Sometimes Nothing Works

November 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sometimes you’ve had a nice day; you’ve practised self-care all day; you did something really nice with your evening.

And you get home and everything is terrible. Yes, something triggered you, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe you even resolved the thing that triggered you. Still everything is terrible. You don’t understand: you took all your pills on time; you ate your meals on time; you had a NICE EVENING.

Why is your brain having a complete meltdown? You can distract, but the problem will be there when you stop. You can self-soothe, but that’s like throwing crumpled-up paper balls at a brick wall.

This is when you finally remember the superhero named DISTRESS TOLERANCE. That is, you remember CRISIS SURVIVAL. That is, you remembered the only thing from that short list that might actually help you.

So you get a bowl, and you fill it with ice and some water, and you put your face in that motherfucker. And you have to do it three or four times, and it starts to fucking hurt, but you stop crying. Your system slows down. You still feel like crap, but you aren’t hyperventilating. You don’t feel like you’re going to puke. You might cry yourself to sleep, but you think you might be able to sleep.

Sometimes nothing works. Sometimes the ice bath is the only last resort you haven’t tried. Sometimes it works.

* Sorry, I can’t find my DBT workbook, but I’m sure the Crisis Survival section is in Distress Management in anything based on Linehan’s book. Here is a good page on the ice bath.


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