Name, age, city/town:
Debbie, 41, Sacramento
What was the most rewarding thing about learning skills?
The most rewarding thing for me with learning skills was realizing I actually do have choices and power, even in those moments when my emotions are intense or thoughts are distressing. Before learning the skills, I believed I was doomed to continue to repeat the self-sabotaging behaviors I'd been doing for so long. The skills offered me another way.
What are your favorite skills to use?
My favorite skills to use are the ones that help me the most even to this day: checking the facts, radical acceptance, and distracting through self-soothing or activities.
What advice would you give someone who is starting to learn DBT?
Really, truly give it a chance. It's taken likely decades to develop the patterns you've been doing for so long. It is going to take time to practice making new choices and creating new pathways in the brain so that choosing skills becomes more and more accessible and the desire to repeat old, self-sabotaging behaviors lessens. It's worth the effort!
How has your life changed since learning DBT?
I no longer meet the criteria for a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) diagnosis after learning and integrating the skills into my life. I am able to keep important relationships and make choices that support my well-being.
How are you creating a life worth living today?
I now teach the skills I've learned in my online DBT course at emotionallysensitive.com. I've become a DBT-trained life coach and will be celebrating the 6 year anniversary of my online school for emotionally sensitive people in the spring. Teaching what I've learned creates accountability for me on my own journey of continued personal healing, and it allows me to be of service in a very meaningful way with others.
I am now happily married and spend lots of time playing and resting with my amazing partner and our two furbabies in our home in sunny Sacramento, California.
Debbie has been a subscriber to My Dialectical Life since 2012. She’s someone I deeply respect and admire. Thank you, Debbie, for allowing your light to shine in what is sometimes a dark world. —Amanda