Challenging Thoughts & Feelings

It has been a while! Hello. Hopefully you’ll be pleased to hear that the time since my last post has been spent working especially hard on becoming more well (I struggle to use the word Recovery for some reason…I think because I feel it is thrown around a bit flippantly). I have made a hell… Continue reading Challenging Thoughts & Feelings

The Not Knowing Stance

Absolutely key to Mentalization Based Treatment, of which I am very fortunate to be undergoing in an intensive rehabilitation iinpatient service. I am almost 14 months in and for the first time am seeing significant positive change and hope for the future.

“You’re worth it, Molly”

The team here really are going above and beyond to help me cope with an operation that my mum is having at the end of the week, and their willingness to be flexible and supportive means that I will get to be there for here at the most important times whilst making sure that I get through it as emotionally unscathed as possible. When I thanked them for all they are doing, the above was their response. Words that are hard to take on and truly believe but that they are proving their belief of it to me through actions.

Things I Never Thought I’d Be Able to Say: 9 Months in to Inpatient Treatment for Personality Disorder

Out of area locked placements for the treatment of personality disorders frequently get a lot of bad press, and I can often see why this is the case. Fortunately, I have been very lucky (finally!) with my current placement which, although it is several hours drive from home and run by a private company (usually… Continue reading Things I Never Thought I’d Be Able to Say: 9 Months in to Inpatient Treatment for Personality Disorder

Re: The Guardian’s Report on Locked Mental Health Rehabilitation Wards – A Patient’s Experience

The Guardian has published an article about locked mental health rehabilitation wards that has a lot of interesting figures in and some perspectives on the purpose and morality of wards such as these existing. This article and the figures within need to be looked at with balance and with regards to whether each ward does… Continue reading Re: The Guardian’s Report on Locked Mental Health Rehabilitation Wards – A Patient’s Experience

6 Months in to Personality Disorder Placement

As I type this, I’ve been meaning to do so for so long that I’m now actually closer to 7 months of being here. Where is here? Well, to me it is the place that has given me hope of a life. For the first and only time, I feel like I no longer am… Continue reading 6 Months in to Personality Disorder Placement

Intro to MBT Booklet – PDF to Download

Recently I created a summary booklet about Mentalization Based Treatment under the supervision of the MBT Coordinator at my placement. The staff here have found it really helpful and they’re going to start giving it out to those receiving treatment to aid understanding. There isn’t much ‘easy-read’ or introductory information about MBT out there so I thought others may find it helpful, too.

The PDF is available to download here: MBT leaflet РPDF Download

A preview of the booklet is below:

mbt booklet pages 1 and 2mbt booklet pages 3 and 4mbt booklet pages 5 and 6

I hope you found this helpful – feel free to print it off for yourself or share it.

What is Mentalization? (MBT)

My placement is based upon the Mentalization Based Treatment model; this is a NICE recommended, evidence-based treatment for personality disorders (although it is less well-known than DBT). I’ve had a day where I’ve needed some help distracting myself and keeping busy, so one of the MBT Practitioners here asked me to have a go at summarising Mentalization and the model we work with in to something that can be transformed in to a booklet for staff members (e.g. HCAs and nurses who haven’t had specific training in MBT) and new patients.

This is my first draft and I thought it might be useful to share it more widely for anyone curious about MBT as I know I struggled to find easily-accessible material when this placement was suggested to me.

Week-i-versary

So, I’ve been at my new placement a week. It kind of feels like forever in both good and bad ways…I’ve met some really lovely fellow patients who I enjoy spending time with and some nice staff who seem to genuinely care but it has also felt a little claustrophobic at times with some big… Continue reading Week-i-versary

Help with Emotions

Emotions are tricky little buggers. They really are.

And for some of us they feel down right impossible to cope with, understand, recognise and even simply to have. I struggle in many ways with emotions…others’ but mainly my own. I also give myself a hard time about that fact and expect myself to ‘do better’ or ‘feel the right thing’. Knowing this, and knowing that I’m facing a particularly turbulent time*, last week the crisis team manager had me do an exercise where I stood in the middle of a room surrounded by different sized pieces of paper and alotted emotions to those pieces of paper according to how much I was feeling them at the time. We then went through several different scenarios and changed the emotions around accordingly. This was to show me that even if I was being hard on myself and expecting to feel the ‘right’ emotions (e.g. happy or relieved that the placement is definite rather than scared or anxious) or feeling that I would feel one emotion forever, in fact recent history shows that emotions fluctuate massively in their presence or size and that I can feel many things at once without invalidating anything else that’s going on.

I found the exercise incredibly helpful (although it felt quite painful at the time) and today decided to recreate it in a portable and reusable form. I already have benefited from this – working out what is actually going on inside me rather than just a broad ‘overwhelmed’- and thought it’s a concept worth sharing in case anyone else wants to give something similar a go in any of its forms.

So here is a concept borne of the crisis team manager’s work with me:

This is in my visual journal but could be on a standalone piece of card or inside a diary or something similar, with very basic boxes drawn on the page, and colour-coded emotions cut out in card and blue-tacked to the appropriate box at that moment in time.

Let me know if you’ve used something similar or gave this a go!

*in the latter stages of preparing for a long-term specialist hospital placement, hours away from home/family/care team, in a locked and mainly unknown environment, after my last placement collapsed for financial reasons with just 28 days notice and after not fulfilling their promises/purpose

“I’m Fine” – Art that shows the reality behind that phrase

I had my first session of art therapy for around 8 months today and was so glad to get back in to it. There’s a lot going on below the surface that I’m struggling to express at the moment and I feel like I was able to connect with that through paint.

The reality of looking and saying “I’m fine” when struggling with complex mental illness and acute crises.

“Molly isn’t here right now”

My current situation was summed up very succinctly and accurately by my clinical psychologist today: “Molly isn’t really here right now, is she? Or maybe she’s just weighed down so deep inside that neither of us can reach her?” I hate it. It’s scary not really being here. But I know it’s for a reason.… Continue reading “Molly isn’t here right now”

‘Compartmentalised selves’

My mental illness is complex. I get told this all the time, with varying levels of frustration. It’s one of those phrases that I don’t think usually holds much meaning (in fact I think it normally represents fear from professionals/services rather than the person in question); however, today was one of those days that I… Continue reading ‘Compartmentalised selves’

Re-training a Wonky Brain

An enormous barrier to recovery for me is a complete lack of self-compassion, self-kindness and self-esteem. This week I decided it was time to try to tackle this head-on and so am working my way through ‘The Compassionate Mind Workbook’ by Chris Irons and Elaine Beaumont. As well as working through the first 3 chapters,… Continue reading Re-training a Wonky Brain

Angry

I think this is the first time I have ever allowed myself to feel this emotion FOR not AGAINST myself.

First time in nearly a quarter of a century.