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Vicious Circle or Vicious Spiral?

Vicious Circle or Vicious Spiral?
By Emil Eddy • Issue #56 • View online
Hey everyone!
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a talk about depression in medical students, and I was introduced to the nice concept of the (not so) vicious spiral.
For many of us, patterns of good/bad mental health can repeat in a seemingly vicious circle. We can feel as though we are somewhat happy one week, then the next, a bad day or even a single moment can send us right back to a low. This isn’t exclusive to mental health - we can experience these cycles of highs and lows with our motivation, productivity, social life and more.
Unfortunately, these cycles can feel demoralising and hopeless. We feel as though we are trapped in a vicious circle of highs and lows, at the whim of a bad event in our environment that can send us spiralling downwards. Sadly, we can also feel unworthy or incompetent for not improving each time.
The vicious spiral is a way of reframing these feelings to a more positive outlook. Even though it may feel as though we are constantly circling through the same feelings, it’s changing our outlook that these cycles are part of a greater spiral upwards.

The Vicious Spiral
The Vicious Spiral
I found this visualisation particularly profound, and it instills in me a sense of hope. Even if it feels like we are stuck in the same place again and again, we can search for learning to make every experience better than the last. Even if it seems like we don’t learn anything, or that we arrive in the same place everytime, it’s all part of the spiral upwards.
Everytime we hear a small thing that changes our perspective, or when we treat ourselves with more kindness in the wake of a low, it’s symbolic of us escaping the circle and starting our journey on the spiral upwards.
I’ve been carrying this idea with me whenever I feel as though I’m entering a vicious circle, and I hope that it resonates with you as well. Entering the vicious spiral might seem like a small thing now, but years down the line you might find yourself much further up!
- Emil
P.S - Happy fathers day to all the dads reading 🙂
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Emil Eddy

Hi! My name is Emil and I'm a second year medical student studying at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Every Sunday I write a little bit about my life as a medical student and content creator :)

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