Window of tolerance

Posted on 363 words | ~2 mins

I have a therapist. Yes. Why? Oh, I could list a number of reasons, but suffice to say it is to better myself. I have some difficulties coping with extreme emotions, or at least emotions I perceive to be extreme. In discussing this, my therapist wanted to explain something to me. So she drew “the window of tolerance”. For some reason, this seemed so logical, and yet I had never realized this. It explained so much.

Window of Tolerance graph

The window of tolerance is nothing more or less than a graph of your emotions; highs, lows and everything in between. Every person has a windows in which they cycle between a good feeling and a bad feeling, anything in between their personal max and min feels ok. But if your emotions overshoot that max or undershoot the min, you feel out of control and “lose it”. That’s where I often sit and during which I still (as a 36yr old) struggle with self-injury. I don’t act on it, but it tempts me. This has been a constant ‘companion’ in my life ever since I started. I don’t think it will ever completely be gone, it’s still the first thought when things get really bad (read that as in a state of hyperarousal according to the window of tolerance.)

Now, why am I in therapy? Because I have issues dealing with emotions; mainly negative ones. I can’t take criticism, it causes my head to play tricks on me. It will cause my thought pattern to spiral out of control in a downward spiral. And eventually without intervention, this leads to S.I. or suicidal thoughts. I have gotten better at dealing with things, but occasionally it still sneaks up on me and bites me in the ass. That’s how it feels at least.

This state has been this way for many years, so why now? Because I have met my finishing piece of my own puzzle. And I want to build a life with her, I want to grow old with her, I want to get wrinkly(er) and grey with her. So I need to deal with these emotions, I need to grow up a little more ;)