Tag Archives: willingness

Resource: DBT Crisis Survival Skills Worksheet

15 Jul

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Crisis Survival Skills Worksheet PDF

Having a crappy day but using DBT skills

3 Jun

Yesterday was crappy and it rolled over to today.  I woke up not wanting to get out of bed, so I didn’t.  I laid in bed drifting in and out of consciousness till my mom told me to get up at 11 and take my pills.  I did and promptly went and laid back down.  After writing my last blog and laying there for awhile, my thoughts started bothering me again and then my weight.  I vowed not to go out to lunch today and I didn’t.  I’m thinking about talking to my case manager about the issues this morning, but ashamed again.  I was really happy when I got a comment on my blog saying here is a smile for you.  I decided to use opposite action (an emotion regulation skill) and willingness over willfulness (a distress tolerance skill).  I feel proud of myself for getting up and using skills despite the way I was feeling.  I just wish someone else would recognize it, that would make me feel much better and more confident.  I have some plans tonight and that is helping.  I don’t think it’s fair I have to do so much work to try and feel decent.  I was thinking and most the people I admire have had difficulties in their life, I find it really hard to admire someone who has had an easy life, even if they have accomplished great things.

Resource: DBT Willingness over Willfulness

18 Mar

cultivate a willing response to each situation. 

  • Willingness is doing just what is needed. Focusing on effectiveness. It is tolerating this moment. It is saying “ok, I’m going to work with this the best I can.”
  • Willingness is listening very carefully to your wise mind, acting from your inner self and long term interests, remembering what you are trying to do differently on your life now and acting in accord with that. 

Replace willfulness with willingness 

  • Willfulness is sitting on your hands when action is needed, refusing to make changes that are needed. 
  • Willfulness is giving up
  • Willfulness is the opposite of doing what works. 
  • Willfulness is trying to fix every situation, even those that call for acceptance. 
  • Willfulness is refusing to tolerate the moment. 

DBT Skills Class- new addition

12 Jun

Today in DBT Skills class we started talking about acceptance and willingness, the leader decided to add this.  I don’t have a problem since acceptance could be under radical acceptance and willingness could be from willingness over willfulness.  The material is from a book called Mindful Way by Susan M. Orsillo and Lizabeth Roemer, mainly about anxiety.  Some key points and then examples I would like to share.

Acceptance and willingness are strongly interrelated.  acceptance simply refers to letting go of the struggle against the reality of what “is” in a given moment.  When we are in a moment of fear, anxiety, sadness, anger any painful emotion we often struggle against the state of emotion.  We have thoughts such as: “It’s not fair.  I don’t want to feel this way.  Why is this happening again.” etc.  Acceptance involves being open to having your experience as it unfolds, without trying to manipulate it, avoid it, escape it, or necessarily change it.  The handouts give an example of a woman’s boss getting angry for her asking for a second vacation day this month.  In the example the boss begins yelling and using obscentities.  She starts thinking to herself he is right, things are busy now, I need to be a team player. I have no right to be angry about how he is reacting.  This example is her trying to manipulate the experience.  She is uncomfortable with the anger and tries to in a sense reassure or calm herself down by accepting fault, though she shouldn’t.

Willingness essentially combines acceptance with engagement in values-consistent behavior.  In other words, we are willing when we move forward with an activity that is important to us, even though doing so brings up some painful thoughts or emotions like anxiety or fear.  In order to get the good stuff in life like love, joy, and surprise you must be willing to experience the painful stuff like sadness, anger, and fear.  However, being willing to experience the full range of human emotions is not the same as wanting to do so.  Taking a stance of willingness suggests that you will accept and move forward with the thoughts and feelings (rational or irrational) that appear as you make your way through life, taking the actions that will help you obtain the things you value.  An example of this she gave was physical pain of your foot hurting.  She explained how there was really no glory just sitting with the pain and it didn’t make you a noble person or anything.  So what to do has to do with your values.  She suggested taking some Vicodin and going to sleep, but if you have work in the morning (and you value that) you may need to settle for Ibprofen.   Sometimes we have to deal with things we may not necessarily like to get where we want to go, example working to save money to go on vacation.  And sometimes difficult things just come up that you can’t avoid unless you want to get off the track of the journey.  Willingness involves making the choice to go through the painful things because you decided the journey is worth it to you.  So you need to be willing to encounter these discomforts to stay on course.  It talks about finding different ways to make the difficult part of the journey more bearable but reminds you need to accept the fact that it still may be there and you’re willing to take that chance because of the value of the journey.

They also talk about willingness being an action and not a feeling.  So you can’t just say that I’m going to wait until I’m not feeling anxious before I ______________.  You can do it while still feeling the anxiety.  They also talk about willingness being an all or nothing concept which is funny to me since in BPD normally the all or nothing is a bad phrase.  You can’t say you are willing to go or do this unless ____________, that’s not being willing.  But you can place limits on activities you are willing to do and also use a small step approach.  Like first I will go to my mailbox and talk to the mailman, then the grocery clerk, etc…  But no matter how small the step, or how limited the risk, a complete and total willingness to experience whatever thoughts, feelings, and sensations emerge is important.  It also talks about how not only being willing can help but how unwillingness hurts.  Their example is this: we can also learn that while it make make us uncomfortable to feel afraid or anxious, it will not destroy or prevent us from doing the things we want to do.  However if you always leave an anxiety provoking situation you will learn that escaping anxious situations is associated with strong feelings of relief.  Often times our brains like to think that if they could only figure out the problem, example what it is exactly that is making them anxious then it won’t bother them anymore.  The thing is your brain where your thoughts come from is trying to solve problems of your body (emotions, feelings, sensations) and they are two different things.  Anxiety is universal, adaptive, and functional.  Thoughts and emotions don’t necessarily control behavior and often times when trying the control efforts backfire.  Lastly, we talked about self-monitoring this is similar to the skill of observation from DBT.  Self-monitoring can increase your awareness of the strategies you engage in- critically judging your emotions, attempting to control them, and avoiding activities that mater to you just increases your distress.  Noticing how unhelpful these responses are will help you from responding so reflexively.

And I got the direct translation this week “shit” is french for “oh, no.”

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.