Search

Support Forum

SANE Support Forum

Developing our mental health toolkits

For sharing your experiences and feelings about mental illness
tofler
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:33 pm
Location: England (North East)

Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby tofler » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:56 am

Somebody else mentioned this on the forum somewhere recently, I think it might've been teamn or maisi. Anyway, she was saying that over the years she has accumulated a few tools that she keeps in her mental health toolkit and that the accumulative effect of using these different tools is that there has been some improvement in her mental health and she's coping better.

This is the same sort of philosophy that I've been using over recent years as well. I think there's no one single thing that is going to reduce my depression or make it go away completely, but that a combination of many different things is much more likely to reduce my depressive symptoms, so that I can get on with my life again. So I decided to try and throw everything at it, including the kitchen sink (just kidding!)

So I thought it might be useful to have a post on here where any of us can share information and ideas about the different things that we have in our toolkits, what has worked well for us and what hasn't! So I thought I'd set this up as a post this morning and come back to it whenever I can think of new tools to add to the list.

It would be great to hear from everyone else about this as well so don't be shy, please feel free to get stuck in and join the discussion!

tofler
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:33 pm
Location: England (North East)

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby tofler » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:31 am

Here's a few of the tools in my toolkit, to hopefully get us started:

✓ Developing a different relationship with my thoughts - this has been a big one for me as I really struggled with ruminating and overthinking. I've tried to take on board some ideas from mindfulness and also CBT. I might say a bit more about this at another time as it's quite a big topic.

✓ Trying to keep busy or occupied (but without overdoing it!) - I really struggle with feeling exhausted a lot of the time and with finding the motivation to do things. But I know from experience that if I can keep myself occupied I feel a bit better about myself than if I lie in bed all day. Again this comes from CBT where therapists will often refer to it as "behavioural activation". I don't manage to do this all the time though, I still have some bad days where I struggle to make it out of bed all day, but these are less often than they used to be.

✓ Medication - antidepressants have definitely helped me in the past, so have diazepam and propranolol. I've been managing without any anti-depressants for over a year now, but I might return to them again this winter because things get worse for me in winter.

✓ Eating "proper meals" - I try to make sure that I have 3 small meals each day, but I don't always manage this. In the past when things were much worse for me, a lot of what I was eating was toast, cereal, crisps and chocolate with very few decent meals.

✓ Alcohol - I still have an occasional drink but much, much less than I used to drink. Alcohol can provide some short term relief from unpleasant thoughts and feelings but it makes things worse over the longer term because it is a depressant. Alcohol also increases the risk of impulsive behaviours whilst under the influence and these behaviours can be dangerous or problematic in other ways.

✓ A shower a day - again, I don't always manage to do this, but I try to make sure that I have a shower every day. When I feel as though I'm looking after myself (self-care etc) it helps me to feel a bit better about myself, because I feel like I'm functioning more like a "proper adult" again!

That's enough of my rambling for now! I'll come back and add other things when I think of them.

betterinrecovery
Posts: 526
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:07 pm

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby betterinrecovery » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:08 am

Dear Tofler,
Thank you for your tool kit.
Can I add uplifting aromatherapy oils that can be bought at the supermarket?
Lavender oil (though some are allergic to lavender),
a dab on a tissue helps bring calm and can 'bring me down' from being anxious.
Rosemary -just rubbing a sprig of rosemary in my hands and inhaling the smell can help clear the head.
oh, and I only pick sprigs of rosemary from my neighbours gardens if it is over grown.

getting to bed at a regular hour - so have to go,
best wishes
B

tofler
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:33 pm
Location: England (North East)

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby tofler » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:21 am

betterinrecovery wrote:Can I add uplifting aromatherapy oils...


Hi there betterinrecovery, yes of course you can! Please feel free to add anything at all which you find helpful. I like aromatherapy oils as well, especially lavender and citronella. A plant that I have growing in the garden and which I absolutely love the smell of, is lemon balm (very relaxing, a woody scent with a subtle hint of lemon).

✓ You've also mentioned sleep. Looking after my sleep pattern and getting to bed at a decent time and trying to make sure that I get enough sleep is something else that I often struggle with, but it's another important part of my my toolkit, so thanks for mentioning that as well. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night (or get woken up by noise outside in the street) and then struggle to get back to sleep. Not getting enough sleep is a trigger for me and it can leave me feeling ill and very low.

betterinrecovery
Posts: 526
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:07 pm

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby betterinrecovery » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:09 am

Yes have to agree,
Sleep is so, so important. Even on my anti-depressant medication, I feel very bad if I don't get enough sleep.

I think I have lemon balm in the garden - I got a small plant that was being sold off at the garden centre - it is now quite large. I love rubbing it in my hands - something I used to do as a child of 6, I didn't know that it is good for helping with depression.

Lemon, grapefruit and orange essential oils are good for lifting the mood.
Prices for them vary from shop to shop. I have some old bottles that are probably close to their use by date.
Failing that - just peel and orange e.t.c. it can give an instant feeling of wellbeing, particularly for mild depression.
does not work for me if I am very, very low.


Dark Chocolate
for people that are not prone to migraines -
the darker the better... a couple of squares is all that is needed.
just now I have ASDA's Extra special own brand- Ugandan Dark Chocolate with 70% cocoa solids.
Tesco do a very good dark chocolate too.

I once went to a beer festival where there were chocolate from all over the world, you could do a chocolate tasting rather than a beer tasting - or both.
There were people standing around looking quite vacant and thoughtful - my husband included
so you could see they were carefully comparing beers. :roll:
I don't drink - but I love the chocolate :lol:

Very Best Wishes
B

littleem
Posts: 434
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby littleem » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:22 pm

Hey! :D

Great thread. For me,

1. Medication - Be persistent. Finding the right type and dose lifted me out of the black fog of severe depression. I no longer have days where I can’t even get up or shower or leave the house. Meds put me in the right place to access therapy.

2. ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ - talking to others and typing out all my feelings on this forum helps me ‘get stuff out of my system’.

3. Structured Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

4. ‘Get up n’ at ‘em’ - Bed days for me were toxic when I was very depressed. Showering and getting dressed every day, tidying up and popping out even just for a little stroll would help my mood when it was at its worst. This now all comes much more naturally.

5. Spending time with my little nieces and nephews - I automatically become more upbeat, jokey, positive and happy and I ‘get out of my head’. Family have been an integral part of my recovery.

6. Pace myself! - No more setting myself up to fail! Setting realistic, very achievable and accessible goals that I enjoy and which are actually of interest to me. No more ‘I should be doing this....’ and ‘I must....’. Balance is essential as burn out, stress, pressure and exhaustion are huge triggers for me.

7. Fresh air! - Every morning taking a walk to Church and town lifts my mood. I’ve recently started walking more by a beautiful nearby duck pond. I enjoy this experience and it’s important to stop and notice things. :)

8. Acceptance and self compassion- Nobody wants to be mentally ill. Go easy on yourself, recognise your achievements and keep positive. :)

9. Creativity- Painting has been a massive help for me. It takes my mind elsewhere for hours, I enjoy it and it gives others pleasure too.

10. Distraction- Seems a bit silly maybe, but something as simple as watching an episode or two of a new series or a film or getting stuck into a good book in the evening can lift my mood. It gives me something to look forward to at the end of my day and takes my mind elsewhere.

11. Volunteering- This has helped me socially and has improved my confidence and it gives me a sense of achievement.

12. Routine! - Doesn’t have to be rigid or intense!

Hope some of this helps! :D

Em x

sirhugo
Posts: 631
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:40 pm

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby sirhugo » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:22 pm

This thread is a great idea. definitely need to do more stuff like this

All the ones I've seen are great and I do some myself. however here's a few more that have worked for me.

Hugs - there just so comforting. it can make you feel that everything is going to be ok, even for just a minute

Music - possible the best thing in the universe. I stick my headphones in and blare the music at full volume. I then walk to a secluded area and sing along loudly. nothing gives me more joy. id highly recommend it

Book a day off - If you have work, college or whatever commitments that can stress you out, get you down etc. then every so often book a day off. You don't even need a reason for it, or any alternative plans. just enjoy not having to do what you would be normally be doing.

Plan your day - sometimes the overwhelming feelings of pointlessness associated with depression can make it difficult to even get out of bed. having something planned for that day, regardless of how seemingly stupid or insignificant (for example, going into town) can gave you a reason to get out of bed

Healthy Diet - as tempting as it may be, sitting around eating kebabs and pizzas will only make you feel worse. You may get a temporary boost, but that will wear off and you feel crap. if you feel crap in body you will feel crap in mind too. The flip side also applies. I generally feel better when I've been eating better

hope some of these work for you. hang in the my friends :D :D :D

teamn
Posts: 460
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:10 pm

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby teamn » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:08 am

This thread is great, and feel honoured that my comment inspired it, it’s totslly on point what your wrote and I hope this post is useful for others , I’m sypure it will be, and me too,hope to pick up some tipsy to add Into my toolkit.

I got the term toolkit, from a councellin group session, it was really good and each week we had to add something from the group into our tool kit.

Maybe that’s what I can offer as a suggestion, each week, if you go counselling or have a supple group or forum, and something has Alliaviated your pain for the day, or yo7 learnt something useful, don’t just forget about it, add it to your toolkit.

My toolkit is actual not theoretical, I had notes and put them into a plastic wallet, and could go back and draw on what’s needed, look through it and see what I need to strengthen me for the day, it became so ingrained in my head I now don’t need to t look,I now pick from memory what approach will work, but I’m sure I’ll be adding more after engaging in this post and reading others comments.

Once again great uplifting positive post, brilliant

tofler wrote:Somebody else mentioned this on the forum somewhere recently, I think it might've been teamn or maisi. Anyway, she was saying that over the years she has accumulated a few tools that she keeps in her mental health toolkit and that the accumulative effect of using these different tools is that there has been some improvement in her mental health and she's coping better.

This is the same sort of philosophy that I've been using over recent years as well. I think there's no one single thing that is going to reduce my depression or make it go away completely, but that a combination of many different things is much more likely to reduce my depressive symptoms, so that I can get on with my life again. So I decided to try and throw everything at it, including the kitchen sink (just kidding!)

So I thought it might be useful to have a post on here where any of us can share information and ideas about the different things that we have in our toolkits, what has worked well for us and what hasn't! So I thought I'd set this up as a post this morning and come back to it whenever I can think of new tools to add to the list.

It would be great to hear from everyone else about this as well so don't be shy, please feel free to get stuck in and join the discussion!

teamn
Posts: 460
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:10 pm

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby teamn » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:17 am

I agree with all the suggestions,
Definitely music for me, soothes, when I do remember to turn radio on.,or connect phone. meds helped, with talking therapy.

Counselling only worked when I was really open and involved and not just trying to anaylse the coucnellor.

Pacing myself like littleem said, and not setting self up to t fail by trying to do everything like before

im not sure of this has been said , but going to the right sources to ask for help, my sources are now here, and counselling, not much leaning on friends or family anymore, as I found their reactions and lack of empathy or understanding made recovery harder. Never stop asking for as much help as is available when you need it.

Recognising triggers and not ignoring them, but learning how to better response so it doesn’t manifest into deep illness again.

Setting boundaries with others, saying NO with love, and not letting people take the mick out of me or use me and emotionally y abuse me, but remove myself from toxic relationships. (Back to reconisising triggers)

Not putting pressure on myself to Be better or back to the old Natalie, but reestablishing who I am now.

Learning to accept my vulnerability and see them as a positive part of me,rather tan burying emotions and constantly putting up mask to show smiles,happiness and strength

Oh yeah also not talking peoples negative behaviour or words to heart, not letting their words mess with my mood, back to recognising trigger anc also setting personal boundaries and recognising no one has power to change my mood, only me
Last edited by teamn on Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1658
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Developing our mental health toolkits

Postby andthistoomustpass » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:18 am

Some brilliant comments on this thread.

One among many;

Not putting pressure on myself to Ben better or back to the old Natalie, but reestablidhimg who I am now p,


This is a brilliant comment that gets to the heart of it. The process of recovery changes you, makes you more resilient, it is so important to lean into the change.

As for my toolkit; I'll just link to an old post for now;
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=30617&p=267416#p267416


Return to “Mutual Support Group”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

cron