How Does This All Work?

WARNING: DISCUSSION OF THE THOUGHT PROCESSES SURROUNDING SELF HARM AND SUICIDAL IDEATION – PLEASE TAKE CARE READING ON IF YOU MIGHT BE TRIGGERED OR UPSET BY THIS As I start typing this, it’s 2am, and I’ve only just finished a 3 hour conversation with the person working the ‘waking night’ shift at my placement, who… Continue reading How Does This All Work?

The Start

This week brought the start of my specialist placement – a residential, psychologically-based project offering 1-3 years of 24/7 support led by a clinical team for particularly complex cases, and especially people struggling severely with personality disorders. It’s my first time of having contact with any specialist service, and bizarrely enough it’s the first time… Continue reading The Start

GOOD NEWS! FINALLY!!!!!

GOOD NEWS! FINALLY!!!!! I will be moving to my placement (the one we’ve been working and waiting for for almost a year) on 9th of October, staying on the ward until then.  My first thoughts: I don’t have to die today!!! I will see the people I love again!

Hold On Pain Ends

Today’s Occupational Therapy activity was stone painting. I made something I need to try to convince myself:

Hold
On
Pain
Ends

Being a Non-Thing

In therapy today we discussed what my psychotherapist called my “perplexing” notion of what effect my death would have as well as the disproportionate and unusually fast jump that my head makes from me upsetting someone or having any kind of negative impact on any other human to the solution being my death. We came… Continue reading Being a Non-Thing

Compassionate Other: The Muggle’s Patronus (Or How to Create Your Own Source of Compassion)

A brilliant nurse in my crisis team has recently been on a Compassion-Focussed Therapy training course and met with me the other day brimming with ideas. 

Self-compassion is something that feels entirely intangible and unachievable for me, so we’ve got our work cut out, but thankfully she’s willing to give it all a go with me regardless! I’ll share some of the different exercises as I embark upon them… first up is creating a ‘Compassionate other’. 

The notes I took from our session explain this as: Try to come up with a ‘compassionate other’ based upon the following…

  • this other will have the three core elements of compassion-focussed therapy: courage, wisdom and dedication
  • humans are fallible, so don’t use a real person, although you can think about which characteristics of real people you find comforting/safe/helpful and incorporate those 
  • could be a person, an animal or a mythical creature  [I like the thought of a protective mythical creature, like a dragon or a unicorn, personally]
  • use this compassionate other to counteract negative self talk

As drawing things helps me, we decided that maybe the best place to start was drawing this potential compassionate other to give me a visual prompt. Humans don’t feel at all safe to me, so I knew straight away mine wouldn’t be in the form of a human, and very quickly my mind jumped to mythical creatures and, more specifically, dragons. I thought of this dragon as being both gentle and strong, comforting and protective, and something that I could carry with me wherever I go…thus, the ‘Palm Dragon’ was born!

I think he’s rather sweet, but you can tell in his eyes that he can stick up for himself and for what he believes in, too. Now I just need to narrow down and foster his compassionate traits, and see if I can somehow implement him into coping mechanisms to counteract the never-ending, overwhelming negative self-talk and intense self-hatred.

I’m hoping this concept can also be fostered into something protective or safe-feeling that can be carried with me for other uses: my idea of a Muggle’s Patronus (for anyone who isn’t a Harry Potter fan, a Patronus is a “guardian or protector, which takes the form of an animal…one of the most powerful defensive charms…a pure, protective magical concentration of happiness and hope”.

I’ll fill you in when I get further along creating and cultivating my compassionate Palm Dragon. I’d love to hear of any of you have already or will now try to create one for yourselves, too!

When Getting Support Doesn’t Feel Safe

I had a therapy session today that I don’t know whether to describe as a good or bad: I had an awful time, explored some very painful things, discussed extreme hopelessness, cried non-stop (which I never do when people can see) and shook violently with fear but my psychologist was amazing. From the moment I… Continue reading When Getting Support Doesn’t Feel Safe