DBT Diary Card-Help?

My new DBT therapist gave me my first diary card yesterday and already I’m a little confused.

I have not started group yet as there is not an opening for another month. This is OK with me as I have started individual and gives me time to acclimate and prepare myself to be part of any sort of group.

I tried googling to see if I could find a sample of someone having filled one out but I’m not finding the type that I have. In addition, my therapist only instructed me to start the top part, not worrying about the ‘Skill’ portion yet.  This is also good for me as I would be overwhelmed with too much right away.  My brain just can’t handle too much at once at this time.

The diary card, at the top going across, lists: Joy – Fear – Sad – Anger – Shame
And then I’m supposed to rate each one, each day, from 0-10.
There is also an extra block for another emotion. But I have like three other emotions I feel frequently.

So my questions:
1 How do I accommodate in those little boxes for the emotions I feel more than once a day? It seems that there is only room for one number, which seems to me like I’m only supposed to count one time. But I can feel each emotion many times a day. Right now I’m squeezing numbers in, but this could get sloppy on the paper and impossible to read if say I feel anger or sadness ten times in a day.

2 For the three other emotions I’m accounting for in one block, what should I do for this? I am thinking I could just do some of this on a separate piece of paper. I’m already seeing I’m going to need to do that for the notes anyway. I like to write out what the reason is for the emotion, because remembering why is helpful with dealing with the emotion as well.

Suggestions and help is welcome.


5 thoughts on “DBT Diary Card-Help?

  1. That’s exactly what I was thinking – using another piece of paper. Maybe in the little block you can take the average of those numbers when you feel the same emotion, and write it in there at the end of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Good to see someone else has the same question. Thanks for the idea. I was looking at all the little spaces and wondering if anyone (or everyone) uses separate pieces of paper. I mean, geez, even people who aren’t borderline have tons of emotions throughout the day.

      I tried this (DBT) on my own before and found this diary card so overwhelming because of that. I could spend the day just on that, writing out all the details.

      Ain’t nobody got time for that. Lol.

      I’m ridiculous when it comes to detail. Yesterday I thought, “Meh, I’ll just write the numbers and leave it at that.”

      But then even that same day when going back to look at it and record another rating of an emotion, I was like, “Now why did I get angry again?”

      And that’s when I decided, there is no way I can’t write out the details. That little space for notes is way too small for the shit I need to write. I mean look at my response back to you. Lol.

      Liked by 3 people

    • OoOoOoOhhhhh! I’m sorry. 😦

      I’m not a fan atm either. But I have calmed down quite a bit. I cried my eyes out and I think I actually feel the relief from it and not just exhausted like I usually feel after a big ugly cry.

      I asked about it on a Facebook DBT group. I got a really empathetic reply from a woman there.

      She keeps a journal for it because she found she needs more space than what the sheets give . Which is what I will end up doing. But she pointed out something to me that really made a difference.

      She said, the structure may be too much right now. She also said they are there to be helpful not add stress. So if it’s adding stress then put it aside. She was much more eloquent in her words than I’m being here.

      I didn’t tell her all that about the triggers though. Just what I was confused about and that I was overwhelmed.

      She suggested I put it aside til my next appointment, which I thought was a good idea. But I will probably go back to it a little bit at least before my next appointment. I’m not touching it the rest of the day.

      As I write this and think about my reaction it feels like a tantrum. But then I realize these flashbacks ‘ain’t’ no joke. Ah self-kindness. ❤

      My reaction is a big indication that I need this help. I've been avoiding it for this reason. And the only way for me atm, is through.

      I think it might also be a little learned helplessness as well. Or maybe a lot. My frustrations didn't start out with the flashbacks. That came after feeling like it was too much.

      Liked by 1 person

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