My Mental Health Emotional Toolkit

**Image by: Free-Photos on Pixabay
Rather than having a blog entirely dedicated to books, I want to raise awareness on my intersectional existence across different communities. One of those landmarks is mental illness. As someone trying to cope with mental illness, I am exploring options for my emotional, emergency toolkit.

The Emotional Toolkit

An “emotional toolkit” is a bouquet of ways to deal with negative emotions. You can read more about it here. 

Part of my journey with mental illness has to do with recognizing my own patterns. I get really angry and frustrated by the isolation my condition brings about. When I do feel “up” enough, I reach out only to go “down” again before I can see the relationship through.

But, more than anything, it’s the lack of emotional self-help and micro-management of the tiny spikes and dips in my mood. This is why an emotional emergency toolbox is of use.

Mental Illness Emotional Toolkit, tool #1: Deep breathing

The biggest part of my mental illness’ destructive tendencies relies on knee-jerk reactions. If I can slow down and breathe, then I can somehow process what just happened. Is it worth the panicking and the insistence to get approval?

While breathing, I am working on listening to instrumental tunes or perhaps ambient sounds on my iPod or computer. My go-to application for this is Tide and Relax-Melodies.

Mental Illness Emotional Toolkit, tool #2: Disengage

Sometimes, I try to focus on pictures that make me think of another time. Here is an example of those images. A natural lens-flare will always make me think, “Yep. Watch out, J.J. Abrams. Here I come.”

Plus, I do like taking pictures in general. So, that’s another tool in my emotion toolbox.  Often, I just take pictures of things around the house or pictures of my cats and books, plants as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another hit in terms of emotion tools is to paint my nails. I love this so much that I have a whole Pinterest board with ideas for my nail colors. I have not attempted any designs, though.

Emotional Toolkit, tool #3: Seeing Your Own Thoughts

This is a double-edged tool in the sense that it can be my own writing or someone else’s. I intend to share more about journal-writing soon (ish). For me, it is mostly an emotional release. In addition, it is an artistic expression as I use washi tape and glittery-colorful pens, with the occasional sticker.

I have not kept a journal after running out of papers, but I am planning to revisit journals from now on. They can provide parallels and continuity in terms of my development as a person. Sometimes, it really helps to know that the so-called crises in my life happened before and I survived them.

Stories help me a lot, too. I like to think of characters who inspire me (I’ll write more on that later). Characters who are timid but powerful tend to give me some hope. I intend on sharing these characters in little “gaggles” (I originally wanted to call them “gangs.”).

“How very important and infuriating it is to have to remind a smart person not to be so stupid as to give up on themselves.” –Tahereh Mafi, Whichwood

Here are some of my favorites:  Lena from Beautiful Creatures, Sydney from Bloodlines (and, yes, there is a bit of Adrian in there, too. #mooddisorder peeps unite), Laylee from Whichwood, Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Elide from Throne of Glass and Elaine from A Court of Thornes and Roses. Finally: Jane Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. 

My group of favorites grows all the time. Stay tuned.

Your Turn:

What is in your emotional toolkit? How do you cope with intense negative emotion? Share your tools in the comments! Let’s discuss.

 

 

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