbulent lifestyle I was surrounded in was not healthy. When I was aware that my real Dad had no right to physically harm my Mom and our pets. When I realized that the drugs/alcohol/rock & roll childhood I lived was not normal. I could go on and on. Lets just sum it up and say my childhood was not pretty.

***Side note–-I must say though…and feel it truly in my heart… that my Mom did the absolute best she could with the skills she had at that time. She was a young Mom and gave birth to me just days after her 17th birthday. Happily, she is no longer the same person I described above. I learned so much in therapy these last 3 years, but I learned the most within the last 15 months. During DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy). I had an amazing therapist named Anne. She absolutely rocked… she was honest, to the point, and didn’t sugar coat anything. From this therapy, I learned to stop pointing fingers at the past and also learned that the majority of us don’t wake up and say, “I am going to make the worst mistake of my life today.” Decisions are made in the moment, some good…some bad… some the lesser of 2 evils, but most are made with good intentions. I also learned a great deal about self-medicating which at one point became a problem for myself and one I battle with always. I will get into that a bit more later.—***

As I grew older, into my teens, my depressive, suicidal ideation poetry was traded for writing songs. At this time in my life, I was dating the man I later married… so my “sad” poetry turned into love songs and true to life little stories…some upbeat but always a touch of the “blues”. My puppy/1st love distracted me from most of the melancholy… not all, but most. Depression already had its fangs in me and would not release me anytime soon. It was always in the background lingering…just waiting for the opportune moment to hit me like a Mac Truck. And that it did….