Monthly Archives

February 2021

Mental Health

What’s In My Grounding Box?

Having to deal with depression and anxiety daily for years, I’ve had time to try a bunch of different techniques to help me cope with the effects. Mindfulness, exercise, therapy and even podcasts. The problem is that they either don’t work or I’ve become almost desensitised to the benefits after a while. It’s that or I just have a really weird head that gets bored with things quickly.

To be honest, it’s probably the latter!

Since I’ve tried the more common ways, I tried to create my own way to ground myself. My depression and anxiety love to hit me at the same time. Much the same as a child’s Christmas Eve box of goodies, I have a box of personal things to help keep me calm.

Photo by Luku Muffin on Unsplash

What is a Grounding Box?

A grounding box/a self-soothe box is a box of items that help calm and relax you when you’re panicking, stressed or in a low mood. It’s different to everyone that has one. What you might find calming might not work for anyone else. We’re just made that way!

It’s better to make this kind of box when your mood is positive. That way you’re able to think clearer and pick items that mean something to you.

Even though your box is unique, it’s important to include sensory items. They’re super helpful for grounding:

  • Sight
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Sound
  • Taste

What’s in my Grounding Box?

The thing you’ve all been waiting for! The actual content of this blog post. I tend to waffle when I’ve done research into a subject. I wanted to make sure that I did this right. All of the items below might seem weird to you but they really help me.

Sight:

For the sight portion of my box, I have pictures of my parents. While thinking of them really hurts sometimes, it leads me to start thinking of my childhood does make me smile. It’s fun to think of all the stupid memories that are connected to the pictures.

I have their wedding photos (I was only a sparkle in their eye but I still remember what my mum told me), postcards with positive affirmations (my friend Lindsey gave me those), snaps of places I’ve visited (Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Los Angeles) and more.

I also have a cat book that talks about autism but is full of cat photos! My friend Kate got it for my birthday this year and it’s so cute!

Smell:

Smell is a big sense for me and I’m not talking about my massive nose! I’ve always been sensitive to different smells (both positive and negative). To help keep me relaxed, I have two scents connected to my parents. There’s Chanel No.5 for my mum and Brut for my dad. Whenever I smell these I just feel happy. My dad always bought Chanel for Mum as a gift and I continued to buy it after he passed away. Brut was my dad’s favourite aftershave and I would always smell this whenever he was getting ready to go out.

I have a small spray of each in the box for whenever I miss them. I even sprayed my memory teddy with Mum’s perfume for during the night,

Touch:

Another fun sense for me. I have a brain stress ball that Mum gave me years ago that I still squeeze to this day. My box also has a fidget cube that I love playing with, especially the button I can click and move around. Even though I can’t fit these next two items into my box, I still have them close by:

The weighted blanket was a birthday present to me. I’ve been wanting to own one of these for years but they were always super expensive. After seeing a friend chatting about hers on Twitter, I discovered this blanket that was so much cheaper! It’s a gorgeous pale pink and I’ve been lying with it over me during anxiety attacks. It feels great!

Sound:

I’m super sensitive to sound so have to be picky with what I choose for my box. Even as I type this post, I can hear my new neighbour’s booming voice. It’s grating on my nerves but I have my red blanket to play with. I have the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and Enya on my old iPod (yes, I still use mine! haha!) to listen to. There is something really soothing about these two soundtracks. Enya has an incredible voice and the Fellowship of the Rings/Chronicles of Narnia make me feel safe.

Not in my box but use it with my box: my spotify playlist called Music That Makes Me Feel Better. Basically a 12h list of songs that do just that! I can listen to it when I feel the start of anxiety or when I’m sleepy.

Taste:

The final sensory group in my box and the one I have to be a little careful with. Normally I could have a bar of my favourite chocolate in there or different snacks but these actually trigger me more. The life of having an eating disorder, I guess. Instead of snacks, I have relaxing teabags from Pukka and Heath & Heather! They make my favourite kinds of herbal tea and the tea also keeps me hydrated.

Normally I wouldn’t be too far in my head to grab water so tea does the trick.

What would be in your Grounding Box?

Grounding Box

Lifestyle Mental Health

How I’ve Been Coping With My Binge-Eating Disorder

If you’ve been following my mental health journey over the last few years then you’ll know that I’m currently battling a binge-eating disorder. Weight has been a demon of mine I’ve battling ever since I was a teenager.

Before I carry on with this post, I’m going to pop a TRIGGER WARNING right here.I will be chatting a little bit about my BED history and therapy so don’t want to trigger anyone. You’re more than welcome to read some of my other random blog posts.

Where did all my problems with eating begin? This post will explain all about my nightmare with food and what caused me to lose all kinds of control with it. Even to this day I can’t read my own post due to being triggered by it. It’s something I’m working on in therapy.

Late last year I contacted a local eating disorder charity called First Steps to be assessed for possible therapy. I’d already done general therapy but these guys would focus solely on my eating disorder. The assessment was an experience for me since I’m still trying to learn how not to feel guilty. Guilt is a major thorn in my side.

That’s where my brain is at right now.

binge-eating disorder

I started my ED therapy on 13th January with another wonderful trainee called Lisa. I was pretty nervous on my first session with her because I had to have my camera on. It’s something I try to avoid whenever possible but I’m kind of not allowed to. They understand that it’s difficult for sufferers but it’s one hurdle I’m managing to overcome. It’s a little easier on the phone because the camera is pretty teeny so I don’t have to see my face. Haha.

You’re probably wondering what my sessions have been consisting of.

It has mostly had a jumble of usual therapy stuff (chatting about my past and my emotions) and also focusing on my relationship with food. If you’ve suffered with either a binge-eating disorder or any kind of eating disorder, then you’ll understand how awful it can be to think about food.

It’s crazy to think that something vital to our lives can also have a negative impact.  I feel so many different emotions when we chat about my week and food diary:

  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Relief

Over the first 4 sessions we’ve spoken about my relationship with bread and how my disorder is almost a type of self-harm. I never thought about it that way before but it makes sense. Every time my ED has flared up, something traumatic has happened in my life. Whether it’s after being bullied or a death in my family. I gained a whole bunch of weight after my dad died, then went down to 8st after my GP said I was morbidly obese at 12st and then put all the weight back on after mum died.

So many little connections.

Something I love about therapy is that you’re not judged. You can literally talk about anything (within reason) and not have to worry. My brain does worry about what she’s thinking but I have to let those fears go. I have 15 sessions left to go with Lisa and I’m really hoping to finally make some progress with this. I’m tired of these thoughts and need to take back control.

Even though I’ve lived through these 4 sessions, I literally can’t remember everything we talk. A lot of it is just talking on the spot, sometimes sharing my mood tracker (which Lisa really seemed to love) and going over my mood. One day I could be okay and the next I feel like I want to disappear. I hate having to think about myself when I know others are struggling much more than me.

We did come to the conclusion that my eating habits and body image may be genetic. Both my parents struggled with their weight so it was a sure thing that I would as well. I guess it just depends what happens in a person’s life to kick-start a particular way of thinking. Mine came in the form of bullying, genetics and life. One of my dreams for doing all this is to not only eat what I want without thinking about the consequences and feel comfortable in my body.

The other things I can do with First Steps are some workshops. These are group activities and carry on for as long as I want them, even when the therapy is over. These are some of the workshops I can take part in:

  • Dance Movement
  • Skills for Carers
  • Art Creative Workshop
  • Eating Disorder in Student Services
  • Waiting Well Support Group
  • Thursday All Ages Support Group
  • Body Image Workshops
  • Stand Up (Comedy) To Mental Health Recovery

I’m excited to work on my body image because it’s an utter nightmare right now. I can’t look at my reflection in anything without wanting to cry or avoid. It’s my goal this year to think at least one nice thing about myself and I will do it! I had been planning to do a diary entry post about my therapy sessions but I’m not sure how well this one will do. Let’s see!

If you’re struggling with any kind of eating disorder, don’t suffer alone. There are more of us out there than you think and, like First Steps says, ‘eating disorders are not just about being underweight’. They come in many different forms and your feelings are justified!

Have you ever had to deal with a binge-eating disorder personally or through family?

binge-eating disorder