(Originally published 29 Jul 2014)
Do you ever feel like you're trapped in cycle of low mood and / or anxiety? I do. I think, though, that might be because I am! At a recent session, my therapist drew this fine piece of modern art to try and explain to me why I my mood can deteriorate. It's the difference between 'depression' and a 'bad mood'. I've always described depression (to those who'll listen) as a 'dark cloud'. It can start as negative thought and then, like a snowball rolling down a mountain, it grows and grows getting larger and larger going faster and faster. So much so that I get to a point when trying to fight it seems a futile exercise and I have to wait for it to come to a rest. Sometimes this takes minutes, sometimes much longer.
That's when this circle (if you were wearing 3D glasses you'd see it was more of a spiral) comes into its own. The thought triggers a dip in mood, that dip raises the anxiety levels which affects your behaviour. Your behaviour reinforces the negative thought causing your mood to dip lower which .... oh you get the idea I'm sure.
For me at least, there's something comforting about 'seeing' the neurological process scribbled...sorry not 'scribbled'...artistically recreated....that helps me understand it, rather than just hearing about it. Give me a piece of paper and a pen any day. Who needs computers...they'll never catch on!