Depressed & Anxious -DBT for the masses

Depressed & Anxious by Thomas Marra, Ph.D. (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) is excellent. Let’s get that out of the way!

Next, let me tell you how this book came to be in my collection. I bought it many years ago and filled it out from stem-to-stern. Then one day, as I often do, I went back through it, read everything I’d written and deemed it “hot coals on fire” and ripped it up, page-by-page before I tossed it into the garbage.

PS to sentence above: *It* wasn’t garbage but I had decided that my contribution to it was.  I kind of forgot about it, though not really. I’d noticed “Dialectical Behavior Therapy” here-and-there (clearly, it’s hyphen day!) and every time I saw those words, I thought of this book.

Then, several weeks ago, my friend Becki graciously sent a few books my way and this was among them. I am so jazzed to have it again! This time, I’m’a keepin’ it!

So, you may be wondering….

What the heck is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and does it work?

One step at a time, my peeps. One step at a time.

The origins of DBT, according to Wikipedia: A modified form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), DBT was developed in the late 1980s by Marsha M. Linehan,[5] a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, to treat people with borderline personality disorder and chronically suicidal individuals. Research on its effectiveness in treating other conditions has been fruitful;[6] DBT has been used to treat people with depression, drug and alcohol problems,[7] post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),[8] traumatic brain injuries (TBI), binge-eating disorder,[1] and mood disorders.[9][10]Research indicates DBT might help patients with symptoms and behaviors associated with spectrum mood disorders, including self-injury.[11]Recent work also suggests its effectiveness with sexual abuse survivors[12] and chemical dependency.[13]

What DBT actually IS, as written on page 9 of this book: “Dialectics” address conflicting demands and wants, and “behavior” refers to having strategic goals you constantly compare with your actions. DBT is thus a process to use your feelings to obtain your goals in spite of severe obstacles. 

My take – DBT uses Behavioral techniques that help you step back and see your emotions for what they really are (which in turn helps to control them).

This book, obviously, focuses in on Depression & Anxiety, which was why I got it in the first place. Hi, I’m depressed and anxious. Nice to meetcha!

It is a fantastic resource and workbook! It’s wall-to-wall (still hyphen day!) exercises that will help you to see YOUR TRUTH. You can’t NOT move forward with healing if you follow along and do the work!

Does it heal you? Take away depression & anxiety? Well…. kind of? For me, it gave me the room I needed to step back from some of what was paralyzing me… and that, my friends, is a WIN!

Let me share something that jumped out (at the time I first read it) and shook me to the core and totally changed my life – for real.

It’s from a section called Transparency versus Privacy.

Five years ago, very much like … uh… now… I was very transparant with my life and story. I wrote on message boards and tried a few blogs (as has been dicussed here before).

It was brought up to me that I might want to be more careful sharing of myself because there are some things that are just… well, private. I was confused about that, which, as it turns out, is very normal for people with mixed depression and anxiety.

Oddly, or not oddly at all, this is why I’d be completely transparent about something that would embarrass anyone else, then get scared and scrap the entire post or blog. Like the book says, I jumped from one extreme to the other, which is funny because my mom and I were just talking about this the other day. I do that all the time! Yes, even still. Except, I have come to terms with some things (yay, me!) which is why this blog is still here. (Did I say yay me! LOL) What I did in the past is jump into privacy mode (delete, delete, delete!) because of my anxiety. I no longer do that.

And then, my most humiliating realization of something I’d been doing… I call it an “OMG moment” and it is something I still struggle with today:

  • The anxiety makes you feel inadequate.
  • You wish someone would take pity on you and intervene on your behalf.
  • The same is true for depression. […] You hope that others will rescue you.

BLECH. Seriously? Yes, actually. Seriously. It’s what most embarrassed me about this book, er, MYSELF, as reflected back (you know, the copy I destroyed because I couldn’t bear to look at myself.)

I found out soooooooooooooooo much about myself! Even now, writing this post about it. I could go on and on!

I am, of course, sharing only tiny pieces of what’s available in these pages. If you get it, prepare to work. This is a powerful, powerful book that will change your life, if you let it.

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