STOPPING A SPIRAL BEFORE IT STARTS


By Jenny Bowers

Sometimes in life when you are already carrying around more emotional baggage than you would like, a small, seemingly innocuous event can send you into what I call “ a doom spiral”.

All those hidden insecurities, embarrassing moments, failures and moments of hurt suddenly come bubbling to the forefront of your mind as if they happened only seconds ago instead of days, weeks or months. It’s as if your brain has been storing them in a tightly sealed jar and someone just popped the lid.

Whenever I get into this state my family will whisper to each other “ she’s in one of her dark moods” and nod knowingly at each other. However while I’m known for the occasional bout of severe pessimism I’m also known for snapping out of it quick smart. Over the years I’ve learnt a few pretty ace tactics for nuetralising an emotional earthquake and here I’m going to share them with you.

1.     Don’t think positive, think neutral: When your in a dark headspace and every man and his dog is telling you to “ look on the bright side”, and “chin up” you can feel frustrated at their lack of understanding and incapable of giving them the happy mood they want.

And no wonder. It’s pretty hard to go straight from everything sucks, fml” to “ What a wonderful world” in just a few minutes. Instead of trying to think positive try to nuetralise your thought patterns to be neither positive or negative. Distract yourself with an easy diy, some cooking, knitting, reading a trashy magazine. Anything that’s absorbing enough to take your mind of your current train of thought. That train isn’t going anywhere you want to be.

2.     Hi Doctor Nick! Go see a doctor, tell them everything that is bothering you- sleep, stress, chronic pain, addiction- all of it. These health problems all compile and you need to start addressing your issues as part of one complex whole. My nearest doctors surgery probably have me on file as Miss Hypochondriac but for all my visits I’m a much healthier girl.

3.     Start Small: Feelings of lethargy and a lack of motivation are common side effects of an emotional meltdown. Start with the smallest, easiest task you can that will improve your current state of being. A piece of toast, a shower, a glass of water. All of these are dead easy but will give you that little bit of extra energy to move onto a slightly bigger task and then bigger again till you have dug yourself out of a hole.

4.     Winging is great but pick your audience: Winging is great for you, it releases stress and tension. However it’s not always something people find easy to listen to and you don’t want your heartfelt confession to be met with insensitivity. Letting your friends know you are having a hard time is a great idea, but be careful not to blame them or become aggressive. If your tempers not been a cool cat at the time, try venting to your diary or a psychologist first, let some of that excess steam out.

5.     Plan your escape route: if your down because you have a pile of problems mounting on your back you need to make a written plan about how you are going to deal with each one and the steps involved. This will not only make each item seem less daunting it will give you something to strive for and a sense of hope.

These tips and tricks are tactics I have developed over the years as a bad mood experiencer. They aren’t the advice of a psychologist. If your feeling like your mental health is in serious trouble, be sure to contact a local doctor or lifeline on

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