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.

Monstrous Mental Illness

is a painting I did last week when really struggling; I just needed to get what I was feeling out so it is a rough, emotion-filled picture with no fore-thought or plan. It depicts the dark, overwhelming monster of mental illness feeding on despair and blocking out the colour of the world and vibrancy of life. It can feel like the very substance of ‘you’ is being sucked away, becoming more and more faint, dominated by this inexplicable darkness…yet you know that just out of reach is a colourful, textured and varied world.

Is Suicide a Choice? A Survivor’s Perspective

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

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

“Please, tell me more about my own Goddamn experiences”

Well this really struck a chord; unfortunately I think it will with anyone suffering from mental illnesses, and especially those with the more stigmatized ones such as personality disorders. I genuinely couldn’t even begin to count the amount of times that mental health professionals, with confidence and certainty, tell me rather than ask me (AKA… Continue reading “Please, tell me more about my own Goddamn experiences”

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

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.

A Particularly Jam-Packed Day at a Placement for Complex Mental Illness

Tomorrow has become a bit of an unwieldy beast: 11am Review with Senior Recovery Worker 1.30pm House Meeting 2pm Interviewing New Staff 2pm Session with in-house OT Hoping that overnight I learn how to split myself in to 3 ūüėā times will be changed but that itself is panic-worthy! ALL THE STRESS in one day.

What Does an Occupational Therapist do in Mental Health? A Lot More Than You Might Think…

As someone fortunate enough to be living in a placement for complex mental health needs with an in-house occupational therapist, not only was my life genuinely saved by her last week ¬†(she is the person that got me to reveal my location and coordinated emergency help, saving my life by a hair’s breadth), I spent… Continue reading What Does an Occupational Therapist do in Mental Health? A Lot More Than You Might Think…

Just Bee

What my Occupational Therapist is trying to convince me to do

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

The Monster and Me

***TRIGGER WARNING: Suicidal Ideation and Self Harm*** I wrote this the night before a very close call with death, to try to help explain to those helping me what I feel and experience – why I had to sacrifice my life.¬† “I’m terrified at the moment that any sort of hope or progress is going… Continue reading The Monster and Me