Out To Lunch

So here I am in a holding pattern. Some of these things are like the Army. My father used to say his experience in the Army during WWII was a series of hurry up and wait experiences. I find that true of all bureaucracies.

So, I am waiting to see Regillo again, Rock Star of Retinas and Wizard of Wills. I am waiting for my referrals for services to come through so I can get started on returning to a life that looks like the one I just lost and is “a life worth living” (a DBT Goal Definition depending upon whose life it is). Did I mention I have no, zero, nada, none patience?

I’m in a holding pattern. Did I mention I have no, zero, nada, none patience?

Here I want to send out kudos to people. Just people in general, although there are also some special people in the mix, too. I is a psychologist: I is. I get a kick out of people.  I love their strengths and their foibles (especially their foibles) and their warmth. I know a lot of people and, hard to believe, some of them actually like me. In the last month I would not have gotten along without my ‘peeps’ (or is that only the spelling for chickens?). Not only did Lin and Dave embrace this work of therapy and do most of the work to make it a reality, other people in my life have come through for me big time. My husband has been ‘driving Miss Susie’ all over God’s green acre, class members have been giving me rides to my exercise programs and people have been inviting me to activities. You know who you are and I thank you.

Thank you to all who have been driving me, inviting me, helping me. You know who you are.

I have become the ‘out to lunch lady’. OK, those of you who know me know I have always been a bit ‘out to lunch’, but these times I am actually eating. People are taking me to lunch and getting me OUT.  One of the DBT Distress Tolerance Skills is ACCEPTS (another acronym I’ll explain). The A is for activities.  A lot of time to sit around and think about everything that is going wrong is not good for anyone. Getting out and about and – for even just an hour – forgetting that all hell is breaking loose in your life is great therapy.

ACCEPTS is a DBT Distress Tolerance Skill.  A is for Activities.  I go out to lunch, a lot! And other activities, too.

I have been working hard to maintain my exercise class schedule. I have begged and cajoled and pleaded for rides – often without the necessity for all of those dramatics – and I have volunteers who will take me. I have been to a concert and gone to play in the park. And, yes, I have been out to lunch, a lot!

Acute crisis (is that redundant?) or long-term adjustment to a truly crappy turn of events, the purpose of the Distress Tolerance Skills are just to get you through. They may not be pretty. They may not be elegant and they sure will not solve the problem but they get you through without doing any more harm.

More harm. A lot of what we do in lousy situations does more harm.The obvious ones are things such as abusing substances and beating up on the people we should be reaching out to. The less obvious ones include NOT accepting that things have really gone wrong and somehow you have to deal.

A lot of what we do in lousy situations does more harm. The less obvious ones include NOT accepting that things have really gone wrong and somehow you have to deal.

There are some cute little sayings in DBT that are easy to remember. One of them is “what we resist, persists.”  Another one is “acceptance does not mean approval”.  You don’t have to approve of a turn of events in order to accept that it happened. Trust me. I am very disapproving of what has happened to my vision.  However, if I don’t accept the reality of the situation, how am I going to make things any better? I could have denied that I cannot see well. Kept on driving and killed someone. I could have kept on working and making mistakes. That would have hurt clients and destroyed my professional reputation. If I resisted the reality of having a vision loss, the problems would have persisted and gotten worse. At least this way I am taking steps, working with professional to hopefully allow me to see better.

If I resisted the realty of a vision loss, the problems would have persisted and gotten worse.

I will revisit the concepts of Distress Tolerance as we go along. Right now let me get back to the original concept of this posting: I love people.

One of the BIG problems with AMD for me is not being able to see faces from a certain distance. I had an acquaintance tell me I had walked right past her and had not acknowledged her. It had me in tears because I truly do not want to offend people nor for people to think I am a snob.

I am discovering that having AMD visual impairment is a dilemma. My vision is good enough that I can navigate pretty well. I appear to be fully sighted….and blowing them off. I considered finding some way of identifying myself as partially sighted but I have not come up with any good ideas. Wearing a sign appears to be in bad taste and buying a white cane would be disrespectful of those who truly have serious vision loss. I thought about those black, black glasses but my sense of pride and my sense of style joined forces and rejected that idea in short order.

A BIG problem is not being able to see faces from a certain distance.

The idea I have chosen is simply to TELL people. I am a talker and this is a small town. Word travels at the speed of light. I have also swallowed my pride and have gotten into the habit of  – when necessary – identifying myself as visually impaired. Bitter pill to swallow because it means changing my entire self-identification and admitting the tough girl needs some help. However, it has gotten easier and it does work.  People are generally pretty kind.

I appear to be fully sighted. I have chosen to simply TELL people.

One of the Cs in ACCEPTS is comparison. The bitter pill of admitting to a visual handicap is a lot easier for me when I do a comparison. Do I want to withhold the information and look ditsy and stupid? After all, the information is probably posted right in front of my nose. Or is a visual handicap a better reason? Ditsy and stupid or visually impaired? You compare. You chose.

Taking from another DBT module, Interpersonal Effectiveness, I want to say something about how to ask for what you want and/or need. Social scientists have discovered that simply giving a reason, no matter how inane, will make people more likely to do something you would like. It could be as stupid as asking to move to the front of the line at the snack bar because you want a hot dog. Works better than you would ever believe.

The DBT skill Interpersonal Effectiveness says that you need to ask for what you want and/or need.

Next: Tech Talk

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