As part of the work I’m doing from my Self-Esteem Guided Journal I put together a positive self-portrait. It’s a combination of the best of my physical, mental and interpersonal attributes, as well as compliments received from others. I used Wordle to turn it into a pretty word-cloud.
Starting to feel better about myself already! So often I am obsessed with what’s wrong with me, and completely ignore all the things that are right with me. Will try to keep these things in mind.
I don’t believe I’m strong, capable, confident, lovable, kind or valuable. But a nice lady told me that if I just say these things to myself repeatedly each day, I will grow into them, and become them. I hope so.
The way I see it, years of abuse from my family and ex-partner was like growing up in a cult, and you were brainwashed to believe that you were worthless, always to blame, invisible, stupid, incapable, nothing.
So now I need to enter a re-education camp, brainwash myself the right way. It helps that there is no one around to abuse me anymore…though a large part of that is just that there is nobody around.
I will keep reading (good) self-help books, attending workshops, going to therapy, exercising, meditating and being around good people, and hopefully I will emerge fully free from the cult of abuse.
Do you have an affirmation? Comment or tweet @andrea_twist
At my lowest, when all I could think about was killing myself 24/7, I would drown out the thoughts by repeating this poem over and over in my mind, like a prayer. It is the only poem I know by heart. It was the only thing that made sense to me at the time. It saved my life.
Illustration by Jacky Flemming – used with permission. From the Freedom Programme for women affected by domestic violence – highly recommended.
I was recently introduced to the concept of promoting resilience-building to help improve the lives of people with mental illness.
I think resilience is a great model for promoting recovery:
It’s positive – it focuses on how a person can cope better with life’s difficulties, rather than what is wrong with that person that is making it hard for them to cope.
It’s inclusive – it applies to all kinds of mental illness and trauma as well as your average Joe. It demonstrates mental health as being part of a spectrum rather than ‘us’ and ‘them’.
It’s practical – it’s clear in how certain skills will help you to cope better, giving you certain steps to undertake rather than abstract theories or analysis.
There is a danger of using the concept to put too much responsibility on the person who may be severely mentally ill or have gone through terrible trauma. The danger being that the person is judged for not being ‘resilient’ enough. Like the old ‘you just need to pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ which many people suffering from mental illness (depression in particular) have been unfortunate enough to hear. Spoiler: it doesn’t help.
Overall resilience is a great and helpful concept to promote recovery, but use with caution.
Stunning and inspirational comic version of this quote by Zen Pencils, using domestic violence as the context.
I must not fear
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass
Over me and through me.
And when it has gone past
I will turn the inner eye
To see its path.
Where the fear has gone
There will be nothing.
Only I will remain….
Frank Herbert, Litany against fear