“You’re worth it, Molly”

The team here really are going above and beyond to help me cope with an operation that my mum is having at the end of the week, and their willingness to be flexible and supportive means that I will get to be there for here at the most important times whilst making sure that I get through it as emotionally unscathed as possible. When I thanked them for all they are doing, the above was their response. Words that are hard to take on and truly believe but that they are proving their belief of it to me through actions.

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

‘Compartmentalised selves’

My mental illness is complex. I get told this all the time, with varying levels of frustration. It’s one of those phrases that I don’t think usually holds much meaning (in fact I think it normally represents fear from professionals/services rather than the person in question); however, today was one of those days that I… Continue reading ‘Compartmentalised selves’

The Power of Pride and Humour

Today has been a strange old day in my world. Mainly nothing ‘serious’…messing around with the staff at my placement, meeting with my care coordinators, talking to the mental health professionals here about things I’ve been working on, preparing to interview new staff with the senior recovery workers, watching Children in Need… However, a thread… Continue reading The Power of Pride and Humour

Professionals’ Feelings in Therapeutic Relationships

It’s my birthday tomorrow (probably today by the time I’ve finished typing this!) and this, as well as a bunch of other very complicated factors, has triggered (or, more accurately, heightened) a significant mental health crisis for me for complex and somewhat twisted ways. I’ve been fortunate in that some more intensive support was put… Continue reading Professionals’ Feelings in Therapeutic Relationships

Graded Exposure to the World

A year ago to the month, the Crisis Team Manager took me to a nature reserve to take some photos as a therapeutic intervention (I didn’t actually manage to take photos that day, but we still went out and spent time in nature). Today, she did the same things as part of a programme of ‘graded exposure’… Continue reading Graded Exposure to the World

The Importance of Good Therapeutic Relationships and the Terror of Personality Disorders

Therapeutic relationships: what a bloody complicated subject. These relationships are unlike any other – there is a natural power-imbalance and a one-way exchange of information/knowledge about the people involved. This means that those on the professional end of therapeutic relationships, especially with vulnerable patients, are left with the immensely difficult task of working out how… Continue reading The Importance of Good Therapeutic Relationships and the Terror of Personality Disorders