Self-Soothe and Self-Control


self soothe

Some days life is so easy. I get out of bed and feel in control of life and my eating disorder. I plan out my meals ahead of time, and I eat them. I go running during my lunch break and it feels wonderful to be out in the sun with my dog and my thoughts. I feel creativity and excitement deep in my belly. I can’t wait to live out my next minute, just to keep experiencing this wonderful life.

Other days, it feels difficult just to keep my eyes open. Not because I’m tired, but because I just can’t manage to take on a single task. I feel out of control and chaotic. My mind races through thoughts but can’t focus in on anything in particular. My body feels heavy and I all I want to do is turn off my brain until I can deal with life. I can’t even pinpoint what is really wrong. Everything feels wrong.

I still can’t figure out the triggers that determine what kind of day it’s going to be.

I’ve collected some tools that help make the hard days a little easier. I know how to ward of negative thoughts by practicing mindfulness techniques. I could take short walks and name everything I pass, or can hold an object in my hand  and describe it in as much detail as possible. I could breathe. I know that putting on happy music or reach out to a friend will help.

Still though, on those hard days I fight against my better judgment. Even though I know there are things I can do that will help, it’s difficult to get myself to actually do them.

I’m getting a little better at it though. I’m working on tearing down my walls.

The last few months I’ve put a lot of effort into reaching out to people when I need help, and letting more people into my little world- even when my instinct is to shut everyone out.

I still get surprised that there are people who want to listen and help. For a long time, I figured that I had spent so much time isolating myself that people would have given up and written me off. I’m thankful that they haven’t.

I’m learning that the more that I reach out and use my tools on the good days, the easier it is to fall back on them when things get tough. I’m realizing that sometimes all it takes it answering a text or saying “yes” to make me feel less alone. I’m getting better at taking the plunge to go on a walk or take five minutes to write out the things for which I’m grateful.

This week in group therapy, we were asked to create a “Self-Soothe Box.” We are supposed to fill it with things that we can turn to when we’re feeling out of control, depressed, or anxious. I thought it was kind of hokey at first, but since I’m trying my best to actually follow through with life, I decided to actually give it a try. And ya know what? I think I might actually use it.

I find that scents are especially helpful for getting me in the moment, so my box has a good smelling soap and a stick of incense. I put a crossword puzzle book to get my brain focused on something outside of myself. A smooth rock to rub on. A notebook and a pen to write down happy thoughts. A picture of my dog, my boyfriend, and my family. A story my grandfather wrote about how he and my grandmother met and fell in love.

Luckily, today is one of those days that feels easy. I feel confident that the next time I’m feeling out of control, I’ll be a little closer to being able to manage it.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to remember the feeling I have right now, when all seems right with the world. I have good friends and people who love and care about me.

I apologize for the sappy post, but you know… Sometimes I just gotta get these things out there.

What makes you happy when you’re feeling low? I can always use some more “self-soothe” items to add to my list.

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  • EvelKneivel

    I don’t know if it always makes me happy, but gratitude is what I use when I’m feeling low. Actually, it’s something I try to practice daily, but especially on the days when times feel tough. Reminding myself that I have so much to be grateful for, and I mean down to things like sheets on the bed and a bed to sleep in, helps to keep me out of feeling too low.