Tag: grounding object

Walking this Borderland #9: My rescue box

Eee, it’s been a long time since I’ve added to this Series.

My CPN and I talked about the following idea today. I’ve been meaning to put this together for a while.

All the other ideas / coping techniques I’ve written about so far in this Borderland series are things I’ve tried or do use currently myself. This post is a bit different because this idea is new to me and I’m going to be trying it out for the first time, so I can’t yet say how helpful I’ve found it. (Updates will follow and I’d love to hear from you if you use something like this!)

I’m going to make a “rescue box”. I’m not quite sure if that’s what I want to call it but for now, it’s what I’ve named it. Apparently some people call it a suicide box because it’s a box full of things to turn to when you’re feeling absolutely at your worst. I didn’t want to call it that because it emphasises the terrible feelings more than the good I’m trying to climb towards.

The basic idea is to make up a box filled with things that help you to cope in times of extreme distress. This works well, I’m told, if like me, you find sensory or tactile things helpful and grounding. As I think I’ve mentioned earlier in this series, in personality disorder when emotions are overwhelming, introducing other, soothing sensations can help bring the emotions down. You can also put things in the box that remind you of good times or reasons that you do keep going every day, or anything that triggers positive memories and thoughts in the hope that in the long run making more and more positive memories makes these stronger than bad memories or obsessional thoughts.

I’m new to this. I’ve been trying to think of things I could put in my box. Here are a few things I came up with:

  • A special smooth pebble that I collected on the beach one good day, which I find very soothing and grounding to touch. It also reminds me of the sea. Walking along the coastline and watching the sea always assures me of the presence of creation and love far greater than ourselves.
  • A small stuffed animal – yes I may be an adult (perhaps 😉 ) but I still find soft toys comforting.
  • A particular book that never fails to encourage me (more on that in another post).
  • Photos of my godchildren whom I love very much; seeing them always brings me joy.
  • A list of people I care about whom I can pray for or do something nice for – maybe write a letter or a card. This reminds me I’m not alone and helps me focus outwards on other people rather than my own problems.

That’s what I’ve come up with so far. I’ll post some pictures as I make up the box.

I have the feeling that the hard thing is going to be remembering it is there and being able to use it when I really need to. I can have coping strategies but being able to turn to them rather than a destructive “coping mechanism” is the hardest thing.

Do you use a box like this or anything similar? How do you remember to use it in the hardest times? Does it help when you’re distressed as well as when you’re feeling okay?

Ginny xxx

Walking this Borderland #2: Grounding

Please read Walking…#1: Introduction before this or any other post in this Series. Thank you.

Six ways to ground yourself when you notice the early stages of an overwhelming emotion building (eg, panic, fear, anxiety)

I find these particularly help me. The aim is not to deny or stop feeling the emotion, but to reach a safe state where you are not overwhelmed with distress or driven to compulsive actions, and where you can perhaps begin to recognise your emotions and also recognise that they are not permanent and are not all there is of you or of the world – they are valid and they are allowed and also, they will sometime, somehow, pass.

I know the ideas below sound as if they couldn’t possibly make any difference when you’re feeling terrible but somehow, sometimes, they do. I was taught that it is good to practice using them when you are feeling okay, so that they become familiar, and to try to use them as early on as you can when you first feel your emotions rising, because when you are already in a state of peaked, extreme emotion, it can be too difficult to be able to try to use them.

  1. Step outside if you can, or if not, just into another room. Notice all the sensations around you. What does the ground feel like under your feet? What can you hear? What can you see? Can you touch anything – the wall, the door? What does it feel like? You are here and now. These things you see around you are concrete. They will remain. The emotion, no matter how terrifying, really will somehow pass.
  2. Touch a favourite object. What does the surface feel like? What colour is it? Does the sensation of touch calm you? Is it an object that reminds you of a happy time or place or someone you love?
  3. Count backwards in [threes] from 100 to 0. [Especially occupies your attention if, like me, you are not very good at maths/logic 😉 !]
  4. Clench and unclench your hands rapidly, focussing on the sensations in your muscles and on your skin.
  5. Make a hot drink. Hold the cup whilst it’s still hot. Focus on the sensation of the spreading heat relaxing the muscles in your hands. Breathe in and out deeply and focus on the scent of the drink or the warmth of the rising steam.
  6. Repeat a grounding “safety statement”, even if you can’t really believe it at first. For example (replace the […] as appropriate): “I am [Jane Doe]. The date is [5 December 2015]. I am [35] years old. I am [in my room in my flat] in [name city].  I am in the present, not the past. I am safe now.” I am relatively new to using safety statements but my CPN told me that this is a good way to recover from flashbacks / re-experiencing memories.