As I have mentioned in previous posts I have been in the outpatient program at Portland DBT for about a year now. I have been in their phase one program since March of 2016. Being in phase one means that I have therapy once a week and then I go to an eating disorder-specific group once a week where we learn DBT skills. Phase one is a 6-month commitment because it takes that long to get through the entire workbook. Back in September of last year, I had the option of graduating then or doing phase one again so that I get a really good grasp on the skills. More often than not people decide to do phase one at least twice. The reason is that there are SO many skills and to learn all of them in 6 months can be overwhelming. You try to memorize the acronyms and understand them but you have to consult your book in order to be able to use them. By doing phase one twice, most people find that the second time around you actually get comfortable enough to genuinely start applying them into your life. So I decided to repeat my phase one group with the intention of moving to phase two after that. I rarely have to even think about what skill to use because they come so natural to me now. When I am in a crisis I know what to do and even if it just means sitting on the couch and crying at least I’m not using food or my eating disorder as a coping skill.
I have never been much of a Valentine’s Day person and I certainly wasn’t this year. February 14th, 2017 was a very meaningful day for me because after a year of handwork I graduated from Portland DBT’s phase one program. I felt full of energy, strength, confidence, and pride. I genuinely felt in control of my eating disorder and that was something I haven’t felt for a long time. I couldn’t help but feel like I was glowing from happiness all day. I was incredibly proud of myself and that is difficult for me to say. At that moment that I walked out of the doors of Portland DBT as a phase one graduate, I actually felt content with my life. Being in phase two now means that you are not engaging in problem behaviors which I haven’t been for over five months now! 🙂 You work on setting long-term goals and continue applying skills to your life so that you can remain behavior free and stable. I chose a body image specific group because that is definitely still my main struggle. Self-love and recovery are the best Valentines I could ever want. They are the two things I have been working towards for so many years and while my self-love still needs a lot of work, it has progressed so much. I am so happy to be in this next chapter and to continue moving forward through my recovery journey.
Feature image credit: unknown. Contact me if you know the source. Thank you.