May is Mental Health Month in the United States. Many organizations, including NAMI and Mental Health America, run awareness campaigns to reduce stigma, share hope, and spread the word that mental health is something everyone should care about. To support that effort, The Linehan Institute will be sharing stories from both national and international DBT clients and therapists throughout the month.
The Linehan Institute has collected many DBT success stories via our website. These stories spread hope and inspiration to DBT clients, their family and supporters, and DBT providers. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Natalia (18) in Scotland, who shared with us her struggle to find treatment and the incredible changes she has seen in her life once she was able to access care.
What was your experience in seeking and finding the help you needed?
N: I live in the UK, and access to DBT was difficult. There were only two trained DBT therapists in a nearby city, but when I found one, I clicked with my therapist straight away.
When did you receive treatment?
N: I am currently receiving DBT. Having the DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets helps a lot in my DBT homework! I have the DBT Skills Training Manual as well. Yes, it’s for professionals, but sometimes I like to learn from it.
What changes have you observed in your life as a result of receiving DBT?
N: My cutting and risky and suicidal behaviors have been reduced greatly. They happen from time-to-time, but I am no longer cutting every single day like I used to. I am currently learning Radical Acceptance [a DBT Distress Tolerance Skill], and Willing Hands [another Distress Tolerance skill] has helped me to accept that sometimes I need to be willing to accept a certain emotion instead of fighting it and constantly trying to get away from it.
With skills coaching, I managed to apply the skills to my life. I did used to feel that they weren’t effective at the time of crisis, but looking back, I see that they did help me to resist urges, despite what I told myself at the time.
Crisis survival skills have been extremely valuable. The “cold water” trick is extremely effective in calming me down, ice cubes too. All of the crisis survival skills have been helpful in resisting urges.
Because of DBT, I no longer think that my life is not worth living. I want to help people to be able to see the same light that I see now, and I want to help those who are in that same dark place I was digging myself out of. I am determined to stay alive and determined to keep going.
To find out more about the books that Natalia found helpful, visit the Behavioral Tech website.