Deciding to Live Again: The value of DBT

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) has helped me regain faith in life again and come into my own in the past year. I came into the program with some skills, but they weren’t working effectively in my state of crisis. I struggled with regulating my emotions. I was quick to react or suppress my reactions. I was often in distress, and questioned the meaning and value of my life. It felt as if the life as I knew and planned it had collapsed. I needed a new foundation. DBT has definitely empowered me with the skills to build one for myself.

DBT programs teach a variety of skills in four different categories: mindfulness, interpersonal skills, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance. While the program is generally geared towards people who are struggling and in very difficult situations in their lives, I personally believe that anyone who is open to learning and growing could benefit. DBT teaches life skills, concepts that aren’t often taught in schools or elsewhere.

Now, over a year into the 14 month program, I more often respond instead of react. I’ve found it’s easier to make choices about how to approach situations in my life. I have gone from cautious and skeptical to more hopeful and trusting. I strive less and pay more attention. I am more mindful, more engaged in my relationships with others, and committed to finding my own definition of a life worth living. I still struggle with acceptance and being kind to myself, and at the same time, I realize I am much more accepting of myself and the path I am traveling.

I am so grateful for my wonderful therapist and my weekly group. And I am grateful for myself, for my determination, persistence, and commitment. It hasn’t been an easy road, and it definitely has been worth it.

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