Today I’m going to unpack my mental health kit for you. Ever since I built my kit I’ve been more at ease when I’m out in public, knowing that I have everything I need should a mental health crisis arise. I’m sharing mine with you in hopes that it will inspire you to get creative and make your own.
One thing I have in my kit is a first aid kit. Knowing that I’m prepared to deal with any minor injuries that come my way is definitely anxiety reducing. I have band-aids, painkillers, peppermint essential oil for headaches, anti-itch cream, a manicure set, tums, a toothbrush and toothpaste, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, stain removing wipes, chapstick, lotion, my inhaler, an extra dose of my medication, feminine products, cough drops, breath mints, earplugs, a granola bar, tea, and some other natural remedies. I know, my first aid kit might seem a little excessive, but I’ve adapted the traditional first aid kit to fit my personal needs. It’s also nice being able to help a friend out when they have a headache or need a band-aide.
I also carry around a copy of my Relapse Prevention Plan and my Distress Tolerance Crisis and Safety Plan, as well as useful handouts from my therapist for times of crisis, grounding techniques, and breathing techniques. This comes in handy for not only myself but my friends to reference as well when I’m having a mental health crisis. For an example of my Relapse Prevention Plan and my Distress Tolerance Crisis and Safety Plan so that you can build your own, click here.
Next is a journal that I have taken with me to therapy for almost two years now, and it’s full of different techniques I’ve learned, as well as my favorite inspirational quotes, and a list of things I love about myself. I also use it to doodle and write down whatever is bothering my brain at the moment. It’s so full of post-it notes and handouts that I have to hold it shut with an elastic headband. The journal also acts as a source of comfort when I’m stressed out, because of the familiarity and being able to look back and see all the progress I’ve made. I also carry two composition books that I track my sleep, meds, bipolar cycles, and journal about my day in.
Depending upon where I’m going and what I’m doing, I like to bring my DBT skills workbook. When I’m going to interact with people or go to a potentially distressing place, I like to have it to reference my DBT skills and practice them effectively.
Because I get stressed easily in public, I carry around some fun activities that I can busy myself with when, for example, I’m waiting for food at a restaurant or waiting for a friend at the mall. I have a book of word searches, my Nintendo DS, a coloring book and some crayons, a Doctor Who sticker book, mad libs to do with friends, a book to read, and a book full of writing prompts. I also carry charging chords for all my electronics so I’m never stressed about low battery!
Last, but certainly not least, I have a bunch of fidget toys to play with when I’m anxious or bored. I have Crazy Aaron’s Silly Putty, which is by far the coolest thing in my whole mental health kit. I also a mantra beads, a stress ball, a crystal that’s supposed to help with anxiety, some small stones, and Chill Pill Essential Oil.
It may seem like a lot, but most of it’s small, and it all easily fits into a backpack. So that’s my mental health kit. I hope it inspires you to create your own, no matter how big or how small. Do you have a fun or unique aspect to your mental health kit, or a great idea for one? Let me know in the comments below!!