In the vast universe of mental health, the journey for neurodivergent individuals can sometimes feel like traversing through time and space. Much like the iconic Doctor in Doctor Who, our emotions can be as unpredictable as a TARDIS landing. It's not uncommon for us to unintentionally send out signals that may be misinterpreted by those around us. In this blog post, we'll explore the concept of emotional regulation and how we can use the acronym REST - Regulate, Evaluate, Set Intention, and Take Action - as a guide on our quest for better mental well-being.
The Doctor's Miscommunication:
In one memorable Doctor Who episode, the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) has taken a job as a caretaker at a school. When the young Courtney discovers the TARDIS phone booth in the maintenance room, she asks the Doctor / Caretaker for some paper towels but is met by the Doctor in one of his grumpier states:
DOCTOR: Can't you read?
COURTNEY: Course I can read. Read what?
DOCTOR: The door. It says, "Keep Out."
COURTNEY: No, it says, "Go Away Humans."
DOCTOR: Oh, so it does. Never lose your temper in the middle of a door sign.
-The Caretaker (2014)
This comical yet relatable moment serves as an analogy for the times when neurodivergent individuals find themselves dysregulated and inadvertently conveying emotions in a way that may not align with their true intentions.
Understanding Emotional Dysregulation: Neurodivergent "misfits" often experience emotional dysregulation, a state where emotions overwhelm the ability to respond in a controlled and socially acceptable manner. It's crucial to recognize that these moments do not define us - they are signs that our nervous systems are flooded and that we need some space. And while "Go Away Humans," is certainly effective, there are certain some other tools available to help us navigate these emotional challenges.
Today's geek therapy intervention is the the power of REST as found in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha M. Linehan. The concept of the REST acronym is a valuable tool for emotional regulation. Let's break down each step:
Acknowledge and validate your emotions without judgment.
Practice grounding techniques or mindfulness to bring awareness to the present moment.
Identify physical sensations associated with dysregulation and work towards calming them.
Evaluate Our Options:
Take a step back and assess the situation objectively.
Consider alternative perspectives and interpretations.
Ask yourself if your emotional response aligns with the reality of the situation.
Set an Intention:
Clearly define the outcome you desire from the situation.
Consider the impact of your actions on yourself and others.
Choose responses that align with your long-term goals for well-being and connection.
Implement the chosen response with intention and mindfulness.
Use effective communication skills to express your needs and feelings.
Be open to feedback and adjust your approach if necessary.
Conclusion: In the complex journey of navigating neurodivergence, the REST approach serves as a compass, guiding us towards emotional regulation and connection. Like the Doctor, let's learn from our moments of miscommunication, offering ourselves compassion and utilizing tools like REST to foster understanding and build meaningful connections with those around us. By embracing these Geek Therapy principles, we can transcend the challenges of emotional dysregulation and embark on a path towards a healthier, more harmonious existence.