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There was a much smaller group for DBT this week, only 7 of us plus the two group leaders. We celebrated a “graduation” as one of the group members is graduating from school and moving to another state for grad school. So we started with our “mindfulness” exercise of eating celebratory cake – slowly and deliberately and without distraction. I had theatre warm-ups running through my head (to sit in solemn silence in a dull dark dock in a pestilential prison with a life long lock…) so I didn’t do the whole mindfulness thing very well. I never do.

In general, mindfulness is excruciatingly difficult for me. We continued with our “how” skills for core mindfulness, and this week the focus is “one-mindfulness”, meaning doing just one thing at a time. We all volunteered something that we do one-mindfully; for me, it was writing. When I’m writing, I’m in the zone. I’m totally sucked in. Hyperfocused. It’s awesome.

"Santa Claus is not evil. There is no need to defend myself against him." Talk about a one-track mind! Displayed at the Tate Modern in London, UK.

As the session kept going and people were talking about something that they can do one-mindfully next week, I got distressed. Here we are on week two and I’m being asked to do something that I feel like I just can’t do at all. It’s extremely difficult with unmedicated ADD to focus like that. I could try to drink my coffee and do nothing else – but if I did that, I’d just drink it in one gulp so I could get it over with. I can’t watch TV without doing something else at the same time. It distresses me.

I said as much when I was called on to talk about what I would do one-mindfully next week. They pressed me to think of something, and I really couldn’t. I couldn’t think of one thing I know I could do without being distracted from it. I said that I don’t want to set myself up to fail. Another group member reminded me that this is practice. Yes, practice. Practice at failing and being frustrated and hating that my brain won’t do this. Haven’t I done enough of that already?

So anyway, they let me go without committing to anything specific. But I still have to come up with something to do one-mindfully.

This is harder than I expected.

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