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

Small gestures can move mountains…

After the shittiest of days yesterday and the shittiest of weeks, my keyworker kept to our plan of pancakes this morning and it meant more than the world.

Just Bee

What my Occupational Therapist is trying to convince me to do

2-Week-iversary at Placement

This time a fortnight ago, I had been in my new home for just a couple of hours. Except, my new home is a specialist mental health placement for people with complex needs (focusing especially on personality disorders), set up to offer 24 hour help and support for between 1 and 3 years – a… Continue reading 2-Week-iversary at Placement

A Few Questions: Being LGBTQ+ Under the Mental Health System

A member of my crisis team is doing some work on LGBTQ+ & metal health. I offered to help & we thought it would be good to hear experiences. The main thing he wants to know is, as someone who identifies as LGBTQ+, what would you want members of staff within mental health teams to… Continue reading A Few Questions: Being LGBTQ+ Under the Mental Health System

Please Don’t Suffer in Silence: Where to Turn for Support Over the Holidays

Infographic signposting the help available at this time of year when many people find themselves feeling more alone with their struggles. 
[I made it last year, so really should update it, but thought it was worth sharing in its current form (typos & all) just in case it can help someone]

The Ones Who Make a Difference

​Tonight I am incredibly thankful for an awesome crisis nurse who was patient, compassionate and funny over the phone to me both in the middle and right at the very end of her 15 hour shift today. She likely was in charge for most or all of the day, so goodness knows the strains she’s… Continue reading The Ones Who Make a Difference

A Thank You To My Care Coordinator 

I just wanted to share a thank you card that I made and wrote for my care coordinator – highlighting the true value of dedicated and empathetic mental health workers such as her. Lives are not only changed, but saved by people like her every day.  I made this card for you and saw nothing… Continue reading A Thank You To My Care Coordinator 

The Shining Stars in Mental Health

There truly are some heroes in mental health, and boy do they deserve more recognition and respect than they get. I cannot begin to describe the impact that just one truly truly caring, talented professional can have on someone who is struggling with their mental health, especially when in the depths of crisis.  I am… Continue reading The Shining Stars in Mental Health

Taking Responsibility for Recovery

I’ve been writing a piece about the term ‘taking responsibility’ for a while, with some great input from the Twitter mental health community, so I’ll leave that aside for the moment and get down to what’s going on with me right now.  I’ve been under the crisis team for almost 2 weeks now and we’re… Continue reading Taking Responsibility for Recovery

Healing Humour

Earlier today, I accidentally paused the TV on a This Morning segment about Ann Summers when the Crisis Team knocked the door. (Isn’t that an opening sentence you never knew you were itching to read?!) We were writing my care plan and I suddenly spotted the apparently incriminating freeze-frame, instantly curling up in embarrassed laughter… Continue reading Healing Humour

Falling Apart at the Lightest Touch

One of the aspects of my mental ill health which I detest the most is my fragility. I fall apart – no, disintegrate – when even the smallest of things go awry. This morning went from off the charts anxiety, despair and suicidality to dissolving into non-functional panic when my psychologist phoned to let me… Continue reading Falling Apart at the Lightest Touch

“Hands, put your empty hands in mine” – The Importance of Peer Support

From the moment I shared my first mental health doodle, peer support became a very real part of my well-being. First, it was on a small (but no less important) scale of friends and family getting in touch with kind words of encouragement and shared experience. From there it exploded until I was on the… Continue reading “Hands, put your empty hands in mine” – The Importance of Peer Support

“I’ve done everything wrong this week”

“I’ve done everything wrong this week” – That’s how I started today’s therapy session. And I believed it. Everything has gone to pot and I thought it was my fault (a huge part of me still does). I’m not trying hard enough, I’m not getting anywhere, I’m not functioning in the slightest, bad coping mechanisms… Continue reading “I’ve done everything wrong this week”