I drew this (literal) mind map a while ago when I was feeling really overwhelmed and my thoughts felt like fog but I’ve found it useful to look at when I’m not sure what’s going on and my brain’s really fuzzy. I keep meaning to make an updated one but to be honest, not much has changed since this one. It’s an attempt at ‘mapping’ my brain to try to make sense of thoughts and behaviours. Red is a very strong link, yellow is a strong link and purple is a link, and I’ve underlined things I want to change in blue. The main ones I really want to change are bingeing, hating myself, loneliness and obsessions, and I’m hoping that the DBT skills can help with that.
The thing I find most interesting about this is that the strong links (red) are mostly things I want to change whereas more positive things like drawing or hobbies only have a purple link between them. That kind of suggests that I’m more focussed on negative thoughts and behaviours than positive and that leads to more negative behaviours so it’s sort of self-reinforcing. So I think that maybe focussing more on the purple links and trying to make them stronger might take away some of the intensity or power of the red links, and weaken them a bit. That’s the idea anyway and I don’t think I’ll lose anything by trying it!
I’ve also realised that a lot of the red links are actually from the bitch inside my head, not from ‘me’, and that by continuing to try to externalise the thoughts as her I can try to acknowledge them without necessarily believing or acting on them. It’s so hard but there have been times last week when I’ve managed to talk her down so going to keep it up…
Targets for next week, thinking about strengthening the purple links… Draw when you’re feeling lonely, to try to reinforce that link and because I really think the focus on drawing will help as a distraction. Keep trying to get into a healthy, non-obsessive routine with exercise and hopefully the endorphins will start to kick in again. Start writing again and have fun with it. Do a ‘fun’ form of exercise at least once and actually engage with it. Draw some more. Keep experimenting!
Published by Alex Anderson