Monday, February 8, 2016

Radical acceptance

In DBT group, one of the distress tolerance skills we learned was Radical Acceptance:

For those of you who haven't done DBT, here's the idea:
Some thing you have no control over. Sometimes bad things happen and you can't do anything about it. But you can choose how to react. And that doesn't mean choosing your emotions. Your emotions will be what they will be. But what we can work on, is how we think and behave about the situation.
This is a bit of a stupid example, but here's an example:
Say you were supposed to go on a three day road trip with your friend. She bails. You have every right to be upset with her, and you don't want to suppress or ignore that. But you have no control over the situation. You can choose to be miserable for three days, sulk, and get nothing done. Or, you can accept what happened as a fact. You can't change it, so how do you make the most out of the situation. Maybe this is the perfect time to go on a solo road trip, or maybe you really needed the weekend to catch up on work. Radical acceptance is accepting what happened as a fact, it isn't something you can change, and then deciding to act according to this fact, and not be miserable or try to change it.

Last night, I found out that my parents won't pay for private therapy. Yes, I am mad at them. Yes, I'm upset, and thinking about them makes me want to cry.

But I still have to get through my life. If they won't pay for private therapy, I need to find other ways I can get better. I need to accept this. I can't make my parents pay for me to go therapy.

So here is a list, of things I can do instead:

  • ask my doctor to see a student therapist at the school
  • use peer support available on campus more often
  • work very hard to save and make money - in order to be able to afford my own therapy
  • keep on doing the work I've been doing individually

Yes, I'm still upset about the situation. And I radical acceptance is my least favorite skill, especially when it comes to things I have some control over. I am capable of manipulating my parents. I could just start charging things on my stepdads credit card. But that's not going to make me feel better, and may not even change the situation. My parents may not give in, and my stepdad can cancel his card. As much as I like to think I do, I do not have full control over this situation.

I need to learn to deal with that.


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