01/12/2016 10:11 GMT | Updated 01/12/2017 05:12 GMT

Surfing Waves Of Emotion


Surfing The Waves Of Emotion

"Step back and just notice your emotion. Experience your emotion as a wave, coming and going. Now imagine surfing the emotion waves."

Marshall M. Linehan

2.00 in the afternoon eating lemon meringue for breakfast with episodes of The West Wing running on a loop is a fairly accurate indicator that I may not be on sparkling top form. Three days into latest BPD induced hibernation from the outside world because even the walk to and from the shop on a Wednesday afternoon feels far too peopely a proposition.

According to my four months of DBT training I should be visualising my emotions as waves. I should be recognising each emotional wave and skilfully surfing it using my toolbox of DBT skills. I should be using the distress tolerance skills I have been taught so I am capable of thinking logically. Leaving me able to follow the DBT playbook which anyone who has been through DBT training will recognise ....Each false thought should be noticed, identified and challenged before it is allowed to blow up into unmanageable powerful emotions.

An awful lot of 'shoulds' in the above paragraph which would seem to indicate I am letting a large number of people down including myself. Here is another should for you....whoever wrote the emotional wave surfing analogy should have checked with someone who has actually surfed before publishing.

When you are out there in the ocean you soon learn to read waves. The ocean could be flat as a pancake without a ripple on the shimmering surface but you can just tell when an Atlantic roller is coming your way because there is a natural rythymn every set of waves served up. You lie on the board, get into position facing the shore ready to launch yourself with four powerful strokes from your arms powering through the water so you are matching the speed of the wave and sure enough a set of rollers come along. You then pop up on the board or wipe out depending on luck or skill level.

Waves of powerful BPD led emotions are a very different and dangerous animal to their oceanic namesakes however. No matter how much training or experience one has those sneaky little cankerblossoms (Shakespearian insult) can overpower even a veteran BPD sufferer like myself virtually without warning. They swamp you in powerful emotions before you can even begin to think of getting ready to surf them.

So perhaps that's why I am helplessly drowning with arms uselessly flailing in this new storm of BPD led powerful emotional waves. Rather than skilfully or perhaps more accurately gamely attempting to surf these abstract waves.