Distress Tolerance Exercise Post-mortem

I tried out the exercise my psychologist assigned me today. It didn’t go well.

I started to try and count all the greens I could see. There are at least a dozen different species of trees outside my window, each a little different. Different parts of the same tree had different shades of green.

I tried to count them. Panic started rising – there were so many colors, and I couldn’t concentrate enough to work out which ones I’d already counted. I tried to divide my view up into a grid so I could count better, but I found myself re-counting some of the grid squares. The panic kept rising, and I gave up, because I didn’t want to work myself up into a sobbing mess.

I feel like I’ve failed this entirely. It’s supposed to help me, but instead I just got wound up. Maybe I didn’t give it a fair chance because I’d already thought about what could go wrong. I don’t know. I came out with the same feeling I get when I go into a clothing store – there’s just too much there, and my senses overloaded.

I’m not sure what to take away from this. I didn’t really understand the exercise to start with, which really didn’t help. My mind is very academic and rational – I thrive on reasons. Maybe going into it with no idea what I was supposed to achieve made me not trust the process like I was supposed to.

It’s all very confusing. I’m doubting the path I’ve been assigned more and more. Maybe the psychologist is not going to be able to help me the way everyone thinks she can. It’s all too much for my brain to process.

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