Another time, another chapter!
Welcome back once more. In case you missed it: the prologue covered who I am, some of my journey to where I am now and in Chapter 1 we discussed my interpretations of recovery, mental health, language, identity and the four D’s of diagnosis.
In this chapter, I’m going to focus on my reframed cognitive distortions and emotion myths from both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
I went on a mission to find this paperwork within my bedroom and came out with mostly all of them intact (minus one which is bothering me, but let’s not think about that too much).
I have two very important reframed distortions written and living on lined paper above my whiteboard that I’ve genuinely seen every day since about fall 2015. They are classic and timeless for me and they’re something important I’d like to share with all of you so as a way to have a reference point again in the future. Further, they continue to lay down the foundation of what both my and what your Recovery Home is planted upon.
Without further ado–let’s begin!
Let us begin with the reframed rational beliefs from which my wall’s notes refer back to. I only have the reframes and not the original distorted thoughts so you’ll have to use your imagination! (Or, maybe Google it?) Year: 2015.
1. I can take care of myself.
2. I can’t do everything. I can do what I can and that is enough.
3. Life just is.
4. Worries pass. Inner peace comes from letting go and simply being.
5. I control what I do about the situations I am placed in.
6. Ignoring my problems gives them more power than they deserve. They will get bigger and the stress I am in will only increase.
7. I make me who I am. (I have choices. I choose. I have my own power.)
8. What helps one person may not help another. (Whose rules? People are individuals.)
9. My life is what I make of it.
10. I am strong enough to trust and rely on me.
11. I control my choices and my actions.
12. If I were fragile, I wouldn’t still be standing.
13. Good (Healthy) relationships nurture love and understanding for both parties. (I can choose to help others and that’s my own choice.)
14. It only matters that I please myself; anyone else is a bonus.
15. People won’t always approve of me and that is okay. (I only need my own approval.)
16. Alone time fosters opportunities for self-growth, self-empowerment and self-reflection.
17. Humans are imperfect. Seeking perfection kills any satisfaction from a circumstance.
18. Moving through pain is healing.
19. I am worthy as is, right now, right here, just for being me.
20. Anger is a feeling. Feelings are meant to be felt.
From worksheet number two, year 2017
1. I need my own love and acceptance.
2. I’ll do my best.
3. It is what it is.
4. It’s not the end of the world.
5. I control my actions.
6. Problems don’t disappear on their own.
7. I have chosen my path.
8. Everybody’s different.
9. Attitude in life makes all the difference.
10. I am strong enough for myself.
11. I control my actions.
12. My opinions count.
13. Good (healthy) relationships are based on mutual trust.
14. I don’t need to please others.
15. My decision and what I think matters most.
16. Being alone is okay. You’re allowed to enjoy your own company.
17. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.
18. “Life is pain”– we learn to tolerate it and grow from it.
19. I am worthy and I am enough in this moment as I am.
A few extras from my wall:
I always have a choice. If I were fragile, I wouldn’t have made it this far. Feelings are temporary.
Now for reframed emotion myths found on the Emotion Regulation handout 4A in DBT, circa year 2018.
1. My feelings are valid in any given situation. Emotions don’t have a right or wrong.
2. Vulnerabilities are a strength.
3. Negative feelings indicate something is wrong. (Values crossed, boundaries broken, etc.)
4. It’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions.
5. Most emotions have a reason for appearing.
6. Even painful emotions serve a purpose.
7. People may or may not approve of me and that’s okay.
8. People aren’t mind readers and so I am the best person to understand why I’m feeling a certain way.
9. Ignoring problems doesn’t solve them. “The best way out is always through” – Robert Frost.
10. Regulating emotions spawns stability.
11. Feeling dysregulated will consume all of my activity rendering it difficult or near impossible to be creative.
12. There exists healthier ways to manage my emotions.
13. Changing my crisis emotions (or tolerating them at worst) is best for me long-term.
14. A balance between emotions and facts is necessary.
15. Healthier behaviors are the best course of action for the long term for many individuals.
16. There is more freedom in stability than in crisis.
17. My emotions don’t define me. I am more than my thoughts and feelings.
18. People love me for who I am not what afflicts me.
19. Emotions often have a traceable catalyst, even if it’s complicated or misconstrued.
20. Emotions require a balance of level-headedness and factual information to arrive at a WISE mind conclusion.
MYTH: I shouldn’t be happy if others in the world are upset.
CHALLENGE: There will always be others who are feeling worse or better than me at any given moment. Their struggles, or my lack of struggles, don’t become invalidated because of how we are feeling at any time.
From the DBT page challenging myths in the way of obtaining objectives from the interpersonal effectiveness worksheet 2, circa year 2018:
1. My priority in life is to acquire what I want and need and only I can do this.
2. People ask for things all the time. Asking increases the chances of getting what I want.
3. Being straight to the point will be easier to handle by both individuals than dancing around it. I can make a request to someone and handle whether they say yes or no even if it’s not what I wanted.
4. People might get upset with me and only I control my actions and responses.
5. If they say no I will use my skills to manage my reactions.
6. Making requests is a natural human instinct.
7. Saying no can be an act of self-care and knowing my limits.
8. Self-sacrificing is not engaging in self-love and self-compassion.
9. I don’t have to go through life alone. It’s okay to need help sometimes.
10. My reactions to life are based on my lived experiences. With time and effort I can change my old behaviors to react differently than I do now. With patience and practice myself and others will be able to see these changes.
11. My wants and needs are just as important as anyone else’s.
12. Skillfulness is a sign of effort and strength.
MYTH: I should be able to easily let go of altercations that arise online.
CHALLENGE: How I cope with altercations is unique to me and it’s important to practice my skills to deal with the aftermath skillfully.
13. People aren’t mind readers and react based on their life’s experiences. If I want or need something I need to verbalize it.
14. People don’t often deliberately hurt others feelings and if they do that’s more of a reflection on them. People often mean well.
15. Compromises are a part of life that serves two or more people.
16. My needs are no more or less important than others needs for themselves. I can’t control what others do or how they behave.
17. Not everyone is going to like me and that’s okay. No matter how nice I am I will be the villain in someone’s story.
18. They might not and it’s better for me to do skillful behaviors to feel better about the way I handle it.
19. It’s better to balance my needs and others needs than only focusing on my own all the time.
20. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Remaining open and calm will see through the conversation better for all involved.
21. Revenge and disillusionment actually feels very shitty. So, please don’t.
22. Everyone has values whether they are aware of them or not.
23. How I get what I want or need will affect the way I feel about myself.
And lastly, for now, until I’m able to find the second interpersonal effectiveness reframes, here is the 2019 version of myths about emotions
1. My feelings are my feelings and they are valid.
2. Letting others know I’m feeling low is a strength.
3. Feelings help to motivate us and understand how unique we are as human beings.
4. Having emotions is natural and part of life experiences.
5. All emotions have a purpose.
6. Painful emotions are painful and not a sign of some character flaw.
7. Only I know how I truly feel as I am the expert in my experiences.
8. Regulating emotions with skills and work helps to better communicate emotions to others in a healthier way.
9. When really struggling with my emotions I cannot be as creative as I’d like.
10. Effectively dealing with situations using skills gets me further than being dysregulated.
11. Emotions change all the time.
12. Knowing all the sides to a story is helpful in making any necessary decisions.
13. People have a right to live as they please unless they’re a danger to themselves or others.
14. Finding freedom of emotions is often found through handling them appropriately and expressing them in a healthy way.
15. We are not our thoughts or emotions. We exist separate from them.
16. People love me because of who I am. I am not what I feel.
17. Emotions can give us clues to a puzzle yet they are not the full picture.
MYTH: Being around others who are unhealthy means I should be unhealthy too.
CHALLENGE: Everyone has something they struggle with. My mission is not to absorb their problems but rather remain level headed with my own. I can’t take away others pain by following suit after them.
Again, if I ever find that missing blue interpersonal effectiveness paper with the final concluding thoughts from 2019, I will just write up a new chapter. I say this to reassure myself as well as you, Reader.
Regardless, these are the interpretations I’ve made in my life that help to guide me along the way. I hope that some of them have reached out to you and that maybe you can work on building a few of your own as we continue forwards. Next Chapter we will begin to build parts of our Recovery Home, which will invite creativity and imagination into our minds and our lives.
Until then, thank you so much for reading!!
Sending you all light and love.
“Hi, my name is Raquel Lyons, and I’m a twenty-six year old college graduate having completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. I love creating artwork in various juggling fashions, including: photography, creative writing (particularly Loki centered Avengers fan fiction), graphic design, filming, beaded bracelets, water coloring, painting, drawing, coloring and scrapbooking. You can find me over at my main blog under the name “RecoverytoWellness.” I hope you enjoy my articles from a lived experience perspective from mental health conditions and recovery focused work and feel free to leave me a comment anywhere on social media, I’d love to chat with you! Stay safe!! xxx”