I had a half hearted attempt at a Self Soothe Box before this revamp but I found I rarely used it in actual crises and when I did it wasn’t very effective. Plus bits has gradually been placed elsewhere and I ws left with a few bits of crumpled paper in a dinky cardboard box. I also decided that for my box, a sole focus on the self soothe skill (DBT) did not give me enough options for the various states I may be in. So I gave it another go last weekend and dedicated quite a while to focusing on what would actually be useful to me in a crisis, finding ideas online and going shopping/ nicking stuff from elsewhere in my home to compile the contents.
So Here it is: a Walkthrough of the finished product- My Crisis & Emptiness Box.
The name change is to reflect the broader contents but also that it is also there to help me when I’m feeling very empty which often very quickly leads to the distress that causes me to self harm, violence, or suicide attempts.
First is a picture of the Box itself which is a small little varnished chest we found at my grandparents house when clearing out. Believe it or not- I myself took these quality photos ( I am proud but have not gone so far to organise a photo shoot for my box 😉 ) I also have a comfy beanbag to sit on next to it.
- A List of Useful Numbers when in Crisis including certain friends, family and professionals in my care team. Here is a photo of the non-personal ones that might be useful to you.
- Cards to myself– I was too cringed out by this to do it for a long time but I’m giving it a go and it hasn’t gone badly so far. I write a nice card to myself when I’m in a reasonably okay place and put it in there to open when I’m really struggling then when I’ve opened that one, I write a replacement and add it in there so that over time I’m acquiring more but also I’ll always have a fresh one, I haven’t laid eyes on since writing it to open. I try to include reasons to keep going, achievement and general motivating and understanding comments.
- A photo Album I’ve put together of nice memories and people.
- A bag of little meaningful objects be it presents from people or souvenirs of nice times.
- Hot Water Bottle
- One lined and One Unlined notebook for drawing/writing etc (another place things can accumulate to explain my distress to myself) Give yourself the freedom to put anything in there no matter how dark and honest.(or positive I suppose!)
- Pencil Case (don’t include anything you could use harmfully)
- A Relaxing CD– I chose one with Gregorian chant & choir music- it works surprisingly! Although it sometimes feels like walking in to a funeral service when they’re playing :’)
- Nice Smelling Creams and Oils. I have hand creams a facial wash and a Body Scrub as as I have mentioned in previous posts when I’m very agitated and wanting to self harm my skins gets very itchy and I am sometimes convinced there is bugs or dirt on it. The rough sandy texture of the body scrub, helps the itchy feeling but also to convince me there isn’t anything on my skin.
- A colouring book
- Deep Heat Patches & BioFreeze Cream (temperature sensations)
- A mini Handheld Fan
- Puzzle Book
- Woolly Bed Socks
- Hairbrush & Toothbrush– the logic behind this is that often when in crisis I can go for long periods of time without looking after myself partly because it feels like too much effort, I don’t remember but also I am convinced there are bacteria on the things I usually use, so these are clean & rarely used and they remind me to try and look after myself.
- A pillow Case– on the same premiss as the last one that I may have spent days in bed and a fresh pillow case is just something nice and maybe necessary to replace an old tear soaked snotty one!
- 2 Jigsaws
- A small amount of hardboiled sweets so as to be a taste option for self soothe but not to actively encourage binging.
- A CD player with a Relaxation CD that included guided mindfulness
- Rosary Beads – my faith gives me a help at seeing bigger picture and rosary beads are also a tactile ritual which can be helpful in distress
- A moving Picture Book called the Alphabet of the Human Heart that helps me to gain perspective on life and the many wide experiences we may have as part of it.
The things I still have to add are: a list of funny youtube and other links to look at, DBT worksheets, Inspirational/funny pictures/quotes, Practical Ideas of places I could go to get out of the house e.g the library or local Costa Coffee, A list of reasons to Stay Alive, A list of distraction Websites to check out e.g Instagram, Pinterest, Ted Talks, cinnamon sticks in a jar.
Hopefully that has inspired you to put one together or give a useless one a revamp, let me know if you have any suggestions or if you do a response blog of your box!