Wednesday 23 May 2018

Emotion Regulation Therapy: Session Two

Emotion Regulation Therapy

(See session one to catch up)

I don't think I was very sure how I felt during this session. I found it hard to connect to any emotions, which I sometimes find quite disturbing. Sometimes being numb is a relief (especially after days of really intense mood swings) but other times, I want to feel *something*.

We went through the homework I'd been set; which was to finish the worksheet about pros and cons of acting on impulses, and using distress tolerance skills. In the next sheet, I had to go through the STOP, TIPP etc skills and see which ones I wanted to try, what I'd do specifically, and what I expected the result to be.

I also stuck up the different skills sheets in my room, so I can see them clearly and be reminded whenever I see them. It's still early days, but I did manage to use some of the skills and I hadn't self harmed too much/badly that week.

The next thing we went through was things we do/think when we are avoiding emotions. I don't always realise I avoid emotions (especially negative ones) but I could relate to almost everything on the list on the worksheet. I ticked things such as:

  • Avoiding situations that might be emotional - (I hate crying, so avoid watching sad programmes or listening to sad music)
  • Feeling discomfort or nervousness with sharing a silent moment with someone - (I always feel the need to fill silences, as I find them very awkward. I also feel it's my responsibility to talk)
  • Feeling afraid of being or seeming vulnerable - (I find it very hard to "let go" especially with people I don't know or trust. It takes a while for me to fully open up and then I worry about oversharing)
  • Never allowing yourself to get angry - (I worry so much about hurting people, even if they've hurt me emotionally. I have had some times where I have lashed out at people I love, and it has made me feel like I'm a bad person)
  • Feeling uncomfortable accepting compliments from others - (I never feel like I deserve the compliments, so tend to dismiss them, or say thank you then quickly change the subject)
The second worksheet spoke about emotional and physical things that may happen when feelings are suppressed. These included things such as anxiety, irritability, teeth grinding, angry outbursts, and depression. I could relate to some, including teeth grinding (which I'm aware I'm doing while I type this!)

The next step was to take action. This involved becoming aware of our feelings, finding ways to manage them before they become overwhelming, feeling the emotions through (including physical sensations) and accepting those feelings as they are. The last step was to choose whether to open up or not. Some situations of course aren't suitable for opening up, but other situations call for being open and assertive. This is a difficult thing for me.

Homework - My homework was to read through the steps for accepting and dealing with emotions, and to try to open up. 

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