Describe Your Emotions worksheet

Sometimes our ability to process emotions while still engaging in logical processing of information may not be as developed as we would like. This can contribute to problems such as saying or doing things when we are angry, frightened or sad that we might later wish we had said or done differently. The Describe Your Emotions worksheet, adapted from a tool in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by McKay, Brantley, Wood & Marra, is a tool you can use to train yourself over time to build stronger communication pathways between emotional processing centres and other information processing centres in your brain.

Radio National program on Borderline Personality Disorder

The All in the Mind program on ABC’s Radio National recently aired a good segment on effective treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Treatment is out there, and it works. To listen to the program, or read the transcript, follow the link here: Borderline personality disorder—what works?

On the program Catherine Bennett, formerly diagnosed with BPD, says the following:

BPD is not a choice, but recovery is. And like any mental illness, no one ever chooses to have a mental illness, but fighting for recovery, having a life worth living, that’s a choice. And making that choice is the first step.

If you would like to know more about BPD, you may also like to read Life on the Line – what is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Do you feel wise?

Have you ever noticed that many people are emotionist? This is a made-up word I am using here to refer to people being prejudiced against certain emotions. Some emotions are treated as acceptable – or even admirable – while others are treated as “bad” or “wrong”. Happiness is generally seen as something positive to aspire to, while anger, jealousy, fear and many times sadness are treated as though they are feelings that healthy people should not have. They are treated as feelings that you should eliminate as quickly as possible and it is even suggested that people should try to prevent them occurring in the first place.
Sad man crying in rain

Well, that is baloney. Every emotion exists for a reason. Continue reading

Life on the Line – what is Borderline Personality Disorder?

What is it like to have Borderline Personality Disorder?

Just a few hours ago, Charlene had felt like she was on top of the world. She had been out shopping with her best friend, Jenny, and they were both having a great time. Charlene made quite a few purchases. She’d spent more than she intended but they were such great value, she couldn’t resist. Plus, she recently got a new job, which pays well, so she’d felt confident that she would be able to manage the expense.

Then everything changed. While leaving the shopping centre Charlene suggested to Jenny that they should meet up again next weekend. Jenny hesitated, then said she already had other plans. Charlene felt immediately disappointed. As she was driving home afterwards she found herself unable to stop thinking about Jenny’s response. The more she thought about it, the more certain she began to feel that Jenny had just been making an excuse, and really didn’t want to spend time with Charlene again. Charlene felt growing feelings of having been rejected, and a growing certainty that Jenny wanted to distance herself from Charlene and end their friendship.

Feelings of being rejected and abandoned by Jenny were quickly followed by feelings of intense anger. How could Jenny treat her this way? Why did Jenny hate her – after everything Charlene had done for her? Soon all of the past disputes and misunderstandings that had ever happened in their friendship were filling Charlene’s mind. With every passing minute Charlene felt increasingly furious at Jenny and a growing hatred for her. How could she have been so blind to think Jenny was a friend after all the times she had hurt her? Charlene hated Jenny. There was no way she would ever speak to her again.

Photo of friend vandalised with words 'I hate her!'

Right on the heels of hatred began feelings of self-loathing. Why did Charlene’s friends always end up hurting her like this? She concluded that it was because she is a vile, detestable person. Nobody could possibly care for someone so obviously defective.
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It Has to be Perfect

You are reading an article online and you come across the following sentence:

Sometimes when your driving you may notice your car does not seem to be performing at it’s best.

Do you cringe? Do you immediately scroll to the bottom of the article to find the comments section and fire off this reply:

Cutting costs on editors now? The sentence should read: “Sometimes when you’re driving you may notice your car does not seem to be performing at its best.”

You frequently berate yourself for not having made progress on a mental list of tasks that need to be done. You have piles of unread mail to go through; there is that assignment due next week and you keep telling yourself that this time you aren’t going to leave it until the last minute and then stay up until 2am completing it; your lawn is getting long and you are worrying about what the neighbours will think about the fact you haven’t mown yet.

You are driving at 100km/h in a 100km/h zone. Someone overtakes you; you estimate he is doing 106km/h. You secretly hope he gets pulled over for speeding. If you do see him pulled over, you feel secretly pleased.

You are given a project to work on with a team of colleagues. You do most of the work yourself because you’re sure the others wouldn’t do it right.

You don’t like anyone to help you clean up at home because they always put things in the wrong place, or they wipe the benches with the dish cloth and the dishes with the bench cloth.

You have trouble throwing things away – you never know when they might come in handy.

You finding yourself spending more time developing a more efficient way to complete a one-off task than it would have taken you to just do the task with the tools you already had.

Your friends tell you that you work too much … or you don’t have time for friends.

Someone at work is collecting money for yet another birthday or farewell cake. You try to avoid contributing.

You have an eye for detail and always complete tasks to a very high standard. But, at the same time, you find it hard to get the motivation to start something and you are never happy with the end result. Nothing ever feels good enough.

You are in a waiting room and the urge to straighten a crooked painting on the wall is becoming almost overwhelming.

Annoyingly crooked square in a set of neatly arranged squares

If more than a few of the above scenarios sound familiar to you, it might be fair to say you are a bit of a perfectionist. If quite a lot of the above sound familiar to you but you are thinking, “Me? A perfectionist?! No way! You should see the mess in my garden shed/bedroom/kitchen/office …!” then you most likely are a perfectionist (who, like most perfectionists, is incessantly bothered by your inability to meet your own standard of perfection). Does this mean you have a problem? Not necessarily.
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