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Jessie’s Journey – How I feel right now

Jessie (name changed to protect identity) is a woman in her mid 20’s, suffering with an anxiety disorder. She has been attending regular sessions at Unglueyou once a week to help her understand herself and develop techniques to manage her illness. She made this collage to reflect and describe how she feels at this current time…

How I feel right now

Jessie – “I found this quite hard, the first few images I started to cut up focused more on facts about my current situation. After 15 minutes Andréa always asks me to share 2 or 3 images, explaining their meaning and significance to her. When she realised I was focussing solely on facts rather than exploring my feelings she shared the collage she had made at 3 months about her journey with UnglueYou. Many of the images were not literal but metaphorical and abstract capturing her thoughts and feelings at the time. This really helped as afterwards I chose shapes and colours that had meaning to me.

I’m the head at the bottom in the middle, looking happy but gritting my teeth at the same time, putting on a front. I’m feeling very fuzzy, confused, my thoughts are cloudy and hard to grasp which I feel is due to the medication I’m taking. This is shown by the patterns coming out of the head.

In the top left is how I’m starting to feel about my mental illness. I’m slowly accepting now that this is a real thing and I’m not making this up. The rain is relief and the figure is holding a ‘ticket’ which gives me permission to say that Generalised Anxiety Disorder is my condition, I’m not just a bit of a worrier.

In the top middle are icons which represent hobbies, the colourful ball stemming from these is a happy feeling which is good for me.

On the right are blinds. This is very abstract and hard to explain…They show time passing and the orange panels represent when I’m making progression. I’ve put a question mark after ‘changing’ as I’m still unsure if I am making any progress. Andréa used an Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) exercise to help me think about and visualise how I feel when something happens that makes me think I am not making progress. This helped me to see that although I may not be moving forward as quickly as I’d like, I am making progress.

In the bottom left are my immediate worries. As I’m not working currently I’m worried about money…the plasters on the mouth show how I feel whenever someone I meet asks what I’m up to at the moment or what I do for a living (embarrassed). The tiger and girl on the sofa shows how I think counselling with another organisation is going at the moment (not well).

The images in the bottom right show the things I’m doing which I feel are helping me, such as volunteering. Things that are making me move, be more active and getting me out of the house.

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