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

CONSUMED. Almost gone….. (Visual Journal)

What it can feel like to be mentally unwell: CONSUMED by the void; almost gone…………………

Bottomless pit of darkness. Blank. Not human. (Visual Journal)

What it can feel like to be mentally unwell: bottomless pit of darkness within; blank mind; confused; empty; not human.

Barely Hanging on and Losing the Fight

Barely hanging on

Only by the tiniest of threads

That thread is painful and tearing me apart

So far gone that help (asking/accepting) is just dragging others with me

Losing grip fast…and I’ve already lost it completely on multiple occasions

Losing the strength to carry on fighting and holding on even faster





From One Extreme to the Other in Mental Health Care

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The World is Full of Surprises, Positive Art Journal

I’ve decided to start a positive art journal (focusing on good things, quotes that I like, nice things that happen etc.) alongside my usual visual journal which is a representation of my current thoughts and feelings, without agenda (and thus is generally more negative due to my poor mental health); this distinction between the two… Continue reading The World is Full of Surprises, Positive Art Journal

Tortuous Terror, Surrealism and Determination – Visual Journal 5/4/16

A day of LOTS of sobbing, some impressive catastrophising, tonnes of anxiety (mental but also highly physical), lots of fear, bucket loads of self hatred, and some determination (positive) which I’ve now started to wonder if it’s selfish and criticise myself for it…

Distraction or Destruction: What’s with grumpy ‘today-Molly’?

Oh, I just don’t know what to do. Another day of darkness, sadness, tears, hopelessness, self-hatred, confusion, loss, pain and despair. I’m told that I have to distract myself (as I snottily sob at those advising me that I’m trying my hardest) but just for how long can one continue trying to distract themself with… Continue reading Distraction or Destruction: What’s with grumpy ‘today-Molly’?