Tools, tools: Use them and survive the storms

A toolbox, from Biltema)
A toolbox, from Biltema) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I mention my mental health wellness toolkit or tools quite often.

 

That is because using them really works (the majority of the time).  I have only had one hospitalization in about 3 years.  I had to change my life diet (places and things that caused triggers or were not productive for my mental well being) and start using coping skills to get through the storms brought on by manic-depression episodes, that I call storms.

Lately, I have had to use my depression tools since I have been off of anti-depressant pills.  Sunday I start the patch for depression and it has not been easy.  As I have posted, it has been like a roller coaster ride.  When I start using the patch on Sunday, the storm is not over.  It will still take time for the medication to get into my system and begin to work but the roughest part of the storm, I hope, is behind me.

Just like a toolbox is divided into sections so is my toolkit. In the depression part are tools like: watching a funny movie, calling someone and just talking about funny things going on in their life.  I also get dressed everyday and put on a light colored top.  It doesn’t have to be a bright color, just not black, blue, brown or any other dark color.  I put on lipstick.  Again, not a dark color.  I put on all the things I would put on if I were feeling great and going out with a friend, even though the opposite is true.  I don’t have to think what to do in order not to sink deeper into depression because all the information is in my toolkit and I just have to look at it.  I have recently added meditation to my toolkit and deep breathing.

These tools even help when I am manic.  Light a scented candle and sit comfortably or lie down.  Concentrate on your breathing in and out. I like to concentrate on my breathing because I actually forget to exhale when I am manic.  This slows my breathing down so I get air in and out along with the feelings of anxiousness or sadness.

The breathing helps me focus on something other than the racing thoughts.  I get the thoughts under control.  It especially helps me when I am doing it with someone because even though I want to stop and talk, I don’t want to open my eyes and see them concentrating and I disturb them.  It is not hard doing it alone because I now know the benefit of doing it.  It slows me down.  It helps calm me from doing impulsive things (which is characteristic of my mania).

I rely on my tools because I know they will get me through the storms of mania and depression.  They may not take them away but they do keep them from escalating.  For instance, since using the tools for mania, I don’t overspend.  I don’t make impulsive buying decisions.  I purposely stay out of the stores, even the stores I call the treasure hunting stores.  I do the opposite when feeling depressed.  I will go treasure hunting because I have no desire to spend money, but it gets me out of the house and around people.

Develop your tools for coping in mania and depression and use them when you see the storm coming.  Just like people prepare their homes for a hurricane, prepare yourself for mania or depression by having tools in place before the storm hits.

Purpose to have an awesome day according to your own definition of awesome.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter

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Author: Fighter

I finally accepted what people have been telling me. I am full of knowledge and wisdom and I am unforgettable. My word of encouragement since 2015 has been to let others know, despite the waves and ripples in our lives, Life is totally awesome, even with a mental illness. I believe my purpose is to encourage others, advocate for those around me who have not yet found their voice to advocate for themselves and educate those without a mental illness. If for one for minute someone laughs or smiles because of something I said, that is one moment they did not think about mental illness.

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