I am at an impasse the last few weeks. I can’t seem to lift myself out of the depressed state I am in. There is so much to be greatful for but at the same time I am feeling as if at any moment a freight train is going to come in and ruin everything I am holding onto so tightly. I feel as if I am balancing myself on a tightrope and with a small blow of the wind it is all going to come crashing down.
As I have mentioned my husband and I had some serious conversations about our relationship in the past two weeks. We discussed what it is that we both need out of the relationship and from each other in order to be happy. Communication in our relationship is what keeps us alive and I have to say I have only Dave to thank these days for pushing me to talk. I feel numb lately, almost like I can’t feel anything towards anyone but it is through my conversations with Dave that I awake some feelings that I am still alive inside.
As promised I would give an update on the book, The High-Conflict Couple, we are reading together. We completed Chapter 2, which focuses on mindfulness. As I went through the dialectical behavioural therapy (“DBT”) the practices were easier for me to understand, but was a bit new and not so clear, I believe, for Dave. Mindfulness in DBT is the core skill that underlies all the other skill sets. If we cannot be mindful, we cannot willingly use the skills to better our state of mind and tolerate distress effectively. DBT in part expresses mindfulness practice as observing, describing and participating in a non-judgmental way. A mindfulness practice I used often when I was just learning what mindfulness was, was the “54321” mindfulness exercise. For example for five minutes, sitting still, notice 5 sounds you hear, listening without adding any judgement or feeling to it. Then observe four things you see, three things you feel, two smells you smell and one thing you can taste, without any judgement. There are various forms to this exercise. This is just one that I use. I have added a link to a “54321” mindfulness exercise at the bottom of this blog. What this is doing is teaching you how to be in the moment, to be present and for your mind not to wonder. And if your mind wonders, bring it back to what you are doing without judging yourself. If you practice mindfulness on regular bases, it can be very useful in high distress or anxious moments. You can use mindfulness to pull you out of your distress and bring you into the present moment. For couples I believe this can be very helpful as well. When we are upset with our partners, our mind races and we can be all over the place about what we should say next as a comeback, how hurt we are, getting more upset as the conversation goes on etc. When and if we are able to bring ourselves back to the present moment we are able to listen to our partner without judgement, observe the situation and describe what has happened without judgement and most likely the altercation or discussion will be much more calm and controlled.
I think this book will be so great for us. To bring us to a place where we are on the same level as far as DBT skills as well as to set some common rules when we have a discrepancy. This is where my husband is amazing. He does not need a lot of time after we’ve had an altercation to forget and move on. It is me that struggles to move on, my mind races to the most unbelievable, ridiculous places and I need a lot of time to get pass things. I cannot just flip a switch and move on. Even though Dave is able to move on faster than I am, he is also willing to sit and talk with me in order to make the process easier on me.
The one thing I hate the most about feeling depressed is the life I suck out of everyone around me, or so it feels. Sometimes I look at my little girl and her eyes look so incredibly sad, as if she is already bearing a heavy weight. I am afraid she is carrying the burden of my depression. Is she just like me waiting to see what my mood is like every morning and deciding then whether it will be a good day or not? We say our prayers every night and she always asks God to help us to be silly. I ask God now everyday too to help me be silly, even just a little bit so that she can feel the lightness in my heart.
Sometimes it is hard to let go of what is. The company I am currently working for has been taken over by another. You build relationships with people at work and it brings a sense of sadness to know that in the new year not everyone will be around. I didn’t think this change was affecting my mood but now that things are in motion and the closer we get to the new year, I feel sad for the relationships that will be lost, not forever, but in the way that I won’t see the people I have come to know so well every day.
For me there is a lot of practice in the weeks ahead. Christmas is around the corner, I want to be the happy wife, and mom my family will want me to be.
As I have always said: “You can’t complain unless you are willing to do something about it.”
Skills to focus on for the weeks ahead:
- I have made an appointment with the big guy, my psychiatrist. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of respect for psychiatrists but they are fucking weird! I don’t like seeing him because I know when I have built up the courage to call him for an appointment, things are getting past the point of my control. My hope is that he will shed some light on some sort of resolution.
- Communication – to keep communicating with my husband. I have to keep talking to him even if sometimes I feel like going to bed and not talking to anyone. Keep reading our book and practicing the new skills we learn.
- Self-care – We are going on a little vacation and I am going to make sure I soak up every minute of it. Play with my daughter, spend some quality time with my husband, take long baths and visit with some friends.
- Do the opposite of what I am feeling – I am going to practice the new and old skills by putting a smile of my face when I feel down. Coming across as friendly will attract people to be kinder to you in return. Even when I don’t feel like talking it is better knowing people are happy with me because I am trying than them acting weird because I am moping around. This I guarantee! I will ask for what I need and in return validate the feeling of others.
- BE STILL and meditate on the word of God – I feel 100% more secure and more safe when I give my worries to Jesus. I know this needs lots of practice still but it will be my focus! Phil 4:13 “I can do all things, through God who strengthens me.”
54321 Mindfulness Exercise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxflwM6YfYk