Finding the Balance

I am currently doing Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) with my psychologist.  DBT was created by Marsha Linehan and has proven to be a great success in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.  One of the elements of DBT is creating a balance between Emotional Mind and Logical Mind to create Wise Mind.

The emotional mind is a lot quicker to respond to situations we face everyday.  It is often responsible for our fight or flight mode.  The logical mind however only deals with facts.  It doesn’t see a grey area, and there is no emotion involved at all.  The balance, or the ideal of these two is called the wise mind.  It is believed that people who have BPD use the two extremes of these ways of thinking and struggle to live in the grey area.

For me, I struggle the most with emotional mind.  Emotions are not inherently bad, however when they begin to make you feel out of control that things begin to pose a problem.  I often find myself acting first, thinking second.  I feel the physical effects of emotions very strongly.  These overwhelming emotions are behind a lot of my self harm urges.  My initial response is to hide away, but of course that simply gives me more time to ruminate, further compounding the issue.  Something has to give.

What I am working on currently is acceptance of emotions and realities.  At first I was hesitant, why should I just accept things as they are, shouldn’t things change.  Then I realised that those ugly should statements had come to the forefront again.  Emotions are going to happen, things that I am not happy with are going to happen.  I can either sit and throw an epic tantrum about the unfairness of it all, or I can accept that, that is what needs to happen at this point in time.

Acceptance doesn’t mean that I become a door mat that allows bad things to happen.  It simply means that there are things that I can’t change, there are things that no matter how angry I get, it’s just how it is at the moment.  I can take a step back, let the situation flow, work out what I CAN change, then come at it from a completely different angle.  That is using the wise mind.  A mind that uses both logic and emotion to drive it.

I tell myself that it won’t be like this forever, that I am slowly building up my arsenal of mental health tools.  I find myself using tricks without even thinking about it, and noticing the difference in my reaction.  I feel different because I am different.  I am still not where I want to, need to be but I am making steps to finding that balance.  There will still be moments when I lash out in anger without a second thought to the consequences.  I am after all human, I’m not infallible and allowing myself to fail just makes getting up afterwards that much easier.  Life is a series of baby steps and every one of them is a step in the right direction.

Do you struggle with letting your emotions rule your response?  Are you still on the search for the ever allusive life balance?

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16 thoughts on “Finding the Balance

  1. Lydia C. Lee

    Hell yeah, on the finding balance. I like the sound of this therapy. Might google investigate a bit. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad it is making a difference (I find it’s one thing to know what to do, and another thing to implement it) Good for you!

  2. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    Sounds like this is working for you T – I am pretty bad at letting my emotions rule what I do. But mainly I jump off the handle for no reason, instead, I should count to 10 realise it wasn’t something to get hot and bothered about and move on x

  3. Bec @ The Plumbette

    Heck yes to finding life balance. I try but fail many times. I try and keep a check on my emotions when something happens that is unexpected. I think it’s important to acknowledge how you feel when something happens but not let it overrule you. Easier said than done and the treatment you are getting sounds interesting. Thank you for teaching me more about Borderline Personality Disorder. I have only come across it in the last year or so from another blogger who also suffers and gets treatment for it.

  4. Deb @ home life simplified

    Thank you for sharing this – will share on fb later. I love the sound of that therapy. I struggle with this a lot between emotional and rational. Love “wise mind” as balance.

    I have spent a lot of time working on letting go and accepting whatever “is” and find I am there about 50-70% of the time and improving all the time. I am saying this to the kids a lot too so they are better equipped going forward. I am forever working on them distinguishing between that which is worth energy and upset to change vs that which “is what it is”. Xxx

  5. Angela

    I need to work on letting my emotions in. I tend to focus on facts and often come across as insensitive because I leave most emotion out. Emotion obviously comes into it when it is something that personally affects me, but not a great deal most of the time. When emotions do rear their head though, sometimes it is extreme. I love the sound of DBT and how it helps to combine the 2.

  6. Alison

    I have a shocking temper and tend to fly straight to anger when I get anxious or distressed. But it usually doesn’t last long and I am a lot better at letting the anger come and go. I am getting pretty good at letting go of shoulds and accepting what we are stuck with, though I still get stuck on that in certain areas of my life. Been doing a bit of reading on the third wave of behavioural therapies, DBT, MBCT (Mindfullness-Based cognitive therapy), MBSR (Mindfulness- Based Stress Reduction and Acceptance and commitment therapy). Some great ideas in all of them.

  7. Me

    I hadn’t split it into the emotional and logical mind but I can totally see how it is that. It’s great that you are accepting of taking small steps and giving yourself a break when you have a slip up – getting back up and trying again is what it’s all about.
    Have the best day !

  8. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)

    It’s funny I was only thinking about this today (as I am writing an article on a similar topic) and I realised my emotions do rule me. I like to think of myself as a fairly balanced person but there are some situations in which my initial response is a knee-jerk emotional reaction. I blurt out stuff and get hot under the collar. But give me an hour or so and I’ve been able to settle, think calmly and react better. I think I need to learn to deal with this.

  9. Becc

    Yes and Yes.
    I think all of us that have been through any sort of mental illness struggles with their emotions. They just take over run away with you before you notice.
    I am getting better personally and I believe you are doing all the right things to get better also. It is so nice to catch yourself being more rational and being able to sit in the grey area and be ok with that.

  10. Julie

    Great thoughts, and lovely to hear this therapy is making a difference for you. I’m actually working on this with my kids (particularly my eldest) at the moment. I am trying to find the tricky balance between acceptance of all emotions (in my kids), allowing expression of those emotions (particularly negative ones), but also teaching them to exercise some self-control with how and when and where emotions can be played out. For me personally, I think I am actually more ‘logical mind’ and need to learn to express my emotions better, rather than bottling them.

  11. Emma Fahy Davis

    DBT sounds really interesting, and constructive if you can rein in your emotional mind. I’ve used CBT to tackle my OCD with some success, and we use some CBT/mindfulness techniques with both Miss 7 who has anxiety/PTS and Miss 5 who has ADHD.

  12. Josefa @always Josefa

    The quest for balance, I’m on it, I think most of society is on it. For me the challenge right now is to find the quiet – inside my mind. I am a washing machine of thoughts, voices, vices and emotions in there. I need to quieten that ego and find balance that way. Beautiful post x

  13. Grace

    I am completely guilty of having my emotions rule my decisions and response. I’ve had to learn a few tools with my counsellor too and while I’m still improving – I know there’s been a huge improvement since she first helped me out.
    We’ll always be searching for that elusive balance. But you’re right – we’re just human. Just get to that point where you’re okay with who you are and you’re comfortable in your skin.
    Easier said than done, I know. x

  14. Tamara James

    Thank you for sharing. This makes a ton of sense to me. I am learning to accept and move on. Emotions can sometimes rule and wreck.

  15. Tanya floodproofmum

    Emotions = Female. We can’t avoid them even if we wanted to 🙂 Some times they are harder to reign in than others. I admire your outlook on life and do believe that balance in our lives is important. Deborah Hutton has a great site called Balance which may help with your studies on this topic. Cheers, Tanya.

  16. ann

    I am so guilty of acting before i think especially lately with not getting enough sleep, i have managed to chill a little about stuff.


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