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My DBT Journey

real stories, real people, real hope

Sphere on Spiral Stairs
Leaf Pattern Design

My journey through DBT started on June 3rd 2021. I was in such a dark time in my life and felt like I couldn’t get out. I was experiencing chronic pain, discomfort, PTSD and Depression. My husband started researching counseling in about April because I was desperate for help. My previous counselors had thrown me into PTSD treatments without any preparation and beginning exposure therapy without tools to use for recovery. I was lost, shaken and seriously doubting anyone could help me. Through the research that my husband and I did, we found Transformational Behavioral Health. They had something called a DBT program that I’d never heard of. I was diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) about 2 years before starting the DBT program. All the symptoms I had were explained in excruciating detail when reading about the treatment options for TBH. I was entirely skeptical about the process. When I picked up my book for treatment, all I kept reading were words like ‘Mindfulness” and “meditation.” If I wanted to recover effectively, I was going to have to buy into the hype. I'd practiced meditation and mindfulness before with previous therapists but nothing stuck. We even used singing bowls and mantras. I was sick of it all. That was until I had started getting about a week into the program. Not only was I given extensive information about skills to use to help, I was given an opportunity to start over. Fresh. Monday groups weren’t something I was looking forward to. I was suffering but like I said, absolutely desperate for help. So why not give this a shot right? Two weeks into DBT I started realizing what I was doing behavioral wise to keep me in my rut of depression. For the first time in a very long time I felt hope. Every meeting started with a mindfulness exercise. Every meeting ended with a homework assignment. I hate homework. But somehow, I was motivated to complete the assignments given. In the group I shared what I had written. If it was too personal I would share it with my individual therapist. Which I did often. We processed things like I never had before. Centering my emotions. Walking the middle path. Realizing that I could look outside of myself and realize what was actually happening around me. I became fully committed and engrossed in what I like to call “Class.” I felt myself coming back, someone I had missed for so many years. I wanted to keep going. See what happens. I use these tools given in everyday life now. They have become part of me, And if I’m confused about what to do, I reference my book like its an encyclopedia for trauma. I struggled for such a long time and now it was time to get my life back. And I felt it. I really felt like I was getting the help that I was so desperate for. I attended my last group on June 17th 2022. I couldn’t believe I had done it. Graduation was so overwhelming. I cried from happiness. Tears of joy spilling down my face as I spoke to my individual therapist about how far I had come. Not only did I graduate from the program, I also did intense PTSD exposure therapies and have made amazing strides in my recovery. I can finally do things I never could before on my own. I would recommend this program to anyone who is struggling with depression. Battling BPD is never easy. But with guidance and will and determination I was able to recover. My life has improved drastically. Don’t give up and really buy what the program is “Selling.” It will be the best decision you will ever make. Take your life back on your terms with new tools you never knew were available to you. Grow. Become strong and motivated. Become Wise.    ~Janelle

Borderline Personality Disorder. A diagnosis that made me feel defined. I had spent hours through months of talk therapy. Yet my life still felt so out of control. I had just entered my 20’s and while everyone around me seemed to be thriving, I found that each day felt more and more heavy. It was a period in my life where It became apparent that growing up wasn’t what 12 year old me thought it’d be. I was aimlessly searching for some sort of direction and purpose. I had just gotten out of a relationship that shook my life upside down. I had suffered a break like never before. Although “borderline personality disorder” hung over my shoulders, I hadn’t truly experienced a low like that until heartbreak entered the equation. I knew I needed to do something but I wasn’t sure what. I just knew I was desperate to be “fixed”. The questionable answer arrived when my mother stumbled across information on DBT. Before I knew it I was headed to an intake appointment. I had so much internal defeat that the hopeful side of me was being masked by fear. I knew that In order to get anywhere I’d have to be vulnerable. I just wasn’t quite sure if i had it in me to trust a complete stranger with my secrets again. After leaving my first appointment I cried out of relief. I felt overwhelmed to say the least not knowing the extent of what I had signed up for. I figured that things couldn’t get any worse than what I was already experiencing internally. I had a difficult time being 100% honest in my first few sessions about how not okay I really was. Once I told my truth I started to feel safe. Week by week I was learning skills that I just didn’t get. To be honest it felt so silly. A lot of the skills I started to challenge during session. I was beyond frustrated and started to think that maybe it was time to just stop showing up. Diary cards everyday felt like a chore. I often found myself the day they were due scrambling to fill them out because I blew it off during the week. I couldn’t seem to take five minutes out of my day to make it apart of my daily habits. Which often led to extreme guilt and a feeling of failure. I was first hand experiencing behaviors of willfulness. Learning to be willing and understanding the difference between the two terms was the first step for me into fully accepting DBT into my life. It was a moment where I realized a cause and effect was happening. I started to to challenge myself into a different mindset. Through the year I had many prompting events that caused me to go back and forth on if I truly could manage all that I was feeling. One thing remained the same though and that was that I wanted to feel happy again because I knew I had felt it before. As the months progressed I started to develop structure in the program. I didn’t look to it as just a program anymore. I looked at it as a way to define what borderline is instead of letting borderline define me. If there is anything that I’ve learned in the last 4 years it’s that healing doesn’t happen in a straight line. There are days where things fall sideways. Or we find ourselves trailing backwards. Life happens it’s something that’s constant. Learning to be in control of your emotions and giving yourself grace on the days where that’s a-lot easier said than done can really change your outlook on life. It certainly did for me!   ~ N

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