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

A String of ‘But surely nothing else can go wrong’s…

We find what seems to be ideal Therapeutic Community/InPatient Long Term Complex Needs unit, they think I’m a perfect fit for them. We find out there would be a gap between current placement & there..a solution is found. Then logistics entirely unrelated to me make it impossible. This is already after overcoming barriers (for myself… Continue reading A String of ‘But surely nothing else can go wrong’s…

Days From Hell Approaching

Tomorrow: 11am Commissioner coming to gather evidence and talk to me to assess if they will keep funding my placement 2.30pm Meeting with CCs, placement psychologist, placement manager, senior keyworker and ODM of the company to review/assess/gather evidence ahead of funding panel Tuesday: 9.30am Funding panel that decides my future 11am Therapy, last before psychologist… Continue reading Days From Hell Approaching

Forget All That You’re Not

These beautiful words were shared with me today and I just wanted to pass this important message on…

…I hope you can take them to heart and try to remember all that you ARE rather than what you’re not.

The Day My Family Said Goodbye

***TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SUICIDE, NEAR DEATH, BEREAVEMENT*** Yesterday, my family were told to prepare themselves for my death and were called in to Resus to say their goodbyes. This was at my own hand. We’ve had many close calls –  a stint in intensive care, 3 lots of CPR+adrenaline,  5+ admissions to high dependency… Continue reading The Day My Family Said Goodbye

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

Metaphorically Dumping Guilt and Self-Hatred

Following a conversation yesterday about the fact that it will likely be guilt that’s the final nail in the coffin (sorry for the dark pun) towards my suicide, the crisis team manager went searching for some boulders for me. Today she turned up hauling these with her and together we wrote ‘GUILT’ and ‘SELF-HATRED’ on them then metaphorically dumped them outside. 

I thought this was a wonderful gesture, some amazing ouside-the-box thinking by an already stretched mental health professional, and a great idea. Definitely well worth a try!

Let’s hope even part of those torturously heavy boulders can stay out there. 

How Can I be Proud of a Day that Mainly Involved Crying on the Floor?

These are one of those days that I’m not sure it’s possible to really ‘get’ unless you’ve been here; actually, even being here right now, I don’t get it.  Today was mainly spent sat on the floor crying. Overwhelmed with paralysing fear, despair and self-hatred…only growing further as more time passed whilst I was a… Continue reading How Can I be Proud of a Day that Mainly Involved Crying on the Floor?

Artful Achievement

Tonight, a lovely crisis nurse set me homework to draw a picture from one of the photos that I took with her manager on Friday. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. I’ve had an awful day; I’ve been pathetic; I haven’t functioned and I wasn’t sure I could manage anything… Continue reading Artful Achievement

The Struggles of Mental Illness Don’t Stop Over the Holidays: Please be Gentle With Yourself and Others

If you need some extra help and support, please know that there is always somewhere to turn, even over the holidays. 

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]

Dissolving Into a Puddle of Useless Sadness

Feeling hopeless and helpless. Useless beyond words. Darkness spreading to all that I touch; a shadow upon the world, fighting impossible internal battles to work out the least of all evils. Hating myself and my impact on those around me. Desperate for peace. 

Tonight’s Crisis Team Wisdom

​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