Tag Archives: radical acceptance

DBT: Option Analysis

3 Nov

Options for Responding to Any Problem Situation

  1. Solve the problem.
  • Use my skills to solve the problem
  • Leave and come back to the situation later

2.  Change my reaction to the problem.

  • Challenge my interpretation of events
  • Put problem in a new context (wise mind)
  • Can I re-frame this as a problem that I can solve?

3.  Cope better with my reaction to the problem

  • Use distress tolerance and emotion regulation skills
  • Radically accept my reaction

4.  Stay Miserable


Option Analysis Worksheet

Another quick way to remember is CALM




(Be) Miserable

Reality Acceptance Skills: DBT Peer Connections Video Training Series

31 Jul

More on DBT: Video on Radical Acceptance

DBT Peer Connections

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training teaches four sets of skills for life enhancement. This is the third video installment in a series in progress that aims to teach DBT’s valuable skills from a peer perspective and to make such learning easily accessible and without the burden of excessive costs. In this episode, the skills that are taught relate to Reality acceptance and fit within the core mindfulness module. Specifically, the skills you learn in this video are Loving Kindness, Radical Acceptance, Willingness, Turn the Mind, and Half-smile.

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Resource: DBT Radical Acceptance

18 Mar
  • Deciding to tolerate the moment is acceptance. 
  • Acceptance is acknowledging what it.  
  • To accept something is not the same as judging it as good or saying it’s okay. 

Big things coming and holding my cards close

9 Sep

The other day I was talking about acceptance and how apparently I am suppose to accept how this is and how it’s really hard for me.  The concept is called radical acceptance and is a key component of DBT in the Distress Tolerance section to cut down on suffering, not necessarily the pain but the suffering.  I saw my case manager yesterday and it had been 3 weeks, last time I saw her I was not very well.

Honestly, I’m still not very well but not considering suicide how I was.  I had written a password protected post about not wanting to go to the hospital because all they would do was save me and I wasn’t sure I wan’t to be saved.  I was considering writing suicide notes, I have only written one set of notes in the past, though a number of goodbye poems.  I put a poll up on my blog that I have finally screen-shoted the results too.  All 12 who voted said they would read (immediately) a note they received immediately.  poll resultsThe reason I placed the poll was because when I write notes, there are usually about 10, and one addressed to the general population and I was wondering to myself if it was even worth writing them.  If they would even be read.  It’s interesting to see how parts of life change and parts don’t.  When I consider who I was going to write to it made me sort of sad to realize that some people who were so important in my life before now I wouldn’t consider writing a note just for them. (This doesn’t mean they aren’t necessarily in my life, just not as a key figure.  After all I couldn’t write a note to everyone I know.)

So she asked how I got through, even though she didn’t know the extent of my suicidalness.  And I told her mostly NyQuil and Valium and she was asking me how often, I guess I can’t blame her as it is part of her job.  But I really don’t know, I’m usually sleepy or desperate when self-medicating.  Some of the times were justified, I had barely slept or was on the verge of self harm or suicide.  But many times I just woke up and had a feeling it would be a bad day, said fuck it took the pills with NyQuil and went back to bed.  I didn’t bother with anything… skills or even trying out the day.

When I saw the therapist last Wednesday she was mentioning how I have to do the skills anyway.  I did a worksheet when really anxious about some abandonment issues, it did minimal help.  I thought about doing a worksheet when my classmates flaked on me in French and I was so pissed, but instead I resorted to self-medicating, yep 10mg Valium washed down with some NyQuil.  Since the appointment those are really the only two intense emotional reactions I’ve had.  The worksheet is out of the DBT Skills Workbook by harbinger and I have a link to it here.  Carol Anne, I’m working on typing you one up in word formal; just the depression is killing me.

Despite the yuckiness inside, both my mind and body, (I have mentioned my colitis is back) I still seem to be treading water staying afloat and even making plans.  I want to get out of here.  Better yet, I need to get out of her.   But, some stuff needs to be put in place so I’m starting to work on that.  I’m a person who is rather secretive and I get embarrassed/ashamed when I try to make plans and they don’t work out so I have a tendency to hold my cards close.  I actually told my case manager some of my intentions and she seemed rather surprised.  When asked how I am managing to think ahead in the future when I’m like this; I said “I thought with the psychosis gone things would be better.  It’s becoming clear that they aren’t going to get better for awhile if ever and I guess I can’t just sit around and wait anymore.”  I got kinda choked up when I said this so I guess some sort of realization of acceptance is coming, whether I’m meaning for it to or not.

So I’ll let you in on a little secret since few of you know me in real life and the those that do are obviously trustworthy enough to have the blog address so it’s okay for them to know.  I need to stop working.  I’m barely staying afloat with school and my abnormal life.  Actually the last two months I haven’t even done my work. once due to being in the hospital.  So I am applying for state disability which can last up to one year.  Also my priority registration at the group of local colleges I attend is running out and it will be Hell to get most classes, this and for other reasons not mentioned here I am transferring.  I am planning on transferring to another local community college that is about 40 minutes away from my house.  They just instituted an AA in LGBT Studies and I want to get it.  I have all my college transcripts but one, (there is 5 other colleges) and once I get that one I will have them evaluated so I don’t take classes that I’ve already taken the equivalent to.  I project needing about 3-4 classes to complete the degree, I already have an AA so I have met most if not all the general education requirements.

So exciting things ahead, yet I still feel blah.  I guess this is life



I feel like I’m slacking but doing well

11 Oct

This past week and a half has been a rollercoaster and a half!

In the internet world I’ve been trying to keep up with Metal Illness Awareness Week, post the sayitforward daily status updates on my Facebook page for this blog, help support a fellow blogger that is going through a rough time, co-host a great event for a fellow bloggers who book was just published this week, reading and responding to blogs, and keep up with answering my 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Project and posting the round up results.

In the “real world” I have also been really busy.  I’ve had dinner with friends twice, did a groupon outing which included bowling/laser tag/and winning a bunch of tickets in an arcade, attended an 8 year old’s birthday, went to the neighbors baby shower, watched a film at the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and helping support school friend as she is going through a rough time.  Those of you have been following this blog know how I feel awkward in social situations, have a tendency to isolate, and usually don’t go out much.

Things have been up and things have been down… I know story of the life of anyone living with BPD or Bipolar, and lucky me has both.  The voices have calmed down to a manageable state and I am happy for that otherwise I wouldn’t have survived this last week and a half. Some highs and some lows, challenges and realizations:

  • Volunteered to tell me story in my Intro to LGBT Studies class, which will include a less than 10 minute talk about my life, mental illness and sexuality.
  • Helped out 3 people who are very important to me who are struggling right now.  I like helping others in general always have, but it is so much rewarding when those people are people you know and care deeply about.
  • On the laser tag/bowling/arcade trip I won over 2,200 tickets and was able to buy the 8 year old a birthday gift from the arcade, our girls vs boys team on laser tag won, and I won both games of bowling.
  • After a night of a lot of fun and a high (see above bullet) I crashed the next day and took all weekend to recover but had obligations I made while in the high mood state.
  • I realized that the hardest thing for me to accept and deal with in life is all the multiple issues I have in my life and it was sort of depressing as none of those are going away soon.  See poem: If It Were Only That
  • A friend was stressed throwing the 8 year old the birthday party, which made it awkward and uncomfortable at times.
  • I noticed that I have a real hard time with acting appropriate in social/interpersonal reactions regarding facial expressions, I feel now like I have to have them and it is awkward and difficult trying to figure out which one and then make it look convincing.
  • My math teacher (who wrote the e-mail that set me off) canceled class twice this week and has some “medical condition” (ironic I know or karma) and may have another professor take over the class.
  • I mentioned the move out to family friend’s house to my dad and he did not freak out.
  • My social world is expanding and it’s all new to me so it is overwhelming while comforting at the same time.
  • I am navigating the world of social networking and as it is I am awkward in the social real world so it is a challenge to promote my Facebook page and help co-host my friends event of her book release.
  • With the 3 people who I’ve been helping out, 2 called me their “rock.”  I don’t see myself as strong, anchoring or stable (my view of a rock) but I know these people wouldn’t lie, exaggerate, or make this up to make me feel better or good about myself.  I guess I’m stronger than I think I am and am starting to even believe it a little bit.

30MIAC: Day 3 Results

6 Oct

MIA challenge

So here are the round up people who participated in responding to my third prompt on the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge. If you participated and I haven’t added your post here, please pingback to the main challenge page with prompts or tag your post 30MIAC.

Day 3: What treatment or coping skills are most effective for you?

From All That I Am, All That I Ever Was which includes a mix of coping skills and treatment methods including but not limited to: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, distraction, writing letters to younger self and more!

From Remember to Breathe which includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication and awareness.

And my answers which include DBT skills, structure, medication and more.

From Battling the Demons Within which includes medication and the struggle not to use maladaptive coping skills.

From OCD For Real which includes topics such as medication, exercise, talking about it and exposure and response prevention.

From Pride in Madness which includes maladaptive coping skills and positive comping skills.

From A Life of Madness who is participating in the creative way of pictures this post talks about medication, therapy, and yoga.

From Bluh Bluh Psychosis which talks about how medication is helpful for them but hospitalization was not and was rather traumatic. (not uncommon with people who have been hospitalized)

From Second Chances which talks about running, therapy, acceptance, taking it easy on herself and friends and family as the most effective in helping her deal with her mental illnesses.

From Crazy Gurl who talks about the best thing that is working for her right now is talking to her therapist.

From That’s Crazy who talks about anything that keep’s her calm and focus and mentions the importance of having multiple skills because one doesn’t always work for everything.

From Only See Your Good Side which talks about medication, not beating yourself up, and running.

From The Truth Behind the Tears which talks about being in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) at a young age which really only helper her PTSD like symptoms.  After turning 18 she started Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) which has been very helpful, she mostly uses distress tolerance and emotional regulation.

From Dangerously Tenacious who breaks it down into medication, counseling, and coping skills.

From Lost on a Street called Ethel, Sue talks about psychotherapy and EMDR in helping with PTSD symptoms along with some of the “treatment resistant” schizophrenia symptoms.  She also talks about medication, talk therapy, dream analysis, and mindfulness for traditional treatments.  Sue also talks about creativity and community and how they help her cope.

From Please hire me, my cat’s are hungry who  talks about it being vital to sleep and take medication at the same time each day.

From Voices of Glass who talks about limiting negativity, identifying stress and triggers, creating order and organization, having a realistic and objective self assessment, and being open and honest about his mental health.  And these are all coping skills he has developed over his lifetime, he chose to focus more on coping skills than treatment.

From Life and Times of the Soulless Princess who talks about how just being able to get things off her chest is a coping skills that really helps her feel better.

**Thanks to all who participated and continue to spread the word**

Also mylovelyborderlinepersonalitydisorder who has Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder and answered prompts 1-8 in a comprehensive post.

From Surviving by Living who groups her answers in posts that answer about 3 questions each.  The link to the responses to questions one through three are here.  Ameera mentions medication and reassurance along with that she

cope by forcing myself to focus on situations, asking myself how I’m really feeling, trying to label the particular emotion and then spend some time thinking about it. “

specifically for the conversion disorder.

30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge: Day 3

4 Oct

I decided to start this challenge first of all to help my readers learn more things specifically related to my mental illnesses.  My fellow bloggers are welcome to participate in any or all of the challenge prompts.  I will do a post within about 3 days of the prompt and my response to link to people who participate, please pingback/link to this post or tag the post with 30MIAC.  If you chose to do the prompts later, don’t find the challenge till later, or life happens and you don’t get a prompt answered within the 3 days no worries, if you pingback to this post I will add you to the post that has the links to that prompt.  You can also start at anytime.  I hope this will raise some awareness and give you insight to mental illness.  The link to all the prompts is 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge

MIA challenge

Day 3: What treatment or coping skills are most effective for you?

I have been pursuing some type of treatment off and on since I was 10 years old, you can see on my page about Different Treatment Options and my opinion of pros and cons and how it works for me.  For the answer to this prompt I will list some specific treatments or skills that work for specific symptoms or challenges.

  • Listening to music with earphones- helps with the voices by drowning them out or just so much going on that nothing really gets through
  • Blogging or writing poetry- helps express feeling and vent and also receive support.
  • Psychiatric medication, I know medication is not for everyone but without it I’m not sure I could function, doesn’t magically make it all go away (at least not for me) but it tones it down to where I can use other coping skills.
  • Weekly appointments with my case manager- helps with receiving support and feedback, structure, and just processing things.
  • DBT Skills- specifically urge surfing, distraction, radical acceptance and most of the distress tolerance skills
  • Structure- having something to do and some where to go keeps me out of bed also if it is routine it help me keep track of time, an example if I’m in a certain class it is Friday or whatever, otherwise I lose time and it blurs together.
  • And one I just found yesterday- I have mentioned I get sensation like flash backs, one of these is my wrists burning and it triggers me to want to cut them.  Any time anything touches them it get worse, so it’s hard to write/type, I need to take off my watch, and place my hands/arms/wrists in awkward positions so nothing is touching the wrist.  Yesterday during my hardcore struggling, I took the DBT skill of holding ice in your hand and instead rubbed the ice cube on my wrist.  It really helped and I actually had to do it a couple times yesterday.  It stopped the burning sensation and took my mind off it, I was weary because usually anything touching the wrist makes it worse but this WORKED.


Radical Acceptance

1 Apr

I’ve been reading about radical acceptance lately.  The reason being that with my mental illnesses I have begin to see life as not worth living.  It seems at just about all times at least I am symptomatic of one if not both mental illnesses.  In the past I kind of had the passive thoughts that if I really put my mind to it and did the hard work I could beat all of this and live a “normal life.”  Recently, with the stangening (yes I just made up that word) of the schizoaffective symptoms and the interplay between schizoaffective, borderline personality disorder, stress, and everything else it’s becoming more evident that this is a life time thing that has some serious limitations.  I read about people who recover from BPD or become less symptomatic with treatment and time, I read about some people with mood and/or psychotic disorders who get their disorder under medical management.  I get frustrated as it seems when I get one thing under control, example I have not self-harmed in 4 months, something else comes up- in this case that’s right about when the night terrors started.  It’s been frequently said that my symptoms “morph” which is true.  I just get frustrated over which symptoms are within my control and how much they are.  I sometimes often feel like these mental illnesses should be able to be controlled by me, or at least the symptoms, therefore it is my fault I am not improving or at least not able to function and stay stable.  I think I don’t have so much of a problem of accepting the BPD more so the schizoaffective and the combination the two can have on my life.  I’ve been feeling if I’m frequently psychotic or depressed, unable to hold down a job or be independent, and currently have no real relationships- that suicide seems like the rational choice when life won’t be much of a life.  Now if your savy, or maybe just paying attention, you may have caught that I used the word currently in regards to relationships.  I honestly think that is something possible to develop in the future, though not right now and when now sucks it’s hard to think about the future.  So here is some of the helpful sources I found on radical acceptance and then there will be a section after about “creating a life worth living” which is the part of radical acceptance I was looking for.

Ordinary happiness

That said, Linehan’s purpose is not just to help keep people alive, it is to help clients build lives worth living, she emphasizes. Her treatment involves helping people learn how to improve their lives—for example, by finding occupations they enjoy and learning the skills to develop long-lasting relationships. They can only do this by learning to accept their limitations, whether they are medical disabilities, emotional limitations or relationship imperfections.

DBT, she adds, is based on the notion that everyone can build a life worth living. “There may be constraints on what your life can look like,” she says, “but there are no constraints on whether your life is worth living.”

from   Fostering lives worth living: Marsha M. Linehan has spent the last 30 years giving severely suicidal patients a reason to live


To go from unendurable agony to endurable pain, you’re going to have to accept that you can build a life.  Because if you don’t accept it, what will happen?  You’re not going to build a life.  And building a life worth living actually takes a fair amount of work. Believing that you can’t do it makes it almost impossible.  Believing that you can do it makes it a lot easier, so the chances are a lot higher that you’ll actually do it – you’ll build a life worth living.

So what gets in the way of radical acceptance?  Lots of things do.  The most common thing that gets in the way is the belief that if you radically accept that means you’re approving, you’re going to be passive, you’re resigned.

If you want to change something, you have to accept it first. You can’t change something you don’t accept.  If you don’t face the reality as it is, if you deny it how are you going to change it?  If you think there is no cause, it just happened magically or fate or luck, how are you going to change it?

So, acceptance is required.

It’s really easy to accept things you like.  And when you’re happy, you don’t even think about accepting it.  When things are going your way, they’re what you approve of, what you want, acceptance is really easy.

So when is acceptance hard?  Well, it’s the hardest when you hate what’s happening to you.  Or your really disapprove of it.  Or, it’s causing you a lot of pain. So the bottom line is, the higher the pain, the harder the acceptance.

From: DBT Self Help- Radical Acceptance Part 4

So now I’m trying to think of what a life worth living would look like for me.  What my “constraints” or limitations are realistically   What is important to me.  What I can change and what I may just have to accept.  I’m planning on getting feedback from different people on what they think along the lines of constraints, limitations, and things that can be changed, course I gotta take them as opinions not the holy grail.  I’m thinking about asking my case manager and therapist about going back to DBT Skills class, especially with the new perspective that I can apply these skills to schizoaffective as well.  Not sure about joining a support group, or even if there would be one that would fit me- but I’m at least entertaining the idea.

DBT Tuesday: Urge Surfing

3 Apr

Today in DBT we talked about Urge Surfing, I have posted a similar picture in a post about riding the wave of an emotion: https://mm172001.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/dbt-skills-and-other-tid-bits-from-today/

You use urge surfing when you are tempted to engage in a behavior that is habitual, impulsive, or unhelpful; examples are self-harm, binge eating, gambling, destroying things, yelling at someone, ect…  The purpose of urge surfing is to calm you down so you make a decision with your wise mind.  The urge is like the wave of emotion from before, most likely because the emotion is what is triggering the urge.

It has 3 phases: ramping up, peak, and falling off/calming down.  Ususally a trigger begins the ramping up phase.  Triggers can be actions or thoughts than invoke an intense emotion.  Sometimes the ramping up phase can be hours or moments.  I sometimes get angry when an argument will trigger and ramp me up faster than if I’m over analyzing why my friend didn’t say hi to me.  There is a point during the ramping up phase where you can begin to use distress tolerance/wise mind skills.   Helpful if you can see the urge coming and stop it before it gets too intense.  However when you get ramped up in a few moments or your distress tolerance/wise mind skills are not working well enough there becomes a point where the best thing you can do is urge surf.  I tried to illustrate this by area above the dotted line, I like to think of as the point of no return.

Urge surfing has a couple steps, the first is to take a couple breaths and make a conscious willingness to let go of the behavior as a solution for that moment’s pain.   Deciding not to do it or wait it out.  The next step is if possible remove yourself from the situation.  Get away from the person triggering you (that you might yell at), walk out of the room with the food, substance, or whatever you self-harm with.  Sometimes this step isn’t possible, that’s okay it just makes it more difficult but not impossible.  Next step is to relax and practice calming or breathing techniques, you should do this while staying mindful and present-focused.   This is the hardest part for me, I often can walk away but I start obsessing about the past or the future which will keep me in that peaked phase and make it more likely for me to self-harm.  That is why they suggest calming and breathing techniques and staying mindful.  The co-leader asked if anyone in the class had difficulties just breathing during these phases, I raised my hand.  she suggested that you could do a grounding exercise, like labeling all the things in the room to get you to be more in the moment and not ruminating on the pass or worrying about the future.  Also you need to avoid getting into debates with yourself about whether you will or will not do the behavior.  I spend a lot of time going back and forth weighing the pros and cons, asking myself if I’m strong enough to resist the urge, etc.  They suggest to sit down or lie down if you can.  The reason they suggest this is that if it involves another person, arguments tend to be more intense if you are standing up and in each other’s faces.  Most my urges are internal and I’m by myself so this wouldn’t help me really.  A big part of doing the urge surfing during this peak time is radical acceptance, where you can validate your own feelings towards the situation but hold off on taking action; the wait it out scenario.  This urge surfing is like the radical acceptance, where you don’t fight it or engage in it just notice and stay mindful.

As soon as you feel the urge lessening and you feel a bit calmer return to distress tolerance/wise mind skills, back bellow the dotted line.  If you haven’t put distance between yourself and the tempting object do so now.  Most urges will come back again at another time, sometimes shortly after you have calmed down from the first one that is why they suggest this.  Later when you are much calmer, you will need to look back on the triggering situation to decide if you need to take any further action to avoid being in the same dilemma again.  this involves self-reflection, like noticing each time I ask someone do to something (insert specific person here) this happens and I get the urge.  Then you need to decide if you still want to keep asking that person, maybe try someone new, maybe ask them less, maybe find a different creative solution.  It’s hard to find positive actions that can be taken while you are still in the peak of your emotion and even a little while after you calm down, that’s why they say to wait a while.  You can ask yourself the question, is this working for me?  Then use your wise mind to make a decision and take action(s) if needed.  Also after observing these urges for a while you begin to notice the patterns, like when they happen, who you are around, what causes it the most…  this is where you can make the decisions to set up a plan.  For example: My dad is always critical and it gets on my nerves.  I become angry quick because most times he doesn’t have all the information.  I know that arguing with him and trying to show him the missing links doesn’t work.  So my plan is that if he starts making critical statements, I try to leave the room before I get angry and want to do something about it.  If I can’t, I will turn on my music and try not to dwell on it while relaxing myself (distract and self-soothe, both distress tolerance skills.)  I’m in a situation where that is what works for me, at least right now.

Someone in the class asked about being a person who always says Yes to everything, even when they don’t want to or they know it’s bad for them.  The leaders suggestions were to say No and then tolerate the distress of saying no.  Possibly the guilt or internal dialogue going on- this would be the urge part where you just want to say never mind and agree being the urge.

Since in class we talk about how a lot of us didn’t learn these skills in childhood for whatever reason, usually ineffective parenting we need to learn them now.  That they tend to be harder to learn later in life.  One leader gave the example that if her kid came home from school hysterical that another kid stole their toy.  She explained an example of a good thing to do would to calm the child down and then explain the situation whether if that is that another toy could be gotten or something like that.  If that child didn’t have an available or effective parent they may have used their child skills: like threatening anyone who comes close to their toys again.  It works, you don’t get your toys stolen anymore but now no one wants to come around you so you are lonely.  It’s a solution thought up by a child with the desired outcome (toys not stolen) but often some other consequence.  I relate this to myself in that when I was growing up if something bothered me and I told my parents they got involved usually over dramatic and embarrassing.  I stopped telling my parents when something bothered me, my solution worked they didn’t get overly involved or embarrass me but now I dealt with what bothered me on my own and learned not to involve other people, aka ask for help.

Tuesday and DBT Update

27 Mar

Not much of the actual update today, but a lot of valuable information from DBT Skills Class.  I went to DBT and school, tomorrow will be by last day of class for a week or so, due to spring break.  I hope I don’t go out of my mind with nothing to do and no where to go.  Last year I ended up in the hospital shortly after spring break/easter so I’ll cross my fingers.  On to DBT:

Today we talked about the Basic Principals of Accepting Reality.  We only got through two pages which covered four different topics.  The four topics were Radical Acceptance, Turning the Mind, Willingness and (over) Willfulness.

First we talked about radical acceptance she went around the room, we had about 8 people in class today, and asked what each one thought radical acceptance was.  Most people tried to define the word “radical” and the word “acceptance” and put them together.  The handouts highlight a few definitions of Radical Acceptance.  Let yourself go completely with what is.  Let go of fighting reality.  We talked about how we often which things were different and spend a lot of time and energy changing things we have no control over, namely reality.  The next point was that acceptance is the only way out of hell.  The leader really liked this because she says “they cussed in the handout.”  Again we went around the room and she asked the question: “If you could wake up tomorrow and everything was perfect.  Explain the difference in two sentences.”  My answer was to have more understanding and compassion within my family relationships.  And to have more (she used the word linear) emotions and thought process.  I explained it more as a balance or things not hopping around so much.  Other responses were: being happy regardless of other peoples states, happiness would not rely on others, conflicting feelings would go away, less hopeless, less self-doubt, and no depression.  She explained these as our core struggles. Most people”s answers involved others and then we talked about that being difficult since you can’t change others really and don’t have control over them.    Also mentioned how all core struggles had no quick or easy answers.  She talked about how we have to know what we want in order to assess what we need to do about situations.  We also talked about how Radical Acceptance relates to Mindfulness, about being in the moment and not fighting it.  She made a good point that most of us are looking at the past to tell what to expect, stop and avoid in the future NOW.  While it is important to look at the past for patterns, the past is no guarantee of the future.  We spent a lot of time on being the only way out of hell.  I asked the question, “what about things that we don’t seem to have a part in like depression or in my case thought process and emotions.”  She talked about coming up with a plan.  For example, I said that a lot of times I have a struggle in my mind (and with my emotions contributing) whether to get up out of bed or not.  I explained what I do, trying to think of what it is I’m suppose to do that day, if it will help things, how it might, etc… doing things that I may not want to do but know are better after they get done, and things like eating breakfast.  She broke this down into psycho-babble of doing a cost/benefit analysis, evaluating the best environment to be in, opposite action, committed action, and self-care.  And that each day things may be slightly different and even within the same day sometimes you need to go back and re-evaluate. She talks about evaluating problems, solutions, and your actions.  She focused multiple times on the word YOUR emphasizing we can’t change others.  Next bulleted statement on the handout: Pain creates suffering only when you refuse to accept the pain.  This goes with the concept that pain is generally something given to you and suffering is more optional.  She gave an example of saying whoever would break their finger would get an all expense paid trip to Paris.  We would look at the pain in a different way, most likely wouldn’t associate it with suffering. Next bullet: Deciding to tolerate the moment is acceptance.  Makes me think of my post the other day about the world feeling heavy, but I tolerated it throughout the day.  And finally7 the other two points I will merge acceptance is acknowledging what is but not the same as judging it as good.  You may be able to see that we mainly focused on radical acceptance in class.  The thing I really got out of it was about how part of your life is more in control and other parts aren’t as much, but you still have options and choices on actions or reactions.  And you are not able to see how those actions or reactions can be altered by you if you are stuck trying to fight whatever is going on, that and it’s really tiring.

Turning the Mind.  This is the first step in Radical Acceptance and a lot of stuff we talked about merges with Radical Acceptance.  The key points I got out of it were you need to be present to make a choice.  You have to make a commitment to accept, and that the commitment doesn’t in itself equal acceptance.  And the most important thing with me you have to turn your mind and commit to acceptance OVER AND OVER AND OVER again.  Multiple times a day, maybe even in a space of a few minutes.  I can see this in my own life when I finally talk myself into getting out of bed, then something happens that makes me want to crawl back in and I have to commit to my earlier decision to get up and accept things happen.  As you are able to do this over time the voice (that for example tells you to go back to bed, it doesn’t matter) will get quieter with time.

Willingness.  Doing just what is needed in this situation, focusing on effectiveness and tolerating the moment.  Saying to yourself I’m going to the best I can right now.  Willingness is acting from your inner self and long term interests, remembering what you are trying to do differently in your life and acting in accord with that.  This ties into wise mind, intuition, and sticking with things.

(over) Willfulness.  The main point of this is to replace Willfulness with Willingness.  I think of being willful as being stubborn, a strong willed kid.  They give some examples/definitions of what willfulness is: refusing to make changes that are needed, giving up, doing the opposite of what works, trying to fix every situation, and refusing to tolerate the moment.  I didn’t see willfulness as giving up, they didn’t mesh with me.  She explained how willfulness is seen as an action word and giving up more of a passive action.  However, she explained we usually give up because we are predicting what will happen next and that is willfulness in that you are taking a action even if it’s giving up based on analyzing.

So mainly we talked about how you need to accept how things are and tolerate them.  To make decisions and evaluate things based on the fact that you have accepted the situation and know know what it is, aren’t fighting it anymore.  About after actually knowing you need to make a decision/action committing to it and not being stubborn with things you know (at least somewhere) that aren’t going to work.