I’ve lived with mental illness almost all of my life. It started out as depression and anxiety and bloomed into something much larger as I confronted my past. Currently, my diagnoses include depression, anxiety, autism, ADHD, trichotillomania, dermatillomania, and complex PTSD. I’ve been in mental health care for about 5 years now and, needless to say, I’ve developed a multitude of ways of dealing with my mental illnesses.
When you have major mental illness, crises will almost always come at some point in your life. When these crises do come, there are tons of ways to help combat them! You can call your local mental health hospital, contact your therapist or psychiatrist, contact a loved one, etc. But here is my favorite way of combating a crisis: an emergency self-care kit.
This emergency self-care kit can help you ride the wave of a crisis until it passes. It contains things to help ground or distract you from the impending doom rising in your head. I have used this kit many, many times, especially when the urge for self-harm arises. I’ve been battling self-harm for 8 years now and it’s never easy to contain the urges. The kit can contain anything you want but here are my ideas for the kit!
- Lush bath bomb
- Calming essential oils to put in a diffuser
- A coloring book and colored pencils
- Silly putty to keep hands busy
- Temporary tattoos to put on spots you would normally self-harm
- A stuffed animal to cuddle
- A book to read
- Letter from a loved one telling you why you should keep on living
Lush bath bombs are a great way to relax! I tend to put on some calming essential oils in a diffuser, such as Blues Buster from Plant Therapy. I also will put on some classical music or calming music from YouTube.
Coloring books are a great way to keep your hands busy and your mind focused if you’re a self-harmer like myself. I like the adult coloring books from Michael’s but they sell tons on Amazon as well!
I have found that, for me, silly putty is the best way to keep my hands busy. In a crisis, I’ll put on my favorite YouTube channel that always makes me laugh, Achievement Hunter, and play with silly putty. This takes my mind off of the chaos and keeps my hands working so I don’t self-harm.
I buy temporary tattoos from the dollar store and tend to get butterflies or hearts to remind me to stay safe. But there are temporary tattoos on Etsy that are made specifically to combat self-harm. (MentalHealthMagic on Etsy.)
One way I can be comforted if my loved ones are not accessible is to lay under my weighted blanket and cuddle my favorite stuffed animal. I can have a good cry there and let out all the emotions swirling around in my head. I got my weighted blanket from Lifetime Sensory Solutions on Amazon for much cheaper than the average weighted blanket and the quality is great! They also frequently give away weighted blankets on Facebook so it’s worth a like. My favorite stuffed animal right now is this angry llama I got from a comic con.
Books have always been my escape. Since I was a teenager, I have read fiction books to escape my life. I can imagine myself as the main character that has none of the problems I do and forget about whatever has been troubling me lately.
Letters from a loved one is probably my favorite thing in this kit. Though I don’t have letters, I save sweet text messages from my fiancé to look at when I need reassurance that life is worth living.
So, my process using this mental health kit is to first take a Lush bath while diffusing essential oils. Then, I will put on temporary tattoos to deter myself from self-harming and either color or read a book. Normally, when I color or read, I’ll do so under my weighted blanket with my stuffed animal close by. Finally, when the chaos has subsided a little bit, I’ll turn on my favorite YouTube channel, still under my weighted blanket, and have some silly putty to play with.
I hope this helps you next time you’re in a crisis. Stay safe everyone!