Willfulness is refusing to make changes or doing the opposite of what works. It’s giving up. When I am willful I have “Bed Days”. These are days that I take my nighttime medicine in broad daylight and watch TV until I fall asleep. My whole goal with Bed Days is to sleep the day away.
I am still groggy when my husband comes home from work and try to hide it. I don’t want him to know about my bed days. I am acting willful on these days because I know there are coping skills that could help me but I refuse to use them.
DBT explains willfulness as:
Refusing to tolerate the moment and make changes that are needed
Doing the opposite of what of what works
Insisting on being in control
Trying to fix every situation
Attachment to “me, me, me” and what I want.
My bed days are a form of giving up. You might experience willfulness by not letting something go, an argument perhaps, or not being able to see a better idea than yours. Regardless of what type of manifest of willfulness you may have experienced, it is all about you, you, you.
I find this to be the most powerful part of my depression and I combat it every day. When you are willing you listen to your Wise Mind. When you are willful you shut Wise Mind out. That means you shut out God. Surely, if you pray, God could lessen the despair, but you don’t want to listen, you would rather wallow in it. I want to shut off everything and hope tomorrow is a better day.
DBT tells us to turn our mind towards willingness, toward acceptance that I am acting willful. When willfulness is immovable ask yourself, “What’s the threat?”
When I think about the threat of living through another empty day, I can sometimes turn my mind before I choose to take a bed day. Maybe a short nap where I can think through some priorities of mine. I admit to myself that I am avoiding living. I go through the options in my mind and look for something I might want to do besides sleep. I come upon something that I can make a commitment to doing like take a shower. Lately baking and listening to music have been good alternatives to bed day. Writing is usually farthest from my mind. How can I write when all I want to do is get over this?
“The righteous may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” Psalm 34:19
Being willful with God is not taking or asking for His help. God tells us to lean on Him, to accept His grace. Being willful is thinking you can do it all on your own, ignoring God’s Word. The Holy Spirit works to renew our minds. Being willful is ignoring that or not allowing it to happen because we are so caught up in this world of depression.
God can restore us- He knows the pressures that are upon us and understands what we are going through. When we are Willful we do not feel God’s closeness. Open yourself to Him.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2