First of all: yes, of course it is a choice. BUT…and this is an important but…a non-suicidal person pointing this out to someone in acute crisis tends to come laden with judgement, whether implicit or explicit, intended or not. It often is: “Well, it’s your choice, so just decide” “It’s your choice, so why are… Continue reading Is Suicide a Choice? A Survivor’s Perspective
Today has been a strange old day in my world. Mainly nothing ‘serious’…messing around with the staff at my placement, meeting with my care coordinators, talking to the mental health professionals here about things I’ve been working on, preparing to interview new staff with the senior recovery workers, watching Children in Need… However, a thread… Continue reading The Power of Pride and Humour
Recently, the manager of my local crisis team was invited to talk to post graduate nurses working in mental health and A&E about service user involvement in care planning/risk assessments and suicide prevention. She asked if she could use my case as an example both of how badly things can go wrong in this area… Continue reading What it is like to not be involved in risk management, care planning or significant decisions in mental health care
A brilliant nurse in my crisis team has recently been on a Compassion-Focussed Therapy training course and met with me the other day brimming with ideas.
Self-compassion is something that feels entirely intangible and unachievable for me, so we’ve got our work cut out, but thankfully she’s willing to give it all a go with me regardless! I’ll share some of the different exercises as I embark upon them… first up is creating a ‘Compassionate other’.
The notes I took from our session explain this as: Try to come up with a ‘compassionate other’ based upon the following…
- this other will have the three core elements of compassion-focussed therapy: courage, wisdom and dedication
- humans are fallible, so don’t use a real person, although you can think about which characteristics of real people you find comforting/safe/helpful and incorporate those
- could be a person, an animal or a mythical creature [I like the thought of a protective mythical creature, like a dragon or a unicorn, personally]
- use this compassionate other to counteract negative self talk
As drawing things helps me, we decided that maybe the best place to start was drawing this potential compassionate other to give me a visual prompt. Humans don’t feel at all safe to me, so I knew straight away mine wouldn’t be in the form of a human, and very quickly my mind jumped to mythical creatures and, more specifically, dragons. I thought of this dragon as being both gentle and strong, comforting and protective, and something that I could carry with me wherever I go…thus, the ‘Palm Dragon’ was born!
I think he’s rather sweet, but you can tell in his eyes that he can stick up for himself and for what he believes in, too. Now I just need to narrow down and foster his compassionate traits, and see if I can somehow implement him into coping mechanisms to counteract the never-ending, overwhelming negative self-talk and intense self-hatred.
I’m hoping this concept can also be fostered into something protective or safe-feeling that can be carried with me for other uses: my idea of a Muggle’s Patronus (for anyone who isn’t a Harry Potter fan, a Patronus is a “guardian or protector, which takes the form of an animal…one of the most powerful defensive charms…a pure, protective magical concentration of happiness and hope”.
I’ll fill you in when I get further along creating and cultivating my compassionate Palm Dragon. I’d love to hear of any of you have already or will now try to create one for yourselves, too!
It’s a funny time at the moment: I’m waiting to move in to a new placement which is described as: “a 24-hour CQC-registered accommodation service for adults who experience severe mental distress. Residents have multiple and complex needs and are entering the service from high-level support and secure settings or as an alternative to hospital… Continue reading Living in Limbo
It’s my birthday tomorrow (probably today by the time I’ve finished typing this!) and this, as well as a bunch of other very complicated factors, has triggered (or, more accurately, heightened) a significant mental health crisis for me for complex and somewhat twisted ways. I’ve been fortunate in that some more intensive support was put… Continue reading Professionals’ Feelings in Therapeutic Relationships
This is a really poignant piece. Just one short quote out of the many I considered sharing with you: “I struggle to be seen as a patient, whereas other mentally ill folks struggle to be seen as human.” Please take the time to read this whether you come into contact with the mental health system at… Continue reading A Poignant Piece on the No-Win “Good”-“Bad” Psychiatric Patient Spectrum
TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SUICIDAL IDEATION This week has been horrific. So many horrors, for so many reasons. An all-c0nsuming urge to end my life, fed into from different triggers and factors. But this week I have been so impressed by the response of my local crisis team to me. On Thursday, for the first time ever,… Continue reading An Example of Crisis Team Excellence
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
Oh the complexities of very poorly brains. Guess what? I have news – good things – that should make me want to dance or at least crack a little smile, but instead I am riddled with guilt…wishing that I could sacrifice myself and give others – the dozens of others that I know personally, the… Continue reading Cautious, Guilt-Ridden Gratitude (and the O word that shall not be named)
My contribution to #TimetoTalk day: A piece that I wrote for suicide prevention day that is equally applicable to this awareness day, about the desperate need to increase the provision of help/treatment/support available for mental health struggles, not just raise awareness. This week is suicide prevention week and there’s a lot of discussion and debate… Continue reading Awareness Without Provision — thedoodlechroniclesblog
Oh how I wish I could say this was a complete fantasy or massive exaggeration, however it is scarily close to the truth. In fact, in the past week alone, every single one of these things (and more) have been suggested or said to me (minus pouring the tea directly over my head whilst in the bath…but I’ve felt like doing so out of sheer desperation and frustration) and I have had constant responses such as this in the past. And it isn’t just me; what prompted me to draw this were several posts in the Mind Our Minds and Doodle Chronicles Peer Support Groups.
Time and again, highly vulnerable and distressed people are dismissed with condescending suggestions of having a bath/cup of tea/walk (even when certain of these things at certain times actually pose an additional risk) and/or are criticised and blamed for being acutely unwell, rather than being offered even a short amount of therapeutic interaction or appropriate assessment/intervention.
I do want to finish by saying that by no means am I suggesting that all crisis team staff act in this way (I have had 2 simply outstanding phone conversations with crisis team nurses over the past week, as well, which I hope to write about when I am able – this past post demonstrates the confusing and opposing approach of crisis team staff) and I want to say a huge thank you to those of you who do this demanding, undervalued and underpaid job with kindness and professionalism – you are true superheroes.
Tonight’s crisis team wisdom: “If you went for a walk, you’d come back a different person – you could volunteer in school next week!” I’ve been housebound for 2 months. I haven’t gone out unaccompanied for 18 months. My risk level was raised to the very highest level with the Community Mental Health Team today… Continue reading Tonight’s Crisis Team Wisdom
Time and again I come across the same rhetoric in mental health care: if you have any queries, concerns, ideas or wishes other than what is presented to you exactly as is, you are told to complain. Notions of personalised, patient-centred care – though frequently promoted – are often nowhere to be seen in reality,… Continue reading Shut Up or Complain: A Terrifyingly Flawed Mental Health System