A few months ago I returned to London from the intensive residential DBT program I was a patient at in Boston. I had grown so incredibly attached to the treatment team, the patients, the setting and the structure there, and didn’t want to leave. I knew I was ready for the next phase of my recovery, and at the same time, the transition was a highly unsettling and painful experience. Leaving the safety and holding that the unit and its people provided me with, and having to fly part way around the world to get home and resettle in London, was a terrifying prospect.
I have been in a number of treatment settings – from hospitals to rehabs, residential units to day care centres – and with each of them I have in some way developed a binding (often unhealthy) attachment. You see, I have never really felt at home nor grounded within myself, and I have had a weak sense of who I am for some time, to say the least. I therefore find myself building these temporary homes for myself based on experiences, relationships and institutions I find myself in. I become defined by and dependent on these people, places and things.
This is exactly what happened in Boston: The unit, the people, the program, everything… They all became my home, both for the time I was there, and even beyond. It was my safe place, my container, my haven, my security blanket. My mirror, my teacher, my network of encouragement and understanding, my family. Never before had I felt so understood and validated in such a holistic way. They really were my everything. I was totally in love with the people I met there, the surroundings and the unit. They were my world and I’m still detaching emotionally from them all.
I have been thinking about returning to Boston this summer for a few days or so at the end of August, when the girls I look after are away on holiday. One option is to go alone and potentially stay with a friend from my old unit, for around 4-5 days. Alternatively I have a close friend in London, S, who I could travel with, as she has expressed her own interest in going to Boston to meet friends of her own.
I’m feeling in a bit of a pickle, and am really struggling to make the decision. Is it effective for me to go? Would it be a Wise Mind plan? If it is, and if I do go, do I go alone or with S? Is it a better idea to stay in London? Honestly, I’ve been thinking about it for months.
I decided to use a Distress Tolerance skill within DBT called Pros and Cons. This skill involves writing a list of pros and cons both for and against the behaviour/ situation at hand. In this scenario I therefore thought about the:
- Pros of going to Boston
- Cons of going to Boston
- Pros of not going to Boston
- Cons of not going to Boston
Here is the sheet of paper I scribbled some thoughts down on:
I remain undecided, and will continue to ponder this until I come to a (hopefully most effective) decision.
Any outside perspectives would be much appreciated!