I’m back! Thankfully I have no ranting to do because things have been going well at the crisis centre.
I spend time with my boyfriend getting coffee, walking/rollerblading with Mia, eating breakfast or lunch, etc. I also have my hour of therapy each day and I’ve been taking the time to research a new therapy called ACT: Acceptance and Committment Therapy. The foundation boils down to 4 A’s: Acknowledging, Allowing, Accommodating and Appreciating.
6 Core Features
‘Acceptance’: This involves allowing ourselves to experience emotions, feelings and impulses instead of suppressing or denying them.
‘Cognitive Difusion’: This aspect keeps our feelings and experiences objective rather than blown out of proportion. It also involves recognizing thoughts as they are, without taking them as absolute truth.
‘Present Moment’: Letting the past go and not dwelling on the unpredictable future is the goal of this component. We want to be actively present in each given moment and think of the past and future in a controlled way.
‘The Observing self’: Instead of allowing our emotions to control us, we learn to understand their transient nature. We can create a safe distance permitting objectivity and rationality.
‘Values Clarification: By exploring what holds meaning and value to us personally we find direction and motivation that rings true to us rather than society.
‘Committed Action’: As always, we need to be engaged in our healing process and set measurable goals for advancement.
This is an exercise best if you already have a percieved negative thought circling in your mind. We likely have one that’s lingering so make note of what it is on a paper or your phone. Now, give yourself 10 minutes to actively try not to think about the given ‘thing’ Try your best to ignore it in whatever way you’d like.
Now how many times did you think about it? Write it down.
This time, do whatever you want for 10 minutes. Play with your animal, go for a walk, start watching a show… whatever you’d like. How many times did the thought pop into your mind?
Compare your two figures. Which technique worked better for you? Forcing the thoughts away, or naturally going with the flow of something else?
What’s Happening Here:
When we actively try not to think of something we end up creating a spring effect; the more we push the thought away, the more it’s going to push back and hit us in the face.
Don’t think of a pink giraffe. Did you picture the pink giraffe? I bet you did! I bet me telling you not to had zero impact on your mental processes. Unfortunately it’s the same thing when we talk to ourselves. Our brains just don’t register the ‘don’t’, so we end up thinking; it’s not helpful. Therefore instead of passively or actively fighting against something, we have to actively think of what we’d prefer to think about.
I guess there is some drama to share:
Life, as I’ve said before, can be highly ironic. Apparently I haven’t had enough with hospitals. It’s 6:30 am. while I’m writing this and last night was a brilliant example of what we choose to focus on. My boyfriend and I had a lovely evening together, me accompanying him on some errands and then eating Harvey’s. They were playing music outside and we danced in the middle of the mostly empty lot at 8:30p.m. We created our own dancefloor and it was a spectacular moment. We then talked and cuddled for a while which was truly blissful. On the way back to the Centre though I began to feel dizzy and nauseous; probably side effects of a new medication. Once we’d arrived I got out of the car and the dizziness made me stumble on the rear tire, twist and fall backwards. My back and neck hurt tremendously and my boyfriend told me not to move. We were afraid, and in the end he called 911. Fast-forward to full-body brace, ambulance ride, painful gurney transfers, X-rays and trying to pee in a ‘pot’ but failing despite desperately needing to go…here we are now. My boyfriend is home hopefully sleeping, Mia was a beloved angel the whole time and I’m sitting writing to you in pain but with nothing broken – thank goodness! (Mia is now sleeping too.) I’m oddly pauseous AND starving. The takeaway here is how I’ll choose to remember June 23-24th. Annoying, painful, a little scary? Or romantic, self-created adventure with an ending that makes for a semi-comical story? I choose the latter. It ended well, right? The pain sucks but it could’ve been so much worse and my boyfriend stayed by my side the entire time.
With everything that happened however I do have a saddening observation to make. I won’t say it with absolute certainty and I’ll preface by explaining why. Healthcare practitioners vary and among them we of course find the same diversity of kind and unkind people as we would in any population. That said, my observation is still worth noting because of the numbers. Throughout my experience last night and this morning, I noticed a stark contrast between the way I’m treated during psychiatric visits. I was treated with more care, respect and kindness this time and I have a nagging feeling as to why. Whether or not it’s conscious, the staff viewed my visit as purely medical; an accident and most importantly, not my fault. It wasn’t my mind. Now that’s a tragedy. That we should be treated differently on such a basis is unethical and simply incorrect. But it happened to me and I’m sure it happens to others all the time.
Now For a Mia Update
Yesterday was a lot bigger than what I just mentioned. Mia had a vet appointment due to us discovering a horrible oral situation. I give her dental kibble and a tartre-fighting powder but don’t brush. It’s a nightmare – she hates it! But during a two-person brushing we noticed obvious plaque and periodontal disease, so we made an urgent appointment. She’ll need to have the plaque and tartre removed of course but that couldn’t be done yesterday because it requires general anaesthetic. We did however get her vaccines updated sooner than the appointment I’ve been waiting for for months and Mia got micro chipped. I’m super happy about that though the whole thing was a mortgage payment. I’m so doomed with the upcoming payments but I’ll do anything for Mia.
Have a happy weekend!!! Here’s a cute pic for you!
2 thoughts on “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”
I’m a big fan of ACT.
I’m glad you didn’t end up hurting yourself too seriously when you fell.
Yeah it seems really interesting and helpful. Thanks, me too!