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.

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A Bit of My Leg Will Be In My Arm

**Trigger Warning: mention of self harm and medical treatment** Today I found out that I need to have surgery to deal with some self harm that otherwise won’t heal. It’s one of those things that I know I have to deal with as potential repercussions of symptoms of my illness such as self harm- although… Continue reading A Bit of My Leg Will Be In My Arm

TOXCITY LEVEL EXCEEDED

TRIGGER WARNING: overdose

Today has been a day of fighting that bastard of a monster who takes control of my head and heart. I think of him like this:

That monster convinced me that even by sitting with other patients or staff I would spread the toxicity inside me to them and even worse that I was having such a bad impact that I couldn’t even just avoid people but would have to die.

I found some tablets on leave. I grabbed them. I meant to take them to punish myself.

But that little bit of Molly somehow battled past the monster long enough for me to grab a member of staff I know and trust. And I wrote a letter explaining, handed it over, and then had a chat with her and a nurse.

The staff were lovely- truly- but I still don’t know if I did the right thing or if it was really selfish of me to not remove myself for the good of everyone else. I still couldn’t sit with my usual group of friends here after the talks and PRN.

A very sad, scared and confused Molly šŸ˜¦

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

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