This past weekend was quite difficult. My head jerking tic came back with a vengeance. It has been painful and exhausting. After a day or two, I realized I had a giant lump on the base of the back of my neck. The next day I began one of my hitting tics, which is hitting my shoulder repeatedly. So, as you can imagine, it was not long before I had a bit of a bruise on my right shoulder. Today, I am not ticking nearly as much, but I am still a bit sore.
It was not just physically that I have felt exhausted, but mentally as well. The only other time I could think of when my tics actually hurt was when they first became a huge problem and I was finally diagnosed with Tourette’s. So, those thoughts and the anxiety that it was going to continue getting worse before it would get any better added to the natural effects of sitting around and doing nothing all weekend…well, you can probably imagine how epically BLAH I felt.
I will admit that by Sunday evening, when I had started my hitting tic, I was beginning to feel downright horrible and slightly depressed. As I sat at home by myself Monday, I started searching within myself for ways to make myself feel better. I quickly discovered that all the old negative coping skills I used to apply in this situation were all that I could think of. I wondered…where have all the positive distractions I had adopted in time?
This morning, as I was browsing the YouTube universe, I came across a video by Emma Blackery about being angry and things to do when you are angry that will help you feel better and calm down. As I was watching this video, I began thinking of the positive distractions and coping skills that I have learned over the years. So, I thought I would share some of the things I love to do that really help calm me down when I’m anxious or upset or angry or help distract me when I am feeling depressed.
Music. Everyone loves music. You can’t tell me that you genuinely do not like music of some kind. Not everyone likes the same genre of music or the same artists, but I am pretty positive that we all like some form of music or another. If not, let me know because I have never met anyone who doesn’t.
Anyway…yeah…Music is a great escape. When you can find a song that expresses exactly how you are feeling in that moment, it is as if someone finally understands what you are going through and what you are feeling. And when you find out that someone else likes the same artists or songs, you instantly have something in common with that person that you can talk about. Music brings people together in ways you can’t even imagine. Music can brighten your day and bring a whole new perspective and attitude into your day. Happy music makes people happy!
Ignore the people who will make fun of you for it and just go buy a coloring book and some colored pencils or crayons or whatever and color! Personally, I prefer colored pencils because I can’t stand the waxiness of crayons, but whatever floats your boat, do it! Honestly! I was so mad the other day because I remembered that I threw out my coloring book because it was full already and had no blank pages.
I wanted to color so badly because it is so calming and relaxing, and then I was just bummed all over again because I didn’t have anything to color. And if someone is going to make fun of you for coloring like a little kid in your Hello Kitty coloring book or your TMNT coloring book, it’s just because they are jealous that they don’t have the gene that lets them do fun things like that!
When I’m feeling down, I generally begin to feel terrible about myself in general. Usually, if I like what I see in the mirror, I feel better about myself. Make a list of things you like about yourself. Name things you like about yourself physically and about your personality. Stand in the mirror and list them to yourself over and over again.
Also, I tend to feel better when I fix my hair and makeup. I’m not saying that physical beauty actually matters. There are many days when I just feel horrible and down and I don’t feel like being bothered with getting around and doing these things. So, when I fix my hair and makeup, not only do I like how I look better, but I feel like I have accomplished something. It may seem like such a small accomplishment, but if you have ever suffered from depression, you know how important small accomplishments can be.
Hit Something! Just beat the crap out of something! I’m not telling you to go around punching walls or light poles or anything. Just take your frustration out on something soft like a pillow or couch cushion. If you can, go buy a punching bag. Just don’t go taking things out on people and punching them in the face. It will very likely get a bad result, people are not going to respond in a friendly manner, and you’re going to feel even worse because of the outcome.
Also, please don’t use yourself as a punching bag. It will also only make things worse if you physically harm yourself to deal with what’s going on inside of you. Believe me, I’ve been there. You may feel like it helps in the moment, but long term, it only exacerbates the problem.
Exercise! Yeah, this is one that I don’t practice as often as I should. Ok, I hardly ever exercise, but if it is something you enjoy, do it. A little exercise does everybody good. You don’t have to go overboard with it. Just get outside and go for a walk. Get some fresh air and enjoy the world outside of your dark, boring, sleepy little bubble.
I’m starting to feel like a bit of a hypocrite now because I really don’t get outside of my bubble that is my house much. AWKWARD! Moving on…
Write! This one is by far my favorite. I’ve always kept diaries and journals. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be so helpful when you are feeling down or just outright frustrated. Even if you have no idea why you feel the way you do, it still helps to voice what is going on inside of you and get it all out of your head.
Write in a journal. Write letters to yourself. If someone or something in particular has hurt or upset you, write a letter to them. Say everything you have always wanted to say to that person and hold nothing back. Instead of sending the letter to said person, burn it. Or, to release even more frustration, shred it into as many tiny pieces as you possibly can. Then burn it.
Writing can be especially beneficial if you are anything like me. I absolutely hate talking to people. I mean, I talk to people, but I’m very socially awkward when it comes to having a proper conversation with another human being. When I was in counseling and therapy, I had the hardest time talking to any of the counselors or therapists I have ever seen. It seemed as if I would never make progress.
The solution? I began keeping a journal again. I would write in my journal everyday between sessions with my counselor or therapist. When I went in for my appointment, we would go over what I had written over the span of time since my previous appointment. It was so helpful for me to have a way to vent and express myself. It was a key in the progress I made, and it was something that I love doing. I love writing and putting pen to paper. I love making something that reflects who I am inside out of random words that would mean nothing if left by themselves on the page.
If you have tried any of these, leave me a comment and let me know how they have or have not worked for you. If you have anything to add to the list, let me know. I may try your idea next time I am looking for a distraction. It’s good to try something different once in a while.