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