In my last post I mentioned that I used character representations for anxiety, depression etc. and in this piece I thought I would talk more about them.
My CBT therapist recommended during my sessions that using such imagery can help in dealing with situations that I would find stressful and help make sense of the emotions that I’m feeling at the time.
The very first character I came up with is Gollum as anxiety. To me he is the perfect fit, he immediately came to mind when first coming up with the characters. Whenever feeling anxious I picture him walking beside me talking all the thoughts and feelings that I am experiencing at that point in time.
The next character I use is Vincent van Gough (using the version from Doctor Who) as depression. It took me sometime to come up with this one, it was first put to me to use Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh but I couldn’t picture him in my mind. Another possibility was the grim reaper but again I couldn’t picture him. When I thought of Vincent I found him much easier to picture. When I am feeling low I picture him walking behind me feeding all of those bad thoughts and feelings, I have learnt to use other characters to try and silence him but it’s those times that I cannot silence him that I listen and feel even worse.
The next character is another version of me. He persuades me to talk, work through things and helps make sense of things. When I need to talk to him I picture him walking up and asking what’s wrong, as I talk to him I start to work through things and he continues to ask questions until I am calm. I have worked on this character so much I can picture the exact clothes he wears.
I also use 2 doctors from Doctor Who. First I use the eleventh doctor who tells me the way things are and not the way my mind is telling me, I picture him stepping out from the TARDIS walking over asking me what’s wrong. He listens and tries to convince me that things are a lot less worse than I think, which is when I start to calm down. The next doctor I use is the tenth, he represents courage so when I am heading into situations where I need it he appears and comes up with words that try and inspire the courage I need; and when the situation is over he reappears and congratulates me.
I also employ a distraction technique where in I sit and talk to Gandalf in a café, we talk about what’s bothering me or simply talk to get me through a busy place, we can be joined by any character I can think of at the time.
I hope whoever reads this has found it enlightening.
And I’m glad to still be writing for Letters to the Mind 1 year on.
“Courage will now be your best defense against the storm that is at hand that and the hope that I bring.” – J.R.R Tolkien
© Lewis Bull 2016
Read Lewis’ previous contributions:
- The Goblin Known as Anxiety and Stress
- Anxiety and Solitude
- Anxiety and Friendships
- Anxiety and being on Benefits
- Anxiety and Me
- Anxiety and Openly Showing Emotions
- Me, them and our mental health
- Anxiety, fear and depression
- Anxiety and its Tricks of the Mind
- Worry how you plague us so!
- Battles with the Poison Parrot
- Going Nowhere (Why Me Anxiety?)
- The Road to Nowhere