Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Crisis Skills 1

Stress Crisis Borderline distract relax cope overwhelming emotions BPD personality disorder hospital cut binge purge self harm suicide destructive scream paranoid delusion dissociation rage
Feel like its all too much & you want to urgently tear your hair out?
Don't worry this will pass,I've outlined lots of suggestions below to help.

3 things to memorize/write down :

 1) Distract

 2) Relax

 3) Cope

Memory Aid 
Dinosaurs Relax in Coats
 Dinosaurs Race Cows
whichever one you like best (or make up your own)


To distract from urges to self-harm & an anxiety provoking thought.
Hold some ice cubes or splash cold water on your eyes. Use a pipette to let red food coloring
drip on your skin or use a red marker to draw where you would cut.Dig your nails into your skin to cause mild pain,do NOT break the skin.Draw faces of people you hate on balloons & pop them.Scream into a pillow if you have to.

Are you right handed? Write :"My favourite fruit is______________(mango) with your left hand 20 times,if left handed use your right hand.It will be frustrating but will help you focus

Other distraction options

Do a few chores-lean,tidy,sort...mow the lawn.

Do something for someone.Help them in ways you can,wash their car,prepare a meal for them,volunteer...

Think of someone you care about which will help you feel better.

People watch-Go somewhere where you can be in the sun or out of the rain and watch people.What are they doing? How are they dressed ? What are they talking about? Look for details,how many have blue eyes? Try to keep your mind focused on this and if your mind goes back to the pain you are feeling move your attention back to the details.

Think of good memories,try to remember as many details as you can.What did you do,who were you with...?
funny cat pictures - Mittens dreamed of reliving  his high school football triumphs.self-help exercise
Go to a park or forest,notice the wildlife,flowers,trees,beauty,sun on your skin...

Run as fast as you can in a safe space,jog or walk fast if you can't run.

If the crisis was caused by overwhelming memories pretend you can change them,what would you do/say differently,what would you say to the people that hurt you? How would they respond.
(this is not a good option if you will react angrily) Think of good memories holidays...

Make a plan on how to get a new job or how to get a better one.

Take deep breaths and count them or count the sounds you hear,count all the names you know that start with A,B,C...
Count the objects in the room that are blue...

Do/plan something fun.Do something that will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Write a story about 2 objects.

Look around you and describe in your head what you see,the shapes,colours...without judging.

Watch a funny movie,cartoon,silly pictures of cats
funny cat pictures - I'VE NEVER BEEN SO INSULTED  HOW DARE YOU SAY I'M INBREDfunny cat pictures - After that tug-of-war incident between his two girlfriends, Jerry was never the same.funny cat pictures - Sonja? Jo? Have you seen the superglue anywhere?


Why relax? Your body will stop being in fight or flight and your brain will think of better ways to cope with problems.A state of panic and anxiety doesn't help you to think properly

You can use your senses to soothe yourself.

Visit a florist,go into a bakery,buy some essential oils,make some tea,bake something that smells good,try on some creams/perfumes from the tester tubes in a shop.

Look at nice photos,videos,books with nice illustrations that you had as a kid,pictures of puppies,dolphins...Cut out some pictures from magazines and make your own book.

Stroke something soft,take a bath/shower(heat helps reduce loneliness and negative feelings),massage yourself,change into comfortable clothes.Hug your favourite teddy (you can never be too old to have a teddy & besides,an odd study found borderlines are more likely than others to have one) Make yourself a hot water bottle,run your hands under warm water...

Drink some tea,juice,water...slowly noticing the taste.
Buy a ripe piece of fruit and eat it slowly noticing the taste.
Suck on an ice cube or some frozen juice.
Eat your favourite meal slowly.

Listen to some relaxing music,an audio-book,nature sounds,a gentle talk show on the radio...
Sing along to an upbeat happy song somewhere you won't be heard/self-conscious...
Many great videos can be found on YouTube,just search for relaxing music and you will get many things from guided meditation7self-hypnosis to rain forest sounds.Here are ones I like
Some videos last up to a few hours,or are in playlists,have nice pictures...

Some good short meditations can be found free on YouTube,here are a few of my favourites :

There are lots of different ones to try out,just find out what style suits you and pick a few so you don't get bored to the same one.

Relax and improve your relationships exercise:

Note : You can do this exercise alone
Make sure you have a pen and a piece of paper handy.Read through this exercise twice,so you will know what you are doing.Don't worry it's not that complicated!

  • Yawn, breathe deeply, and relax all of the muscles in your body: your face, your jaw, the muscles around your eyes, your neck, your shoulders, your arms, your back, and your legs for 30seconds.
  • Shake your hands and feet for a couple of seconds,then stretch and yawn a couple more times. Notice how different you feel, and how it affects your thoughts.
  • Close your eyes as you ask yourself this question: “What is mydeepest personal value?” Keep your eyes closed for at least 60 seconds, and listen to the subtle inner voices that constantly flow in the background of your consciousness. Search for a word that captures the quality of your deepest personal value.
  • Sometimes, when you ask the question in a slightly different, putting emphasis on different parts of the phrase, another word will come to you. So again, ask yourself: “What is my deepest personal value?” Write down any new word that comes to mind.
  • Now ask yourself one more time: “What is my deepest personal value?”
  • Write down any additional words, then look at at your list. Circle the one that feels the truest for you at this moment, then close your eyes again and repeat the word yourself, silently and aloud. Notice how it feels to say it, and then compare it to the other words you wrote down.

On different days, or when dealing with different situations, you may find that other key values come to mind. But if you seriously reflect on this question, you'll often find a word that you intuitively know has profound meaning to your life.Meditating on this word, on a regular basis, can actually transform the direction of your work and personal relationships
For more information about this technique and to ask the researchers questions see here

More on personal Values here:Values Improve Your Life


Coping thoughts are helpful when you are starting to feel:
upset,agitated,nervous/anxious,angry.They help tolerate distress by giving you strength & motivation to endure painful experiences.
Pick a few that you feel will be helpful or are meaningful to you.

  • This won't last forever.
  • I have survived many painful experiences (like these) and I've survived them.
  • These are feelings,they will go away.
  • This is an opportunity for me to learn how to cope with my fears/feelings.
  • This sucks but its temporary.
  • I'm strong and can deal with this.
  • I can cope

Make up your own,place on the fridge/mirror so that you get used to thinking about them & using them.

Now get a bit of cardboard and write on it a few of each skill in the categories Distract,Relax & Cope that you can do when you are not home.Place this skill card in your wallet/handbag...

Sources: The DBT Skills Workbook,a very good easy to read workbook for anyone with overwhelming emotions. 

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