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

A Day in the Life (Visual Journal) – Mental Health Awareness Week

The Power of Pride and Humour

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

The formation of this chronically depressed, anxious, personality disordered, hopeless doodler

My mental health team and I have been exploring my past recently, which has involved a lot of painful acknowledgement of things that I hadn’t allowed myself to feel over the years. I decided to try to represent some of this visually. 

The writing isn’t always clear, so if you missed bits, it says..

A baby.

Unacknowledged, inescapable trauma.

Emotional problems.

Innate self-blame. 

Growing up in fear.

A child.

Internalising problems.

Overflowing with guilt, fear and shame.

Further trauma

-Complete loss of self



-Missing important periods of self-development

Tries to cope on own…

A broken adult.

Worn out by fighting alone.

Full of self-blame. 

Seeks help…finally-> traumatic abuse -> out of strength, fight, energy and trust

Finds good people.

BUT SO BROKEN. Beyond repair? 

How can this wreck be re-formed into some semblance of an adult human?


ME. šŸ˜¦