A Wise Hedgehog with Important Messages

Today I created a range of motivational mental health related posters with a doodled ‘wise hedgehog’ and colourful mixed media design whilst at the Acute Community Unit.

I’m not sure where the combination came from, but out popped this first one with a message that I myself really need reminding of:

As well as one that sprung from a difficult conversation I had just had with the crisis team manager:

With 2 other mental health themed ones:

And one more to do with art/creativity:

After a lot of enthusiasm on Twitter and some requests, I have put these designs up for sale on Zazzle- whether you yourself would like a reminder of any of these messages or if you know someone whose day might be brightened by receiving one of these…Posters can be purchased from this link: https://www.zazzle.co.uk/thedoodlechronicles

Plus, if you buy in the next few days, you can get 20% off with the code JULYSAVINGS20.

Let me know what you think about my wise little hedgehog… 🙂

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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.

Just Bee

What my Occupational Therapist is trying to convince me to do

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

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!

I am NOT broken

“But I’m so irreversibly broken” – a constant refrain of mine. I’m so terrified that I’ve been broken so completely and for so long that there’s no coming back…and, in fact, nothing to ‘get back’ to as this all started before adolescence; I’m scared that there stopped being a ‘me’ after childhood, and the ‘me’ that could or should have developed during adolescence couldn’t and wasn’t allowed to. What if there isn’t and can never be a ‘me’? What if this is all there is?

An awesome crisis nurse has been trying to help me work through this, having heard this fear from me constantly and tried in earnest to persuade me that I’m not broken, that nothing is irreversible, and that there really is a ‘me’ that should have hope for a whole and happy future. She set me the task of producing a piece of art to try to remind myself of this and I wanted to share this with you all, as I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

So, this is a reminder for anyone struggling with their : you are NOT broken. It can be so hard to believe this because poorly brains can be so convincing about telling us we are hopelessly beyond repair. So, so hard. But if my art helps in any way, please feel free to print off a copy for yourself and, as the aforementioned awesome crisis nurse always says to me: “Say it until you believe it”:

I Am Not Broken - doodle chronicles.jpg