Even if I regularly complain (and will continue to do so) that talk therapy wasn’t specific enough for me when it came to every-day measures, my therapist gave me one incredibly valuable advice “Buy a CD with an instruction to Autogenic Training and consistently listen to it every day.”
Basically the whole thing is about visualizing different things (for example that your arms and legs feel heavy or warm) on your own but that is really hard to do with the attention span of a triggered person with BPD – twenty minutes can feel like ages. Fortunately, there are CDs with all the instructions so you just have to make yourself comfortable and do what you’re told. The speakers vary in their degree of being annoying, that’s a very subjective thing so I won’t give any recommendations.
In the beginning the whole project felt quite boring – after a short time I knew the text including the whale songs in the background by heart but after all that’s what it’s about. Taking twenty minutes off every day is really manageable so I didn’t have any excuses. Like I said, it is more difficult than one should reckon not to think about anything else for twenty minutes and of course my limbs felt neither heavy nor warm in the beginning.
But at some point something clicked and I actually could feel the suggested warmth. I often felt as if I had fallen asleep but as I always was wide awake at the end of the training, me and my therapist decided I had just been veeeeeeeeeery relaxed – and when I started AT (Autogenic Training) I NEVER was relaxed.
After some time, a sort of automatism started to work, today I just have to hear the first few words and my body starts relaxing on its own. I don’t have to concentrate so hard anymore and a few months ago I stopped doing the training daily, it works now, no matter how long the break has been. It’s great help to know that there is something that reliably calms me down: Be it for recreation after a panic attack, after a long day at work or if I have a strong urge to harm myself: Twenty minutes are always manageable and after it I feel more rested than after a nap, I’m able to concentrate and less agitated.
Conclusion: I can definitely recommend AT for everyone, no matter if you’re healthy or have any diagnosis, anyone can learn it and there are no side-effects. For me, the 5 Euros I invested where worth unpayably much, I don’t think that I would have had the patience to learn it without the CD. I am grateful that my therapist insisted on my doing the training – AT is now an anchor for me, an emergency brake I don’t want to do without anymore.
I just went through this again and realized that it sounds like an advertisement or a flyer from some sect but I was just so surprised by how much something so “simple” helped me that I didn’t want to keep it back – I definitely don’t call for you buying a thousand books about self help or bad CDs with weird meditations, there’s also lots of information about AT online 🙂