Sunday, 31 October 2010

Things that might help in a crisis

I was reading a blog on ‘Struggling with BPD’. As far as I know there are some similarities between BPD and DID and although I haven’t read a lot on this yet, I did read that often people with DID have been misdiagnosed with BPD in the past, or have both diagnoses. So there must be some similarities. Anyway, it got me thinking about what things have helped me not to self harm in the past. I wrote a wee list; some of the points are more general, as in, things that have helped when I’ve been extremely depressed or overwhelmed with emotion or just things that have helped my mental health. I am not trying to teach or preach here by the way guys. I know that sometimes, nothing helps me feel differently, but sometimes I surprise myself and things can improve. These are just things I’ve tried and found helpful with varying levels of success so they may or may not help you but I hope they do and if so, let me know.

For me, the most likely things to help when I want to self harm are:

-Sometimes just imagining holding a blade in my hand and mentally self harming without actually doing it can be enough to calm me. Or actually just holding the blade against my arm but not doing it helps me to feel in control.

- Drawing cuts on my arm with a pen.

-Pressing my nails or a pointy object into my skin/biting my skin to feel pain but not cause injury.

-If you have parts like me, trying to tune into the more caring parts or the child parts and think about how you feel about those parts. Ask yourself if they deserve to be hurt? You can probably do a variation of this if you are one single person as well.

-Trying to think of the future and how having scars could hinder you. This thought prevented me from harming a lot when I was asked to be bridesmaid because I knew I’d need to have my arms bare. Nowadays I have nothing like that to bear in mind and it’s a lot easier to not care.

General things that help me in a crisis (sometimes!):

-Trying to remember that I have reason as much as others to love myself and then, I try to think of a loving thing I could do instead of a harmful thing. So reminding myself that bad things that have happened weren’t my fault and that it’s ok to feel upset and that others would struggle too.

-Write a list of the things that you like to do and pick one e.g. have a bubble bath/do my nails/buy myself a present. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about it!

-Cuddling my cat. I don’t know if you have a pet but this helps me to calm down.

-Scribbling on paper.

-Writing down how I feel. If there are a lot of voices in my head I try to write down what everyone’s saying.

-Writing a letter to someone to talk about how you’re feeling (not necessarily with the intention of giving it). A couple of times I’ve written to my clinical psychologist when in a crisis and knowing that I can give her the letter or verbalise what’s on it when I next see her is comforting and helps me feel there is hope. Writing on your blog is an alternative.

-Again for people with parts (and possibly those without: don’t we all have an inner child?) my motherly, caring part can draw a picture for my younger scared/upset part. Last time, the caring part filled a page with hearts and coloured them various shades of blue because she knew this was Little Cs favourite colour. She also sang her a lullaby while doing it. Then she wrote Little C a letter on the back telling her there was nothing to be scared about. This helped Little C feel a lot better after being triggered by disturbing flashbacks/images.

OK I know that might sound totally crazy to you, but this is how it is in my world and I am trying to be honest on here.

Sometimes nothing helps. I hate to be the voice of doom here. If you can add anything to my list that might help me as well, please please do! And good luck everyone else coping with these issues in life. It helps me to know that there are others, not that I would wish these feelings on anyone. :(


Ethereal Highway said...

Sometimes putting a small and slightly jagged stone in the heal of my shoe helps me. It doesn't break the skin and so...

Don't do this if you have diabetes.

And I hope you don't mind that a totally stranger has showed up here and just randomly started leaving comments all over the place. I'm not known for being especially organised these days.

Candycan said...

I love it when people comment on my blog. It is nice to know people read some of my posts and I'm really interested to hear other peoples reflections and experiences.
The stone idea sounds like it wouldn't be the kind of pain I'd like (thinking back to yesterday when I trod on a popper of my husbands tunic for work and the cursing that followed) but then I have been known to walk around all day with a stone in my shoe just because I somehow don't deserve to have comfortable feet. Lol.

Candycan said...

I recently discovered a new tool to help me when I'm feeling anxious or need to ground myself. I was sorting stuff at work and lifted out a poster that had been laminated and was rolled up. As I was carrying it I put a hand at either end and pressed the rolled ends into the palms of my hands. It wasn't really painfull but the sharpness of the rolled up plastic edge was a very real feeling and I found it easing a strange kind of anxiety that had been with me that day.
Next time I was laminating stuff I kept a few strips of left overs from cutting out cards and rolled them up like a poster and cellotaped them. I am planning to keep them as something to use in therapy to press on my palms when I'm weirding out.

Meronym said...

Playing with play-doh helps us - having something that we can change is soothing. The tactile sensation, the smell, even the taste if we lick it - involving as much sensory input as possible helps when we're stressed.