Although I have been lost to the demons of depression and mental chaos over the last few months, I’ve been doing my utmost to heave my way out of the maelstrom. One of the most enjoyable activities I undertook came at me via the Mi Recovery group I partook in during May/June of this year.
The exercise was part of a week that saw us take a look at relapse (which was kind of ironic considering it was around then when I began to lose control!) and revolves around identifying warning signs of an impending mental apocalypse.
At present, only a few people have seen this (and only one of those in any degree of detail) but considering my elongated absence from this blog, I’ve decided to share it as a way to ‘make up’ for my disappearing act. For even if you don’t find any value or substance in the activity, you may enjoy having a wee giggle at my attempt at “art”!
Creating your timeline…
First of all, choose a metaphor that suits your view of the world (such as an ovulating road or a winding river) to use as a basis for your timeline and then sketch this on a big sheet of paper. Once this has been drawn, mark onto this picture all of the most significant experiences/events/incidents that have shaped you into the magnificent human being you are today.
After all of your major experiences have been documented, make a list along your timeline of all of the resources (people, places, distractions etc.) that you used to get through the difficult times and that energized you through the good times. You may also wish to mark onto this timeline any strengths and/or values you have procured along the way.
Once this has been completed, whether you realize it or not, patterns will have emerged throughout your timeline. Before any period of mental ill-health there will be an array of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that repeat throughout your timeline. These thoughts, feelings and behaviours – more often than not – will be early warning signs of an impending relapse or episode.
You will find that knowing your warning signs is a major weapon in your battle with mental illness. Now that you know what to look out for, you will know when you need to seek help in the future.
(i) The larger text in various colours are strengths, values and resources that I’ve procured along my journey.
(ii) Yes, there is a glaringly annoying mistake on ‘Page 5’. I was extremely tired when I coloured this page.
(iii) The two blurred words on ‘Page 5’ are names I did not want to revealed publicly.
(iii) The timeline was based on my post ‘Your Life as You Remember It‘, so should you fancy more detailed information about the various stages of my life, you’re welcome to pop over there for a quick read! :)