Apparently, I have mental mice on me brains.
See, I’m supposed to be working day and night on figuring out what the hell is going on in that brain of mine, to stop the wiring from sending me awry, to strengthen the paths of thinking that foster all the good stuff. Well, I’d do that if I could. But right now it’s almost impossible to think at all.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
This is the first time since I went through the PHP program that I’m actually in a full-blown mixed state, where I’m experiencing a lot of the bad stuff and doing the jitterbug all the while. If, in fact, that’s what these last few weeks have been fomenting. I seem to have mice on the brain; they make me agitated, unable to sleep at night, make me sleep during the day from exhaustion, amplify every emotion I’ve got coming down the pike and worst of all, they make it impossible to steer clear of my dreaded enemy, anxiety.
Goddamn mental mice. That’s what agitation feels like. All your thoughts scurry around. They squeak like crazy, eat everything in your brain and poop all over the place.
So, since I’m being a little more out of it than usual, we’re going to get busy and do something about it. Something that’s a little more aggressive. We’re going to make the effort to get off of the swinging pendulum and find a little more footing. Rather than my experiencing the constant scurry of mental mice, my counselor and my former PHP program director got together and decided that I should attend another program they’re offering, and this one is dedicated to learning Dialectic Behavioral Therapy. It’s good at mental mice control.
Of course, no one knows what that is, exactly. Let me give you the Cliff Note’s version:
Shut Up And Deal With It.
“All animals except man know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.”
– Samuel Butler
It is support-oriented, it is cognitive based, and it is collaborative. That means that you’ll have an involved team that works with you on changing your emotional approach to life and then you must commit and work like a dog to make it happen. And since this is group therapy, we’ll all learn together and point out what we think each other is doing wrong but at least we’ll learn from each other. That, for me, was a big plus in PHP.
There are four different ‘modules’: interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance/reality acceptance skills (doesn’t that sound fun!), emotion regulation and mindfulness skills.
How hard could four simple things be? I mean, it can’t be all that difficult, right? But that’s a two-hour meeting for twelve weeks plus individual therapy and group work.
“In the end, just three things matter: how well we have lived, how well we have loved and how well we have learned to let go.”
– Jack Kornfield
And I am more than happy to do it. There’s too much happening these days that demand too much of me emotionally. There’s an emotional energy deficit. There’s no energy money in the energy money bank account. It seems I just can’t get the hang of managing my emotional resources and if there’s anything I need right now it’s a clear-cut emotional budget.
When I went through the PHP program, it saved my ass from certain doom. So I think of that as taking baby steps toward being emotionally healthy. And for quite some time since I left the group, I’ve been pretty much all right, straight and narrow, on the meds, doing my therapy and working toward change. But I hit a plateau. I hit some wicked speed bumps when I was moving just a little too fast for road conditions. I haven’t mastered the techniques I learned, so it’s time for a hardcore refresher course. Having some idea of what I went through the last time, it’s a safe bet that my ass is going to get kicked and more than likely, I’m going to kick it myself.
That’s the way of it.
“Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them?”
– M. Scott Peck