Emotional survival black book.
Clearly we don't believe in mental illness we believe in trauma and extreme emotions and emotional distress and mental distress.
I spent 15 years in the system diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic with homicidal tendencies medicated to the hilt.
Only later in life did I learn that I had an anger problem and my voices were reflecting my inner emotional states.
It was never the voices that made me act and they were not controlling me, It was in fact my anger as I have an anger and rage problem.
I never learnt how to control a lot of my emotions or how to deal with them effectively and this impacted my life quite dramatically.
I now have much better control of my emotions and am off all my medicine but the road was hard.
So I have included a list of 50 techniques to help cope with emotions when they are at a level that becomes distressing.
It's also important to note that while I use the term negative emotions no emotion is negative only the way we chose to express it can be negative as all emotions are there for a purpose.
I.e anger is a response to hurt and a protective response to either being hurt psychically or emotionally and fear is a response to keep us safe.
The problem occurs when these emotions control us so this list will hopefully give you some ways to take back control of your emotions before they get to the stage where they are making you act.
The important thing to remember, With any negative emotion is that no matter how powerful it is, And how much it feels like it is going to rip you apart is that, It will pass in time as is the same with a destructive voice as destructive voices are often related to your emotional state and if you distract yourself long enough they will ease up.
I suggest when your having a bad time you go through this list. Have it pinned on your door and tick off the things that help, As you go through them, Also add your own ways to survive to the list.
Way's to Cope
Ok now let's start listing some of those helpful ways to deal with negative emotions
1) The first step should always be to walk away from any situation where you feel emotional out of control.
2) Go to the gym for a workout.
3) Crush some empty cans ( save them up for when your angry then stomp them.)
4) Fill a 1.5 liter bottle with water and kick it round the back yard really lay into it. (A Really Good way to release negative emotions)
5) Scream into a pillow.
6) Punch a pillow repeatable.
7) Skip – I used to have a skipping rope by the door at all times and if I got angry or had any other powerful negative emotion I would skip really fast and it helped a lot and really burnt the emotion off.
8) Do some writing – Where you can write whatever you want and then tear it up, It doesn't matter it's about releasing the emotions.
9) Do some art. - Put your feelings into an art piece as I have done in my now famous feel my pain glass panel and razor blade pendant or my splatter paintings. Splatter painting is a great way to release emotions. Get some paint and a canvas and load a brush with paint and throw the paint or flick it at the canvas and be as furious as you want.
10) Do some house work.
11) Do some gardening – The rough stuff like shoveling dirt and that sort.
12) Talk into a recorder – I when I got angry or felt any other negative emotion I would talk into a Dictaphone and record it as it really helped release the anger and other emotions when I talked it out but if you don't have a Dictaphone talk to yourself or a statue or some other object it's about talking it out.
13) Play a video game – Preferably one that is in the genre of shooter or beat em up's. You need one that’s really going to release that negative emotion.
14) Cold Shower – Use this as a last resort if entering rage and voices are bad, As this method seems to shock the voices and calm one down. Alternatively stick your head under cold water. Having a rage problem I used this technique a lot in the days where it was thought I was homicidal. The interesting thing is it somehow silences the voices for a while. To the best of my knowledge it cools the Adrenalin down or something like that. Makes sense because when I am enraged my body burns as if coursing with some kind of hot lava.
15) Put some Music on and Sing at the top of your lungs if you have to.
16) Do some sport like running or boxing if you have a punching bag. If you don't have a
punching bag you can make one by stuffing a heap of old cloths and rags in a pillow case and using duct tape all round it to firm it up a bit.
17) Confetti Parade- Save some old news papers and rip them up in big stacks. Go nuts have a confetti parade, You can pick it all up later it doesn't mater.
18) Alternatively roll up one of those saved newspapers and use it as a baton to beat a cardboard box down.
19) Take an old cardboard box and kill it, You can stab it or kick it or destroy it in your own way. I did this once yelling I hate my life and I kill you at the box while stabbing it repeatability after a fight with my brother. It felt so good and I and my voices were so relaxed afterwards from the release of anger and the negative emotions. I passed this technique onto another voice hearer who claims after killing a box and yelling at it and releasing his anger and negative emotions, That he didn't hear voices again.
20) Wire – Grab some wire even if it's a coat hanger and being careful of the sharp ends, Twist it, Wring it in your hands and destroy it and bend it. When finished you could always call it an abstract wire sculpture. If you are interested in wire sculpture do a google search on the Internet for wire sculpture or wire artists and aim to turn your emotional discomfort into a work of art.
21) Hammer and nails – Have a Jar of nails and a hammer and piece of wood and hit nails into it when you are experiencing negative emotions. I tried this and was amazed how much it helped and eventually found myself hitting the nails into the wood in patterns of angry faces or other random pictures. I always seem to turn my anger and other negative emotions into art these days. There's something about the raw power of anger and other negative emotions that I feel I can tap into and use for art.
22) Mantra – A Mantra is a statement that is repeated again and again it's supposed to still the mind. Usually I use something positive. The mantra I usually use and it's a bit long but I say “I'm angry and that’s ok but I will use my anger positively” I just repeat it over and over and over again and usually it gives me some clarity of mind till I can walk away and do some art to help me deal with my negative emotions, But you could make your own mantra something like I'm stressed but I will be ok and just repeat it over and over again.
23) Deep breathing – Doing some deep breathing really helps with emotional discomfort specially if you add some mindfulness to it and count 1 for the in breath and 2 for the out breath, Just be aware of your breathing only your breathing if any thoughts come to your mind just accept that they are a thought or an emotion and let them go and return focus to your breathing continually disregarding everything else by just accepting it is as it is and returning your focus to your breathing. I often shut my eyes when I do this and it really puts me in a meditative state.
24) Puzzle – Do a puzzle to distract you be it a jigsaw puzzle or one of the other ones like a rubbiks cube which is especially helpful when your out down the street and feeling anxious you can just whip out your rubbik's cube and play with it while you walk. I use cards to shuffle and it really helps me with my anxiety and other negative emotions in a shopping environment.
25) Puzzle book – You know like the find a word type ones.
26) Read a good book – Read a fantasy book or another work of fiction to escape your situation or alternatively read a technical book to learn something.
27) Have a nice warm shower or bath and just let all the stress go and seep into the water and visualize it all washing down the drain.
28) Watch a movie or some other TV.
29) Listen to the radio or other music.
30) Dance like no one is watching and usually I find a place where no one is and I just dance the emotion out.
31) Write some poetry about how your feeling - sometimes trying to make the words rhyme can be fun and take your mind of the emotionally disturbing situation.
32) Go for a walk
33) Go for a run
34) Read some self help articles
35) Challenge the voices ask them why they think that and why they want you to do that? And so on.
36) Reality check with your visions or what the voices are saying look for evidence to dispel what they are saying. If the people in the street aren’t freaked out by the demons you are seeing in the street then chances are there not there and your reality lapsing, Same with if the voices tell you that the end of the world is coming and you see nothing on the news about it, chances are you lapsing and there's not point getting to stressed out about it and perhaps go do some art or another activity till it the feelings and states of mind pass.
37) Look for the metaphors in your visions or what the voices are saying I.e. kill yourself as said by the voices is a message about change, Kill someone else as said by the voices is a message about anger, A vision of a blood be it on the walls or the floors or random wounds appearing on your body and bleeding is actually a message of emotional hurt that you feel and writing usually helps with that.
38) Talk to your voices and try to take the power balance back by setting boundaries, I.e. I won't listen too you till you start talking respectfully and I will listen between certain times but otherwise please leave me alone.
39) Take time out and have a cup of tea and just chill for a bit.
40) Sit down and try write down some solutions to the the problems that are stressing you or causing the negative emotions.
41) Sit down and work out some things to do in your life to make it for the better either adding a hobby or a plan of action for making life better for you.
42) Taking a humorous approach to how your feeling and any voices or visions you might have. I always take a humorous approach to the most sinister visions that I see. For example one time I was working at dominoes on the cut bench and I was cutting pizza's and the oven was loaded full. The shop was full of customers and the stress was on. I began to hallucinate and saw a woman in a white dress behind the counter on the worker side she looked deathly pale. I ignored her and continued cutting recognizing it was because I was stressed. I looked up to see she was crying tears of blood and holding a knife. This will be bad I thought and looked down and continued cutting pizza's and boxing them. The next time I looked up she ran at me and stabbed me in the eye and I jumped back and screamed a little as when my visions stab me I feel the pain. The customers where all looking at me confused. I took the humorous approach and pointed to the pizza I was cutting and said I fucken hate anchovies and the customers all laughed and thought it was a great joke and thus the situation was made light of and diffused. Laugh and the world laughs with you.
43) Visit or ring a friend and spend some time there or organize to do an activity with a friend.
44) Do some sports any kind I used to often play down ball and hit a ball against a wall when I was emotionally distressed or I would play table tennis or something like that.
45) Watch some comedy films or read some joke books.
46) Go to the library and hire some cd's on guided relaxation and listen to them.
47) Go shopping and do some retail therapy even if it's window shopping.
48) Have a list of things to do like fantasy's to work out for example what you would do if you won a million bucks or if you were asked to make a garden for someone what flowers would you put in it and how would you design it that sort of stuff and really try to visualize it. The point of this exercise is to distract you and take your mind off how your feeling.
49) Take the direct approach and write down how your feeling and why and what steps you can take to help you not feel that way next time. Building emotional coping techniques is invaluable for future emotional crisis’s.
50) Work out more ways of coping with emotional distress in the 10 ways below.
I know it's very hard to learn to cope with the emotional distress as a first response.
Trust me, I was the worst in the world at just saying “nah, It will be ok” and then exploding or falling apart as my emotions began to control me and my voices yelled at me.
But I can tell you that science has proven humans are creatures of habit and new habits can be learnt and the more times you use those new habits the stronger the connections become for that to be your normal response to handling things.
For example I used to just ignore my anger rising till I lost control and exploded but when I started handling it by walking away or biting my lip and walking away and doing art and usually fused glass then that became my normal response to handling anger and the more often I did it the easier it became to do.
My voices lowered too and became easier to control because I wasn't so emotionally distraught.
Good luck making it through the holidays and I hope these methods help not just voice hearers to learn to cope but help everyone as much as they have helped me deal with things the way I do today.
Remember my friends, That the problem is not what we are going through but how we handle it, In time, With work and practice, We can handle it a lot better and thus recovery is achievable.
This Article was written by Peter Hawes and all rights belong to him and Voices Inc with the exception of Hearing voices network and super cro and intervoice who may reprint and distribute this article as they see fit.
ozvoices website : https://ozvoices.org/
Super Cro Website: https://supercro.com/
My self help web site: http://www.psychpatientnomore.com
My business web site: http://www.tvboxmcgee.com
and of course http://www.empoweringvoicesinc.com
Feel free to print this article and hand out to anyone you think will find it useful