#Mindmonsters: could you change the world with a simple doodle?

Shame: the source of self-sabotage

Emotional issues can make us feel isolated, set apart. Yet, we all have our monsters of the mind. For some, the struggle is directly with anxiety, anger, guilt or shame. Others battle with the behavioural manifestations of those feelings: procrastination, underperformance, overeating, drinking too much, repeatedly pushing their loved ones away, etc.

This is a fear-of-being-unworthy monster. “It doesn’t have a name. It just hovers. In the shadows, watching and vibrating in a big, squiggly, ominous mess.” It lives: “Beside me, and half a step behind. But only sometimes. Sometimes I think I’m free of it. And then just as I relax it appears.”
This monster is called The Heavy. “When I start eating healthy, or going to the gym regularly there always comes a point where everything stops in its tracks. Usually after 3–8 weeks. I go back to eating the stuff I know is not good for me and I stop exercising. Even if I still enjoy doing it, there is that part of me that actively sabotages. And I begin to make excuses do things less and less until I stop all together.”

Telling the story

In contrast, sharing our stories — as difficult as it can be at times — heals the pain caused by shame and self-loathing. And it’s not only good for our own wellbeing. It helps others to recover too, because in communicating the darker parts of human experience, we all can feel united in the struggle.

Doodling ourselves better

Over the last 18 months, I have been writing my first book (an undertaking that has inspired its own fair share of mini monster moments). Fight explores the psychology of self-sabotage, and it includes tasks and creative visualisation processes like those I use with my clients. In chapter one, the reader is encouraged to imagine their monster.

Monster name: The Unnamed Destroyer. Its sabotage: “Overeating and a cycle of negative reinforcements”. It lives “everywhere” and if it could speak, it would say, “Hahahaha. You will never be able to hear the truth clearly.”
This monster is called No. If No could speak, it would say, “No no no no no no no no no” and it does so “fast, quite quiet, out of fear, high anxiousness.” It makes its owner feel “small, teary, frustrated, almost defeated, fat, old, like I’ve squandered my opportunities, angry, raging, not quite powerless — I have the power to change things, but I’m not doing so, so I’m letting myself down, so it’s my fault.”

The #mindmonsters awareness project

With permission, I’m sharing the images sent through on social media (Instagram: @Hazel.Gale.Therapy), and on this site: mindmonsters.online. My dream is that our troop of sabotaging selves will inspire others to engage in this kind of healing expression.

Take Part

Here’s what you need to do to get in touch with your monster and begin the process for yourself.

This is No Shell, a fear-of-being-in-the-sptlight monster. If he had a voice, he’d say “I’ve lost my shell!” He makes his human feel “small”, and he lives “amongst you and me.” Thank you to Dom for this wonderful little critter.

The Steps

The Questions

1. What kind of self-sabotage were you thinking of when drawing your “monster”?

Your details (entirely optional):



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Hazel Gale

Hazel Gale


Co-creator of Betwixt, the interactive adventure game that helps you befriend the voice in your head // Author of “The Mind Monster Solution”.